Corporate Layoff Survivor Spreads his Wings
August 13, 2010 // Franchising.com // Augusta, GA - Lane Keen formally launched his new sign store, Keen Signs & Graphics, with a Ribbon Cutting at 4 P.M. on Thursday, July 29th, 2010. Representatives from the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, as well as members of the business community were in attendance. Friends and family also joined in to complete the celebration of a remarkable and colorful new enterprise for this bustling Augusta, Georgia community.
The event marks a milestone for Keen. Originally from Pennsylvania, Keen graduated with an MBA from Auburn University and in the ensuing years built an extensive background in Corporate America. He was Plant Manager at G&K Services on Savannah Road when they closed down last May and Keen found himself newly part of the economically distressed.
He and his wife, Pam, immediately agreed that Augusta was home and they wanted to stay there. But was there life after corporate employment?
Keen soon discovered that like many others in this position, nobody wanted to hire him. So he decided he would hire himself. After a great deal of painstaking research and education, Keen Signs and Graphics was born with the guidance of Sign Biz, Inc, a business development company headquartered in California and founder of the country's largest network of non-franchised sign companies.
Already catching the attention of the media, Neal Gordon, on his radio show Buzz on Biz, asked Keen, "If I need a sign made, why do I come to you?"
Keen replied, "A couple of reasons: One, we've got the latest technology in town, which is metallic ink printing. We can print metallic ink, silver metallic ink specifically, and then tint it in a range of different colors-- which gives an extra flash, an extra eye-catching, eye-popping effect so a customer just wants to reach out and grab the message! It's for folks that really want to grab somebody's attention.
"Two, we plan to exceed our customer's expectations, as well as keep them informed about new products and services that could increase sales and boost their bottom line."
Keen Signs is one of the newest members of Sign Biz Network, the world's largest chain of non-franchised imaging sign companies. When asked if starting his own business has been easier or harder than he'd expected it to be, Keen said, "Yes, to both. I'm really enjoying it, I've wanted to work for myself for a long time, it's always been a dream, and I never could pull the trigger 'cause it just meant walking away from where I was. On the other hand, it's my money that's on the line now, too. So from that perspective, it's a little harder than it looks on paper."
"I know it's early to ask you this question," Gordon added, " you're just getting started now, but do you, in the back of your mind, think of a second location, or a third location?"
"No, you're right, I am thinking further down the road. I want to enjoy, I want to grow, I've always managed businesses in my corporate life that have grown, so that's kind of the training I've come out of, we're a long way from getting to a second location, but the thought is definitely there in the back of mind."
Keen Signs & Graphics offers a full range of services, including business consulting, complete graphic design services, state of the art visual impact systems, and extremely fast turnaround times.
His new business promises to play a significant role in coloring and promoting the identities and products of companies in his community and across the country.
Keen's shop is open Monday through Friday from 9 A.M. till 6 P.M., as well as by appointment. His shop is conveniently located across from Restaurant Row, next to Fed EX, in the Augusta Exchange Shopping Center at 266 Robert C. Daniel Parkway.
Sign Biz®, Inc., founder of a worldwide chain of independently-owned digital sign & graphics businesses, provides turnkey equipment, marketing, and operational support for its member companies in the digital sign and graphics industry. Consulting, project management and ongoing education programs and publications are offered to Sign Biz Network Members on an exclusive basis.