October 9, 2013 Salt Lake City, Utah – Many business owners have faced obstacles during the recession, but Karen and Richard Anderson are not among them. The local couple, who opened their Signarama business in April 2009, decided to focus on high standards of customer service and new innovative technology and techniques in order to continue to grow their Salt Lake City business, despite the harsh economic climate. Those decisions have allowed the Andersons to thrive: Last July, the couple expanded their operation with a new state-of-the-art facility at 3480 S Main St., which is triple the size of their original store.
"We go above and beyond to take care of our customers," said Richard, "which is unusual in our industry. That has allowed us to grow even through the economic downturn."
The Andersons first acquired their Signarama location in 2009 after Karen lost her market research job due to downsizing at the beginning of the recession. Richard, who was still working as a regional sales manager for a floor covering company at the time, heard about an opportunity from one of his salespeople. "My employee had bought the Signarama franchise thinking he’d have his family run it," he explains, "but realized it was bigger than he could handle. He presented us with a good opportunity when we needed it, and so Karen and I decided to jump in head first and purchase the business."
Approaching 900 locations in 50 countries, Signarama is the world’s largest sign franchise. The business provides comprehensive sign and graphic services to consumers and commercial customers—from digital, neon, LED and pylon signs to vehicle wraps, banners and monument signs.
Not long after acquiring their business, Richard lost his job due to restructuring at his company. He and Karen debated about whether he should try to find work elsewhere or join in and grow their Signarama. They decided on the latter and have never regretted it; with their combined business expertise and experience, they have been able to triple the size of their business over the last three years.
"We added a lot of capacity, new procedures and processes," Richard said. "We are the most innovative sign shop in Utah. We have equipment and processes you can’t find elsewhere, and that’s given us the edge."
In order to fight against the unavoidable slow down in new customer acquisition during the recession, the Andersons devoted themselves to innovation and service. "We always find a way to help our customers," Richard said. "If we don’t have a process or piece of equipment, we find someone who does. If that process is good and meaningful, then we invest in it and learn it and offer it in-house. That has allowed us to add more opportunity and variance to give to customers, and that gives them a reason to come back to us."
That dedication has earned them a stellar reputation not just in Salt Lake City, but in the entire state of Utah and beyond. Though the store officially services Northern Utah, the Andersons regularly get orders from all over the state and from companies as far away as Texas and Colorado. They also thrive on referrals and word-of-mouth. "We really don’t advertise," said Richard. "Our growth has come from referrals and growing our account base organically. The community has supported us in a huge way because they see the quality and professionalism we offer." Their reputation is so good and their service so impeccable, Richard says they’ve experienced double digit growth every year since 2009.
"What makes Karen and I different is our passion for the customer," Richard said. "Our passion is to see customers really taken care of and have an experience that is unique. It’s a passion, more than a business, to see that this is successful and alive and real, and it’s rare to find that."
Signarama was founded in 1986 by Ray Titus and his father, franchising pioneer, Roy Titus. The company currently has two locations in Utah and expects further expansion in the area, with plans to open at least six franchised units in the greater Salt Lake City area and 15 across Utah within five years. Nationwide, Signarama expects to open 50 more locations through the end of 2013 and have more than 1,200 locations worldwide by the end of 2016. For more information, visit www.signarama.com.