To celebrate our 16 years in business, we wanted to share 16 “sweet” facts about Signarama Brighton that you may or may not have known. This will be a continuously updated blog throughout the year, so make sure to come back and check it out regularly.
Fact #16 – Community Hero 2016
In 2016, Dawn Homa was honored with the Greater Brighton Chamber “Community Hero Award.” This award recognizes individuals whose involvement in non-profit organizations has served the Brighton Community. Dawn’s strong participation in supporting local non-profits through volunteering on various boards and providing donations of time and tangible products got her nominated for this prestigious award.
Specifically, Dawn played a vital role in helping the Rocky Mountain Bird Conservancy staff develop a marketing promotion for their summer camp. She donated countless banners and created new signs for the Conservancy’s headquarters. Dawn’s direct contributions to the Rocky Mountain Bird Conservancy and numerous other local nonprofits provided financial relief and allowed these organizations to focus on community outreach and engagement.
Dawn’s community involvement began long before 2016 and still continues strong to this day. Over the course of my time on the Signarama Brighton Team (half the time we’ve been in business), we have been involved in countless job fairs, several internship programs, donated signs to; the Relay for Life, NAWIC, Local Police and Fire Departments, the Speak 5k, the Sean May Memorial Run, the Hobocare Boxer Rescue and many more. We participated in the Muckfest for MS mud run multiple years in a row, created signs for an individual who desperately needed a kidney, donated and volunteered time to the Brighton Kiwanis, and the list continues to grow.
Our mission as a business is to be Supportive to employees & families, Authentic in our Community involvement, and Responsive to our client’s needs. To uphold these values, we have a long-standing program on our website called “Signs of Support.” Through this program we empower others to voice their cause and help them spread their message. If you have a cause that you feel could benefit from Signs of Support click the button below to tell us about your cause.
Fact #15 – 2018 Flatbed Upgrade
Ever wonder how we get a large, new piece of equipment into the shop? Well, wonder no more! The footage is from 2018 when we replaced our old flatbed with our new flatbed and upgraded to a Vanguard 10x5ft Direct to Substrate printer.
Fact #14 – 2018 Women in Print Award
We’ve been celebrating all year long about Dawn winning the Women in Signs 2022 award, but if you have been following us for the past few years you may already know this isn’t the first women’s recognition award Dawn has received. In 2018 Dawn was honored as 1 of 6 women to win the Big Picture Magazine Women in Print award. The winners of this award “are powerhouses at companies that provide wide-format digital printing as a primary function. From influential positions such as president, owner, and CEO, these leaders have advanced the industry through their innovation, philanthropy, and vision in leading successful businesses, impacting our field as a whole as well as the communities they serve. They demonstrate exceptional leadership, progressive responsibility, and community awareness.” (Adrienne Palmer, Big Picture Magazine, October 2018) In this industry, it is such an honor to be recognized for your hard work and determination and there are no signs of us slowing down anytime soon!
Started in 2016 this is award is still going strong and you can learn more about each of the 36 winners HERE
Fact #13 – Resumes & Interviews
WARNING: NAMES AND GENDER HAVE BEEN REMOVED TO PROTECT THE GUILTY
Being a business owner, you sure do see your fair share of what we call “You can’t make this Sh*! Up.” An endless source of content in this department comes from resumes and interviews.
From the time I heard “that’s the problem with businesses, they want you to work when they are open” to the time an interview who came in sat down for 5 minutes, left, and never returned, I continue to be baffled by the stories we have accumulated from the hiring process.
As a small 10-employee business, it can be odd when an interviewee asks, “Do you offer 24-hour fitness program?” or when you ask them why they are looking for a new position and get the response “I want to get off work in time to meet my friends at the bar.” I truly don’t understand what goes through some of these individuals’ minds. It doesn’t stop at interviewing either, sometimes it takes a few weeks to get a real sense of a good fit.
Many times I have been sold on the fact that the new hire is technologically savvy and knows their way around a computer. Only to discover I have been lied to. We had one customer service hire that somehow managed to leave a voicemail on their individual phone thinking they were leaving it for a customer.
Let’s chat about the individual who didn’t understand what double-clicking was, or the one who took 2 hours to upload photos from their phone into our artwork folders and the files were somehow corrupted. Or the sales rep who was sitting and staring at their computer. I asked, “are you doing Ok?” Response: “I’m just sitting here staring at my computer trying to figure out what my next step is.”
The stories keep us entertained as we build our team. We could write an entire book about interview answers and crazy stuff on resumes. The picture above is 100% real stories or resumes we have received.
Fact #12 – We are Guinness World Record Holders
“Signarama®, the world’s largest sign franchise, announced July 8, 2021 that it has been recognized by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ for setting the record for most signatures on a banner in one hour. The Signarama brand is proud to hold this record title and it was wonderful to share the moment with our franchisees and vendor partners during our World Expo event,” said A.J. Titus, President of Signarama and United Franchise Group. “The Guinness World Records title attempt was also done in part to celebrate Signarama’s 35 years in business. We couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate this milestone!”
The attempt itself was exciting to witness. The crowd exited the Grand Ballroom at the Palm Beach County Convention Center after the morning’s guest speakers and filed in an orderly fashion around the banner as the timer started. Special guest Jesse Cole, founder of Fans First Entertainment and owner of the Savannah Bananas, was dressed in his famous yellow suit and present among the crowd. Each signature was counted as attendees dropped a registration card into the famous Signarama “Mini” Mini Cooper vehicle on their way by.”
Fact #11 – “Chintzy”
Once you spend a little time with the Sign Lady you learn pretty quickly that she is from Chicago and has her own “Dawnisms” as we call them. Although she has been here for many years, you can take the girl out of Chicago, but you can’t take the Chicago out of the girl. I learned this the hard way in my early days with Dawn. New to the sign industry and, as it appeared, to “Chicago Slang”. Dawn asked for my assistance in putting together a promotional product quote for a customer. The customer wanted options on different pens.
Dawn looks at me and says, “just make sure they’re not chintzy.”
I blinked a few times, trying to register the word “chintzy” and, as not to disappoint, I replied with, “no problem!”
Well, first thing is first, I had to figure out what chintzy was, so I knew what it wasn’t. Unfortunately, spelling is not my strong suit, so searching google for “chinsy” didn’t turn up any results. My next thought was maybe it’s a specific brand of pen. Spent another half hour searching the web for “chinsy pens.” After spinning my wheels for a good hour and a half, trying not to be the needy new employee, I finally had to fess up.
I entered Dawn’s office and stated, “Dawn, I’ve been looking all over the internet for chintzy, chintzy pens for the past few hours and I have no clue what this means. What are chintzy pens?”
Dawn bursts into laughter, she almost had tears rolling down her cheeks. Holding back more laughter, she looks at me and goes “chintzy means ‘cheap’ or ‘poorly made’ “and continues to laugh.
Needless to say, this wasn’t the only time this happened to me. In conversation, Dawn had used the word “Jalopy” with me to describe a vehicle. Learning from the first time, I immediately asked her what this meant. If you don’t know, apparently it is a term for an old car in bad, unsafe condition. Here I thought it was a sandwich.
After this, I had to survey the office (filled with mainly Colorado natives) on these words. Somewhat vindicated I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t heard of them. But I have certainly never lived the Chintzy moment down and we all get a good laugh about it now.
Fact #10 – Colorado Sign Association Board Member, Liz Gutierrez
I was voted on to be a CSA member in December for the year 2022. Prior to being voted on I was approached by an existing board member about joining as a board member and I thought it would provide me with additional knowledge. I was encouraged by Dawn Homa, the owner to join as well. It was rather funny because the day to join came and we were running late to the meeting and figured it was a lost cause. As soon as we walked inside, I heard my name being called to talk about myself and why I should be a board member. Talk about being put on the spot!
As a board member, I’ve collaborated with other sign companies to address the same issues we have while permitting signs and fabrication. Being a part of the Colorado Sign Association, especially as a board member I personally don’t see other board members as competition, but rather just an additional resource I have on hand. We have monthly meetings where we discuss the issues we’ve had and work together to find a solution or referral of who could help us. I’ve found it rather refreshing knowing other sign companies come across the same issues we do and help each other out to resolve them.
Fact #9 – The After Glow Party
In 2021 we were DONE! Done with COVID, done with social distancing, just DONE. So, when we brought our annual open house event back, we went all out for what we deemed “The After Glow Party.” We threw a black light party to show off all our coolest illuminated and glowing signs. And guess what? It was a huge hit!!! We realized it wasn’t only us who were in need of reconnection, but also our community. It seemed everyone just wanted to be together again, network, and socialize. It gave us the “warm and fuzzies” to know that our community missed us and wanted to celebrate with us. It was one that will go down in our Signarama History Books and that’s why it has made our Top Sweet 16 Facts about Signarama Brighton’s list.
Fact #8 – The many animals of Signarama Brighton
It is not every day that you have an employer that has a love for animals so strong that they let you bring your pets to work. And I don’t mean once in a while or just on Fridays, but every day! I have to say as an avid dog lover myself this was a huge benefit working at Signarama. From the day I was interviewed, there was an office cat, Pumpkin, and a chocolate stubby lab, Maggie in the office. And that barely scratches the surface.
Dawn has a passion for the Hobo Boxer care rescue and so at any given time, there could be a rescue or foster in Dawn’s office. Our Office Manager brings in her Shih tzu, Max every day. Both Dawn and her have little doggy gates installed on their office doors. Our production manager has a cozy setup under his desk for his black and brown Chihuahua, Mugo and one of our production assistants brings his little tan chihuahua, Poncho. Back in my beginnings, I was vying for a Boston terrier puppy and as a new employee, I nervously asked Dawn, “Would I be able to bring him to the office?”… her reply, “OF, COURSE!” Before my Boston terrier, Frankie went blind in 2019 I used to bring him to the office where he would lay under my desk in his own bed and just be so happy he got to spend the day with me. We all love our pets so much that we even include them on our “Meet our Team” page on the website. Don’t believe me? Click here and scroll down.
Fact #7 – From Grad to ISA Elite Member
If you have followed us on social media, read our email blasts, or been a loyal customer you may know who I am. I am currently our Marketing Manager, Mallory Lynn. It didn’t start out this way, that’s for sure! In 2014, I was laid off from a small magazine company about 9 months into my first job out of college. I found myself frantically applying for jobs and came across “Production Manager” for a company called “Signarama” on Indeed.com. I applied and the next day I interviewed with Dawn Homa. She bluntly told me, “I’ve already filled the Production Manager position, but I like you. I don’t know what I am going to do with you, but I like you.”
So, thus my career in the sign industry began. I started as Sales Support and Graphic Design, which meant I would lay out proofs for clients, set up their artwork to be ready for production, and also assist with walk-in customers and phone calls. As anyone who is entering the Sign Industry will tell you, it was a whirlwind adventure. There is so much to learn from vocabulary to materials, and printers to best practices, it can be overwhelming. About two years into my journey at Signarama Brighton, I found myself the only customer service employee in the office alongside Dawn for about a month. This really pushed my abilities to quote large projects and become an all-around utility player in the front of the house.
After a few hires, we were able to redirect my efforts into our marketing strategy. It started as laying out our monthly email blast, editing images for social media, and attending tradeshows and events. As the years passed my involvement in our marketing strategy grew. I began to put full marketing strategies together, build advertising campaigns, and design marketing calendars and collateral. In 2020, Dawn and I took a course to become certified digital marketers that elevated our marketing efforts through the pandemic.
All the while, I had been applying for a program within our industry called the ISA Elite. This is an Elite Young Professional Program with the International Sign Association. Only 30 participants under the age of 35 are selected each year to come together at the ISA Expo for valuable learning and networking opportunities. These individuals are also invited to a Leadership Conference later in the year to further their growth and relationships within the industry. I had applied for 3 years in a row without any success. So, I told Dawn in 2019, “I’m done.” Unknown to me, Dawn had reached out to influential industry leaders to have them write a reference letter on my behalf. She looked at me and said “Apply… just one more time.” I replied, “UGH okay. I will apply one more time.”
I WAS ACCEPTED!!! I was so excited and couldn’t believe I had actually got into the program for 2020. And then… the pandemic hit. Canceling the ISA Expo and our Class of 2020. Again, in 2021 ISA went virtual leaving our ISA Elite Class until the following year. Finally, this year in 2022 we got to participate in our program in Atlanta, GA. We are officially the longest standing class in ISA Elite history. So far, it has been an invaluable experience and I have gotten to meet so many great professionals from all different parts of the industry. I am looking forward to the Leadership Conference here in October in Virgina.
My time at Signarama has been nothing less than a journey of growth and development. I’ve really grown into my own within the Sign industry and have gotten to follow my passion in marketing to wherever it takes us. I can’t imagine how different my life would be if I hadn’t found that Production Manager position on indeed.com 8 years ago. All I know is that I am grateful to be where I am now and excited to see where we will go next.
Fact #6 – “I will never…” actually means “eventually”
Working for Dawn I have learned that the statement “I will never…” followed by a Router, a Paint Booth, or a lift really means “eventually”. Back in 2014, I would hear her say “I’m never owning a router”, “we have no place to put it”. By 2017 Dawn had purchased a 10×5’ CNC Router at the ISA show and expanded her lease so we could move equipment into the bay next-door. This had a major impact on our in-house capabilities and helped us expand our product line. For YEARS we had multiple Production Managers attempt to convince Dawn that we needed a paint booth. Some proposed a booth that lived in the rafters and would descend from the ceiling with a system of pullies. We eventually had so many requests for custom colors and painted signs that our customers convinced Dawn in 2021 to invest in a paint booth. She purchased a 10×10’ paint booth that we assembled in-house and we now have the ability to mix paints and provide professionally painted services to our customers. In 2021 I think Dawn even knew that “I will never…” meant “eventually” and she purchased our first “Nifty Lift”. This opened our in-house installation capabilities as we could, quite literally, reach new heights. If you ever hear the Sign Lady go “I will never…” just know, it will eventually happen!
Fact #5 – Laura Long, Signarama Brighton’s Longest Standing Team Member
Find out all about our longest-standing Team Member, Laura Long, and her journey from Graphic Designer to Office Manager. When we have an anniversary, so does Laura! This is her 16th Workiversary with our team. She is what we call “The Asset” and we do not know what we would do without her. Find out some hilarious moments and what it takes to succeed in this industry.
Fact #4 – The Great Delete
Dawn may be a marketing and sales queen, but a technology guru, she is not.
This is where her husband, Jack, comes in. He sets up and manages our IT network, VOIP phones, Emails, Cloud data, Computers and is our overall technology master. Since 2006 when we opened our doors, Jack has been the guy to take care of all our technical problems.
In 2014, before we had cloud backup for our data, Dawn decided to back up our art files onto CDs as the network we were using was hitting capacity. This took her most of the day to complete. When she was done, she handed over two CDs to Jack.
Jack asked, “Where’s the rest of them?”
Dawn “Rest of what? This is all I have”
Jack “No way. That can’t be all your files.”
He went into our art file drive and it was EMPTY. His eyes bugged out and he said,
“Get me a Big ASS USB. I’m going to have to go find those files.”
Poor Jack was never able to find those files.
…And that, my friends, is what we coined the “Great Delete.” We lost a ton of art files that day and thank goodness we had a lot of long-standing loyal customer art files on many older CDs previous to having a network. Whenever we can’t find a file, we blame it on the “Great Delete” and now Dawn is no longer allowed to move art files!
Fact #3 – “It all started with a dog chained to a tree.”
Did you know one of our favorite non-profit organizations to work with is the Ho-Bo Care Boxer Rescue (an all-volunteer group in Colorado)? Their small group consists of people who care for the homeless, abused, and unwanted Boxers. Ho-Bo Care tries to find permanent and caring homes for these animals.
Our boxers come from shelters that need help, homes where they can’t stay at anymore, or from the streets. Often these animals are starved, sick or neglected. They need food, medicine or medical treatment and sometimes basic training. Mostly, however, they need an owner who is willing to give the necessary attention to the animal. A Boxer is a dog who especially needs human companionship. He needs to be included in the family to be a happy dog.
Dawn has been involved with Hobo Care Boxer Rescue since 2010 when she rescued a dog that was chained to a tree without shelter and had minimal food and water. Since then, she has fostered and adopted Boxers, picked them up from transfers that come from other states, worked numerous events to raise awareness for dog rescues and sometimes giving a few rescues their forever home.. At Signarama Brighton we have designed and donated various types of signage to them over the years to help support their fundraising and awareness. We, also, feature them frequently on our social media and email blast to help them increase their exposure. Dog Rescues have experienced a heartbreaking & traumatic trend in 2021 with the “Great Return” of adopted dogs after Covid. Today, more than ever, Rescues need to market & hold events to promote themselves, find fosters & attract adopters for their dogs.
Fact #2 – “Well… Shit”
Our customer called in from another state to get graphics at their new Colorado location. The idea was to have their slogan repeated throughout the whole facility, near the top of the walls. It was a struggle to wrap our heads how this was all going to come together.
We went to take measurements and pictures of all the walls including, square pillars that jut out from the wall. We provided a proof for the customer where we had a starting point and endpoint. Part of the slogan reads “Have it in stock, Ship it today.” When it came to installing the graphics, our luck worked out that part of the slogan landed on the side of one of the pillars and read “SHIT” from the front view (see picture).
The installer of course had to take a photo, which I shared with the customer and it was then shared with Corporate. Everyone had a good laugh about it because it was a very unintentional placement. Needless to say, the installer adjusted it to read SHIP. We still talk about this job and laugh about it every time it gets brought up even though it was done about 4 years ago!
Fact #1 – We’ve had a car parked in our Lobby
In the category of you “Can’t make this stuff up”… The year was 2010. I was at the hospital where my husband, Jack, was having a procedure. I had left instructions with my staff that “I didn’t want any phone calls unless the building was burning down.” About a half-hour after he was taken into surgery, my phone rang.
It was my office manager, Laura. She said, “I know you only wanted to be called if it is an emergency, but a car hit our building.”
Me: (whispering because I’m in the waiting room) “OK… so is there any damage? Everything OK?”
Laura: “No you don’t understand… There is a car in our lobby”
Me: (VERY LOUD VOICE) “There is a car in our lobby?!”
At this point all the people in the waiting room are looking at me so as I’m talking to Laura, I’m explaining to them what happened. An elderly man was backing up his car from the Village Inn that was 4 doors down. Somehow he hit the gas and zoomed backward through the parking lot and backed right into our storefront. The rebar from the brick below our windows snagged the car which prevented it from going all the way through the front office. This could certainly have been much worse. He also ran over the fire hydrant. And contrary to popular belief, when a car hits a fire hydrant, the water does not go off, but the hydrant does get thrown off its base and when it hit the brick pillars, knocked out a 2-foot section of brick. I can hear Laura talking to the man. He is trying to remove the car from the lobby and the engine is roaring. I scream into the phone “tell him to turn the car off!” He finally does. I told Laura to take a ton of pictures and call our insurance company. I would be there as soon as I could find someone to pick up Jack and take him home.
Just then the nurse came in and said I could see Jack. I walk into the recovery room and Jack is fairly coherent. I tell him what happened, that I was going to get our neighbor to come get him and then I would go to the shop. He looks me square in the eye and says “ Did you call the news?” And then demands to go to the shop with me. (And No we never did call the news. Though in hindsight, we should have.)
When we got to the building, the car was removed, but the entire front glass and entrance door were gone. I was surprised and amazed to see our two Property Managers, in their suits, helping to clean up the glass and debris. Summit Group is no longer, but they were incredible during this entire situation. Laura created a banner that we installed over the boarded-up storefront. It showed the photo of the car in our lobby with a headline:
“We thought a drive-through would be a good idea..”
Fortunately, no one was injured in this accident. It is absolutely one of the top 16 crazy things that happened to us over the last 16 Years.