Sharon: Hello, everyone, this is Sharon Heller with Network in Action in Denver, and I'm here with one of our Network in Action members, Bill Landow, with Speed Pro Premier. Hi, Bill.
Bill: Hello, Sharon. How are you?
Sharon: Great to have you today.
Bill: Thanks. I appreciate you putting this together.
Sharon: Can you share with all of us, a little bit more about Speed Pro Premier and what you all are up to?
Bill: Certainly, I am a franchise owner. My location happens to be in southeast Denver, but we service all over Colorado and other states, and we are a large format printer, which means nothing to most folks. So I like to tell people we make signs of all kinds. Signs big and bold and powerful, to help convey marketing messages and brand propositions. So that's what we like to help out with.
Sharon: Good, we're in this unique time period, about five weeks or so into COVID-19, and as business owners, we're all being affected and our customers are being affected, in so many different ways. Can you share a little bit about how you're noticing your customers being affected the most?
Bill: Certainly, I think, you know, the big word is apprehension and uncertainty.
So when we first saw it hit, you know, sort of came in, in waves, what was being shut down from the county level to the state level. And I think a lot of businesses, what we saw, was a little uncertainty of what does this mean for my business and how are we going to adapt. And then you see these other phases of, OK, now we're starting to get used to things a little bit.
But for the side business, what we kind of came across was, folks weren't necessarily terribly interested in signs if people weren't outside to see the signs, which completely makes sense. But now that we're starting to see things gradually loosen up, I think, you know, signs become now more important than ever.
Sharon: Yeah. Can you talk a little bit more about that, how you have been able to help business owners during this time, and why signs are especially important during this next phase of reopening?
Bill: Yeah, for sure. Even the first week, what we noticed there were a number of restaurants that were remaining open for carryout, takeout, and delivery. But you didn't know. And so, yes, you know, a lot of handwritten signs were possible even for major change. Their employees were using the back of a paper plate to tape up to the window to say, yes, we are open.
I think, there was, again, that early phase. Nobody knew how long this would go. And so, the back of a paper plate completely made sense. What we started doing was making up some just real generic "carry out available" two-foot by four-foot banners with grommets in the corners and took a lot of them out to the community restaurants, looking largely at mom and pops, who may not have marketing budgets, and just handing them to them and saying, "here" and oh my gosh, the looks on their faces, they were just like, "Whoa, what do I owe you?"
And I was like, nothing, just persevere. Because empty real retail spaces at the end of this, don't do us any good. So if I can do just a little bit to help these guys, sell an extra dinner or something like that, it's totally worth it in the long run.
Sharon: That's incredible. And what about these businesses that are reopening? I know for me, if I'm out doing an errand or I had to go to the bank, the other day and I was starting to wonder, what's going to be open, what's not. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of signs kind of during this next phase of kind of transition and the staggered reopening?
Bill: Right. As Colorado is slowly, peeking out the window and, maybe testing the waters a little bit, there is that uncertainty. And the best way for business owners to let people know they're open is with a sign. So let's get a feather banner in front and have it waving around. Let's get a regular banner. Let's put some signs in the windows. Let's let people know, yes, we are open. Because most folks aren't going to get out of the car unless they know for sure that this business is open.
Sharon: Right, and then what about, you know, for customers to know what to expect when they go inside? I had a friend who was at a major retailer a couple of days ago, and she was pretty distraught to see that most of the customers, hardly any had masks on. The workers had gloves on, but she didn't feel very safe in that environment because there didn't seem to be any guidelines.
Bill: Yeah, isn't that interesting? There's sort of a culture that varies from business to business as far as what that business is comfortable with.
And while the governor of Colorado has said "everybody should be wearing masks when they're out in public". There's nothing really enforceable about that, and so it becomes the business's responsibility to make that known. Looking ahead, I think that's only going to be a bigger issue because who knows how long this is going to go on, and who knows where this goes from here.
So what we've developed is some eight-inch round stickers that have an icon of a mask and it says, "please wear your mask when coming into this store" and we also have a version with masks and gloves, because you don't know, is this business comfortable with masks? Are comfortable we masks and gloves? So here's an opportunity for them to put that on their front door, so when customers get ready to walk in, they can mask up and go on in, and then everybody's at ease.
And the mask notion, it's for your own protection, but for the protection of others as well. So there is a little bit of responsibility for people who are willing to go out to abide.
Sharon: Yeah, I love that. And I can tell you as a customer, I would feel so much more comfortable walking into a business and knowing what their expectations are and then being able to kind of satisfy my responsibility as a customer walking into that place of business.
Bill: So certainly, yeah, nobody is doing it just because they don't care. I think they're just doing it because they don't know. So you can let them know with a sign. Problem solved.
Sharon: Yeah. And what about car wraps? Why might those be helpful during this kind of period of time?
Bill: Right. Yeah, that's a really good question, because we've had a lot of, you know, our tradesmen, plumbers, electricians, things like that, who aren't getting the same number of calls they were getting before. And now they have vehicles that are parked, and so we're looking at this, and they're looking at this, as an opportunity to bring some of those vehicles in, to get the graphics refreshed. As long as they're sitting idle and they can rotate those vehicles through, and get ready for the summer if they're looking to refresh their look, or if they've got a little dingy than they used to be. So that's been big.
And then kind of going along with that. These offices that are largely empty right now, we just put up the name of a business up on a wall. We've done some interior graphics, a big, huge mural that, you know, with employees walking around would have been, logistically challenging to accommodate. But these spaces are open now. So it makes a really good time to freshen up the looks of these interiors as well.
Sharon: Yeah, agreed. And I also love the sign that's behind you. I know we're spending a lot of time on Zoom these days, which is probably going to continue. So can you share a little bit about what you created?
Bill: Yeah, I found myself the first week of this on camera, a lot more than I ever expected I would be. And just being a marketer at heart, I was like, let's go where the attention is. And if people are staring at zoom screens, let's maximize the opportunity to get our brand in front of them and our sales proposition too, here's what we do, here's how to do it, here's how to find us.
So it's a little certainly self-serving, but for all the hours that you're on these calls with folks, make that association because business is largely relationship-based. And you think of the face and then you think of the brand. It's like, oh, yeah, that guy does this. So I'm saying there's a fine opportunity and, you know, encouraging as many people to or do something as possible.
Sharon: Yeah, agreed. So, Bill, if folks want to get in touch with you and just kind of brainstorm and explore what you offer might be a great benefit for them, what's a great way for them to reach out to you?
Bill: You know anything from hitting my website. There's a request quote that the email comes right to me. We're a pretty small operation. So we all kind of know what's going on all the time. And all these my cell phone number oh, my phone's ring to my cell phone these days. So since I can't always be in the office. So that works out really well, which is on the website as well.
What's really cool that I want to mention before we wrap up, is in an unprecedented move, our franchisor created an e-commerce site for us and folks can go to my site and hit that e-commerce link and order COVID-19 materials. Whether it's posters, or distant stops or the stickers I was talking about earlier on for the front doors, we even do face shields and things like that because we deal in acrylics so we can fabricate those.
So, you know, as these offices are re-opening and maybe they've got a cubicle farm, we can do dividers between those. And much of this and more is available on the e-commerce site. Just click and go to your cart and check out. We get going,
Sharon: OH, fantastic. I actually didn't even know that you offered several of those things. So, good, thank you so much for your time today. It was great talking with you. I encourage any of you viewers out there to reach out to Bill and Speed Pro and get your signage needs taken care of. Thank you, Bill.
Bill: You bet. Thank you, Sharon. Take care.