Start Here October '22

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52 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 2 B efore buying the Signarama franchise in Roseville, Minnesota, in 2019, Ederick Lokpez was a marketing executive and director of strategy for a U.S. bank. He got laid off in 2018 and was offered a job with Accenture, which would have required him to travel four days a week and be away from his family. Sitting in the bleachers of his son's hockey game, he decided he couldn't do that anymore and decided to start his own business. He began researching what would be better, buying a business that was already up and running or starting one from scratch. He decided it would be easier to run a business that already had a his- tory and clientele. He chose Signarama Twin Cities, a small Signarama franchise in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area with only three employees that specialized in vinyl work and fleet graphics. When COVID hit, the shop wasn't prepared to make PPE or items to separate cubicles like many other sign shops were doing. Most of the work that didn't pertain to vinyl was outsourced, so the company was not being competitive, he says. Lokpez tapped into Signarama's net- work of franchisees to see what they sug- gested for how to grow the business and most recommended buying a CNC router. At the time COVID hit, 45% of his busi- ness stemmed from vehicle graphics. During COVID, that work dried up. He Considerations before adding CNC to your shop By Paula Aven Gladych Paula Aven Gladych is a writer based in Denver, Colorado, who has been covering the graphics industry since 2014. She can be reached at ROUTING MAKING ROOM FOR Since adding the CNC, Lokpez's shop has started working with property managers and construction companies to create customized wayfinding signs. With the router, he says his team can get creative with sign design. (All images courtesy Signarama Twin Cities)

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