February '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 4 7 the Giffords took a leap of faith when a corporate restructure changed their personal circumstances. "My goal was to eventually have the autonomy of owning a business and the freedom to be involved with my family, their education and their passions. Before, I was traveling a fair amount and didn't have the flexibility to go to a school play or sporting event," he says. "I wanted to build a business that was established — one that would provide for our retirement, but also grant freedom with family." In 2002, due diligence led the couple to a FASTSIGNS resale in Arvada, Colorado. At 1,600 square-feet with bare-bones startup equipment and three employees agreeing to stay on staff, the business was operational with a runway to flourish. "When we acquired the business, it was like jumping on a moving freight train," Garret remembers. "In the beginning, Kim was raising two small kids with one on the way, and I was heavily involved in the day-to-day operations: inventory, purchasing, production and sales. Like many small business owners, initially I was more intensive 'in' the business instead of 'on' the business." Greater opportunities unfolded when Kim later joined the FASTSIGNS staff. With a background in customer service, she quickly took the lead on vendor and customer relations. Before long, her devotion to the daily grind extended to managing inventory, overseeing graphic design and production, plus run- ning the machines. Garret says his wife's meaningful touch- points with vendors, staff and customers soon made her a fan favorite. "To this day, we have vendors and customers who will only deal with her — not because there's an issue, but because they genuinely enjoy working with her." Over the years, the co-owners leaned on the vast corporate resources of FASTSIGNS while making the business uniquely their own. e Giffords pointed to a framework of existing internal processes, procedures and systems as building blocks for success. FASTSIGNS storefront.

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