When I started down the road to opening our Dunwoody-Sandy Springs Center, we were building something completely new. That meant generally following the script laid out by the franchiser, from the products and services we would sell to the equipment and processes we would purchase and adopt, even to the recommended staffing levels. When I decided to purchase ATW/Advertising That Works, I, along with my colleagues in AlphaGraphics’ corporate offices, faced the challenge of something different.
Of course, AlphaGraphics has a history of incorporating independent sign and print shops into their extensive network of franchises. The had faced the task of supporting the decisions of those shops to offer products and services that did not quite align with the network’s suite of offerings. Regardless, the surprise and confusion that the sale of blank banners has posed for the experts at AlphaGraphics speaks to the unique nature of these products.
ATW, over the last few years, built a growing business from the sale of blank banners principally to distributors and other sign shops. The former owner of ATW had toyed with this product for years, and decisions by former competitors to exit the market had increased his commitment to it. Developing a supply chain, specialized equipment, dedicated staff, and pricing, he successfully built a burgeoning line. Nevertheless, it puzzled AlphaGraphics.
Now, we are going full steam ahead to rebrand ATW into AlphaGraphics Tri-Cities – Atlanta Airport. My team faces a challenge to “fit” something so different into the AlphaGraphics systems and processes so we can continue to run blank banners and grow the line into a profitable business. Fortunately, the corporate AlphaGraphics team has been supportive of this journey. While they have admitted confusion on the product, they have nevertheless devoted resources to help us bring the product into the franchiser’s umbrella.
Much work remains to get to the point where we are selling blank banners as an AlphaGraphics Center as efficiently or even more so, than ATW did. I am confident we will get there with the support of my team and the great folks at AlphaGraphics in Denver.