Two outstanding businesswomen, Dawn Homa, owner of Signarama Brighton (CO) and Allison Kast-Eichenberg, owner of Signarama Chandler (AZ), were recent recipients of the”Women In Print” awards at the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) Expo in Las Vegas. Six women nationwide are chosen for this prestigious award, demonstrating the significance that these two Signarama business women have made in the industry as part of the group of recipients.
“I am very humbled and excited to receive this prestigious award,” said Homa. “This award is a reflection of the entire franchise, and the great employees who made this recognition possible through their hard work and commitment to exceeding the expectations of our customers.”
Homa, an entrepreneur that champions change and progress, says, “We are always striving for something higher; something better; something that will make a difference.”
In 2006, she bought a small 1,100-square-foot Signarama shop in Lakewood, CO, and expanded twice within the past five years. In 2010, the astute businesswoman purchased a franchise in Brighton, 30 miles from the original store’s location. “We have a great sales team, which allowed us to continue to manage our existing accounts in conjunction to also growing the business in a new town,” she said.
That first Signarama shop handled cut vinyl and digital printing jobs, but over the years with the improvement of automation, Homa added a pair of wide-format printers, a larger plotter, flat bed, router, laser engraver, and a CWT laminator table. “Our new machinery allows us to accommodate more complex requests, and enables us to expand our product offerings,” she said. “We can now do ADA signage, dimensional lettering, and full wall murals. Last year, we expanded to 6,800-square-feet of working space—quite a difference from that original small shop.”
To her, onboard training is essential. “We hire employees who have energy, drive, and passion.” Homa said. “It’s important that everyone understands the Signarama culture, its philosophy, and operations.” She motivates her team to learn new things every day. “I am a person who encourages my team to go outside their comfort zone so we’ll never be stagnant and never be status quo.”
Learning opportunities are provided via ISA shows, the HES Contractor Academy, and weekly webinars provided at the Signarama Headquarters. “We learn about project management, marketing, proposal presentations, and more,” said Homa. “Learning is essential to progress, and my biggest reward is seeing employees grow.”
For those entering the sign industry in her state, Homa has these words of advice: learn something new every day, establish relationships, and become active in the Colorado Sign Association. “This provides an incredible opportunity to further expand your knowledge, to learn, and to grow your business.”
Allison Kast-Eichenberg is an ordained minister with a Masters in Christian Ministry. In what she calls “one of life’s curveballs” her career path went in another direction—ownership of the Signarama franchise in Chandler, AZ. “This is a true honor and I feel incredibly grateful,” she said. “This would not have been possible without my amazing team and my wonderful family. My husband and I were fortunate to come into a business that was successful and we built on a strong foundation of treating customers right, doing quality work, and operating with integrity.”
Signarama Chandler has been recognized numerous times. It has been awarded for having the top salesperson in the entire Signarama network for three consecutive years, and another salesperson was recognized for being among the top 15 worldwide for three years. The design team at Signarama Chandler won “Best in Show” in 2018, and the previous year claimed the top spot in the “Self Promotion” category for its creativity and design.
Kast-Eichenberg began a grant program, “Signs of Hope,” in 2011, and every fall her franchise invites nonprofits and charitable organizations to apply for a grant for signage the following year. “I am proud to say we have provided more than $200,000 in free, or reduced-cost signage,” said Kast-Eichenberg. Organizations that received grants included the American Diabetes Association, Child Crisis Arizona, Save the Family, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans Parade, Arizona Disabled Sports, and The Children’s Home Project.
Over the last 10 years, the Signarama Chandler franchise has served as a mentor store to help other owners as they open a new location, or take over an existing one. “Becoming a new business owner can be overwhelming, but after learning the business and going through the process, the end-experience is very gratifying,” said Kast-Eichenberg.
How does one with no prior experience in signage or printing, evolve into an award-winning franchisee for the largest sign franchise in the world? “One of my greatest strengths has always been flexibility and the ability to figure out life as it comes,” remarked Kast-Eichenberg. “In 2007 my husband and I became a part of his parent’s business to help them retire and to make that happen we had to learn all aspects of the business, and that included printing.”
While learning the business, she worked in the areas of production, sales, customer support, and accounting. “I loved the opportunities to work with customers and create full sign packages that helped grow their businesses,” she said. “One of my favorite parts of owning a Signarama franchise are my relationships with other Signarama owners, and the opportunities that it has provided for personal and professional growth.”
She and her husband are great believers in setting goals and excelling at customer service. “Every day you can learn and grow in this business, and we are committed to providing our customers with the very best product possible,” she remarked. “I work with an incredible team of employees, and with the recent purchase of our very own building, it is an exciting time. I am grateful for the work I do, the people I do it with, and my extended Signarama network all over the world.”
Signarama®, the world’s largest sign franchise, offers branding and messaging solutions in addition to comprehensive sign and graphic services to consumers and commercial customers – from business signs, vehicle wraps, and digital signs, to advertising and marketing services. Signarama is part of a successful system of business-to-business franchise brands and development services under the United Franchise Group (UFG). As part of the $49-billion-plus worldwide sign market, Signarama has been at the forefront of the sign industry for more than two decades. Signarama was ranked Number 35 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Global Franchises list in 2016. With over 800 locations in 60 countries, the company expects to have more than 1,500 locations worldwide by the end of 2020. For more information, visit www.SignaramaFranchise.com.
Led by CEO Ray Titus, United Franchise Group is home to a variety of internationally recognized brands including Signarama, Fully Promoted, Experimac, Jon Smith Subs, Venture X, SuperGreen Solutions, Transworld Business Advisors, Accurate Franchising, and The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill. With over three decades in the franchising industry and more than 1400 franchisees throughout the world, United Franchise Group offers unprecedented leadership and solid business opportunities for entrepreneurs.