Jerry Pappalardo’s Signarama franchise in Murrieta, California opened at the worst possible time to start a new business, although he didn’t know it at the time.
“We started in September 2008, so we have a rather auspicious beginning, because that was the same month that a lot of the economic problems started,” said Pappalardo. “We managed to work our way through those times, and are now on a growth path for the franchise.”
Pappalardo was already familiar with the sign industry and Signarama in particular, having worked for Hewlett-Packard as a large format printing product manager for materials. He already had a lot of knowledge about the materials and the kinds of things that were being done in the industry.
“I knew about Signarama because of my association with it,” said Pappalardo. “So when I decided to strike out on my own, I looked at different franchises and chose Signarama because of their experience, philosophy, and support.”
Pappalardo said the nice thing about being a franchise owner was that he didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. He liked the fact that he could start with something that already had a lot of the basics in place, and could grow it from there. Starting a new franchise, compared to starting a brand new sign making business, eliminated a lot of headaches and slow growth.
Signarama Murrieta has five employees, which means Jerry wears a lot of different hats. He focuses primarily on sales and marketing (including managing two salespeople), but he’s also the general manager. He’s responsible for running the day to day operations, ensuring customer projects are being finished on a timely basis, and that the signs are of the highest quality.
Pappalardo said he does a lot of social media marketing, with Facebook, Twitter, and blogging, plus a monthly newsletter. He’s also very involved in his community, serving as a member of three different area chambers of commerce, where he makes a lot of new business contacts.
One of Signarama Murrieta’s latest projects was for a local retirement home. The home had been purchased by a larger company, so they were responsible for a complete changeover of all the signage at the facility, including the main entrance, all directional signs, and parking. They even redid their interior wall graphics, and rewrapped two of their vehicles.