Shop Says ‘Thank You’ In a Creative Way That Brings Community Together
WEST PALM BEACH, FL, August 22, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — John and Ashly Robbins, owners of the Signarama shop in Redding, CA, looked out the window of their home and in the distance across the river, saw plumes of smoke rising into the air. Their first thought was that it was just another normal brush fire. They would soon know that this fire was anything but normal.
It began earlier in the week as a seemingly contained brush fire, but by midweek a phenomenon called a fire-tornado or “firenado” had formed. With flames being fueled by sustained tornado winds of 143 mph, the fire raged out of control, quickly moving toward their home in Stanford Hills.
Two days later, another phenomenon took place. At their Signarama shop in downtown Redding, staff voluntarily came in and worked two 24-hour shifts to design and print “thank you” signs to first responders and others that came to the rescue of families throughout the area. John, his wife, Ashly, and members of their Signarama team are great examples of neighbors helping neighbors.
“The full force of the fire was Thursday and by Saturday we were in the shop designing and printing signs,” said Robbins, whose company is part of United Franchise Group, headquartered in West Palm Beach, FL. “We began by handing out a few signs to say ‘thank you’ to the first responders, and when the sheriff got on the TV and told people how much the signs helped morale, there was an instant demand for more signs.” By the following Wednesday, the Signarama team had printed and handed out more than 6,000 signs thanking everyone from firefighters, law enforcement, and first responders, to heavy equipment operators, utility workers, air support, and others.
The project began with four designs but as more requests poured in, the Robbins’ team ended up with 10 designs. “We did our best to accommodate everyone and held a drive thru distribution day at the shop that created quite a traffic jam,” he said. “People wanted to show their appreciation and they’ve been super-supportive and very thankful.”
The Robbins depleted their entire stock, but thanks to the efficiency of Signarama’s Sacramento supplier, Grimco, more materials were on the way. “They went above and beyond, meeting with us on the weekends, and arranging to get supplies to us as quickly as possible,” Robbins said. “Without them going the extra mile we probably would have been able to print only half the signs. They also helped defray the cost of supplies because they knew we were giving the signs away.”
Signs were printed on Saturday and Sunday, and on Monday at 6 a.m. the team gathered for more work and the printers didn’t turn off until Wednesday night. “My guys knew how much those signs meant to people in the town and everyone did a terrific job.” Local radio stations also got in on the action, setting up shop in front of Signarama and holding drive-thru fundraisers with the proceeds benefitting the fire relief fund.
“Giving back to the community is something we take great pride in,” said Signarama President A.J. Titus. “The creativity, hard work, and community spirit shown by John, Ashly, and their entire team is to be commended. We are extremely proud of their efforts.”
Robbins recalled talking with Titus about the difference between Florida’s hurricanes and California’s wildfires. “I told him that with a hurricane there was time to prepare, but with a wildfire there is no time because it can spread so quickly,” commented Robbins. “This went from a small brushfire to an out-of-control wildfire; like nothing we had ever seen before. When the winds picked up it went from covering 8,000 to 23,000 acres overnight.” The blaze is estimated to have burned more than 176,000 acres, making it the most destructive in state history.
Robbins said the barometer for evacuation was when a helicopter with a dumper container hovered above his house. “I thought it was hovering waiting on instructions to go somewhere and drop the water,” he said. “It moved about 100 feet and dropped the water in my neighbor’s back yard. I knew it was time to leave.” On that day, thick smoke blocked the sun, the entire neighborhood was without electricity, fumes burned the eyes and throat, and hot embers and debris were flying. “My family had to literally drive through flames to get out of the neighborhood,” Robbins said. “Heavy-duty pickup trucks were lifted off the road by the tornado.”
The last couple of weeks have been a nightmare for residents of Redding and its surrounding suburbs. There has been loss of life and more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed, yet stories continue to emerge about survival and people helping people. “What we did with our signs definitely had an impact and we’re proud to have made some small difference,” he said. “I am most proud of our community coming together as one in a very difficult time.”
Signarama is more than a sign of good business…it’s a sign of community spirit…a sign of caring. Perfect examples can be found in Redding, CA.
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.
About United Franchise Group
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 and The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill. With over three decades in the franchising industry and more than 1600 franchisees throughout the world, United Franchise Group offers unprecedented leadership and solid business opportunities for entrepreneurs.