My Name Is: Tom Anderson

Owner of sign/graphics business lends a hand during pandemic

Posted

Humble beginnings

I am 52 years old, and I live in Centennial. I have lived on this end of town most of my life and am a graduate of Cherry Creek High School.

In 1997, I met my business partner, Pete Caldwell. We were actually neighbors and became really good friends. Pete and I started off building decks together as a side gig for our neighbors after they saw the work we did on our own decks. Shortly after, I asked Pete if he'd be interested in going into business with me.

Being 'own boss'

I have always been interested in being my own boss and wanted to invest in a business where I had the flexibility to spend time with my family and friends on the weekend. In April 2002, Caldwell and I invested in Alliance Franchise Brands LLC and opened a custom signs company called Signs By Tomorrow. In August 2014, we did a brand switch and opened Image360, another franchise concept under the Alliance Franchise Brands umbrella.

Prior to launching Signs By Tomorrow in 2002, I was in the construction business doing sales for nearly 15 years.

Responding to a pandemic

When COVID first happened, we were including (social distancing) floor decals and signage in orders for free. We've given away free graphics to the local food-bank truck to help them get food to as many people in need as they could, and we've also provided local schools with large discounts.

We've provided decals and sneeze guards to local schools, property managers, construction firms, storage facilities and other retail businesses. In recent weeks, we've provided a local school system with more than 29,000 floor decals in under 10 days.

Pitching in

We have developed a back-to-business checklist that we've shared with our customers to help them get back to work while abiding by the local mandates that have been put into place. As new restrictions are put into place, we will continue to be a resource and help each other get through this together.

The local businesses in the community are very grateful for the products and guidance we've been able to provide. In addition, the food pantry was ecstatic about the free graphics and we actually bought their old truck to use as delivery vehicle.

Rolling with the punches

Since COVID hit, we almost have to reinvent the business every day. Because of the high demand on certain items and mandates constantly evolving, there tend to be shortages on a lot of the products including acrylic, which causes us to alter some products with the materials we are able to access. When customers reorder certain products, we do our best to make sure the new product matches the product they ordered prior. Rather than using one or two suppliers for our materials, we are now using multiple suppliers to make sure we get the material we need and are able to turn around production in a timely manner.

We are finding ways to stay lean while continuing to keep all of our employees employed.

Lake life

I really enjoy boating and spending as much time on the lake as I can with my family and “lake family.” I've been going to the same private lake for more than 20 years. So if you're looking for me on the weekend, you'll know where I'll be.

If you would like to suggest someone for My Name Is ..., or if you would like to be featured in the segment, contact Ellis Arnold at earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com or 303-566-4109.

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