Lisa Slade was a stay-at-home mom in California nearly 20 years ago, when she and husband Tom packed up their three kids to head back to their roots.
Both sides of the family were from Southern Indiana, and Tom’s experience in paper and envelope manufacturing and Lisa’s former career in pharmaceutical sales led them to a major life change: they opened an AlphaGraphics business center in Evansville, Indiana.
“Tom had worked with AlphaGraphics before and thought a lot of the company,” Lisa says. “We signed a franchise agreement, rented a 2,000 square foot building and made a list of 1,000 people to call on.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Only now they have 17 employees, one of their sons is an integral part of the staff, and they’ve added 2,300 square feet to the back of the building. And they just signed another five-year franchise agreement.
“We’ve built a lot of great friendships and gotten a ton of support from the AG Network,” she says. “We really have to give AlphaGraphics a lot of credit, for encouraging us to invest in technology and marketing services and evolving beyond the traditional print model.”
Lisa gained certification as a Women-owned Business, and leveraged it into several major clients, including a bank system, a casino and an energy company. But the most recent success story is with an ECHL pro hockey team, the Evansville Icemen.
“The Icemen asked us to put together a campaign around season ticket sales, so we built a mobile website and created a series of postcard mailings with a QR code linking back to the site,” Lisa says. “The client response has been tremendous, with more than seven percent of recipients scanning the code and requesting more information.”
It’s all about taking a printed piece and driving people online, creating multiple touch points for target audiences.
“We’ve really invested in that side of the business, with AG’s support, and our sales and marketing team is on fire,” she says. “Sadly, we’ve seen four competitors go out of business in the last year here, and one had been here for 100 years. They just didn’t embrace the New Now.”
The Slades’s staff includes a three-person marketing team, a full-time web developer and others with graphic design and other specialized skills that can service their clients’ needs in a comprehensive way.
They’ve focused on hard work, giving back to the community and delivering for their customers, while investing in the future. Twenty years later, the results are proof positive.
“We’re very good at putting ink on paper, but now we’re so much more than that,” Lisa says. “It’s been a lot of fun for us, and exciting to think what the future holds for our son Hunter as he takes more ownership in the business.”
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