LIBERTY — In mid-October, the Signarama Kansas City North team celebrated its second year in business. The shop is owned by Mark and Lisa Freidel, both Army veterans. Mark served for 23 years, mainly in the Reserves as a combat engineer, while Lisa is a West Point graduate who spent five years in active service and six years in the Reserves. She worked in communications.
The skills they gained in the armed service continue to serve both. Mark manages the production side of the sign and large-format-printing center. Lisa can be found selling and handling the marketing, often being the face of the company. The small crew aims for fast and friendly service in producing storefront signs, banners, decals, vehicle graphics and wraps, logo designs, business cards and event displays.
What exactly does your business do?
“We design and build custom signs and vinyl graphics,” Lisa said. “While we are a franchise, we know the area and aim to serve the business needs. We work to stay on top of the needs including door graphics, vehicle wraps and banners. For other consumers, it’s school decals, sports banners and printed canvases.”
What does your business name mean?
“More people know about the Signarama name on the coasts,” Lisa said. “There’s some debate as to which sign franchise is tops in the market between Signarama and Fast Signs, however, we are currently the only Signarama in Kansas City so that positions us well in the area market.”
How did you get started in this field?
“I lost my job and my husband was a stay-at-home dad,” Lisa said. “We went to the library and started researching franchises.”
What makes this business challenging?
“Internally, we had to realize that everything is custom and we have to listen and communicate what is wanted,” she said. “I like this business and we are still creating for the local market. The challenge is getting it right every time. No matter what, our focus is to offer friendly, good customer service. We are changing the model. Our showroom is comfortable and a place for us to share the visions of business leaders and individuals. It’s about making sure our focus is on the customer experience.”
Who do you go to when you need business advice?
“We have the United Franchise Group as a resource for Mark and me,” Lisa said. “We also talk with several other business owners in the area. We even bug other sign shop owners. We help each other as there are so many products in this field. If we can offer someone else a little business, others may reciprocate.”
What makes this business rewarding?
“For me, it’s being part of the Liberty community,” Lisa said. “We have lived here for 15 years, but I worked downtown (Kansas City) for 13 of those years, so I felt a disconnect. Now, it’s different. We are part of the local business scene. It’s close to where we live. Plus, we are helping other businesses. We are a member of the Liberty Area Chamber of Commerce. I also get to spend more time with our sons.”
What surprises people most about your business?
“We can offer so many solutions in our small shop,” she said. “We have a printer and laminator that can do a lot. When we help businesses get a sign which includes designs, city permits, customized production and installation. We have the whole package to offer.”
What is your most popular product or service?
For designer Ryan Robertson, the most popular products are the vehicle graphics. Designer and sales Elise Yoemans said window vinyls for vehicles rank up there, too.
“We have done designs for fleet vehicles,” Lisa said. “On the consumer side, it’s event banners and printed canvases.”
What’s next for your business?
“For the third year, we are going to be working on improving efficiencies,” Lisa said. “We will all work on decreasing errors and reducing rework. It’s still going to be building the business.”