Photo by Hilary Ehlen
As a small business lending partner, we have had the privilege of working with hundreds of innovative and inspiring entrepreneurs throughout the state from a multitude of industries. Where our honor lies, however, is in the faces and places of these small businesses and the success stories they have to share. Among these is the story of Office Sign Company – a local sign business with a unique story to tell. Their story is one of twists and turns, unique growth opportunities, and a decade of success. For this issue, we wanted to take a deeper look into the story that got them ranked Young Professional’s Best Place to Work in 2018, making them one of the top workplaces for rising professionals in Fargo/Moorhead This definitely gives them an advantage when it comes to workforce attraction and retention.
Ryan Fritz, president and CEO of Fargo’s Office Sign Company, had one particular passion when it came to his professional career: to have the ability to spend more time with his family. However, in order to attain the work-life balance he intended, Ryan needed to get creative. In 2008, he decided to move forward and put his digital advertising talent to the test by creating his own online marketing agency called Foundability. In order to display and prove his digital marketing skills to potential customers, Ryan created Office Sign Company, his first prototype client. Much to his surprise, Office Sign Company’s site became heavily trafficked and profitable, so much so that he decided to shift his focus from the marketing agency to the sign business. By late 2008, Office Sign Company was ready and open for business.
“Ryan was trying to prove that his digital marketing skills could work and that he could get this site to be trafficked and profitable. He was able to do it so much so that he actually decided to pursue the sign business [Office Sign Company]. It’s a unique story,” shared Jack Yakowicz, Marketing Director at Office Sign Company.
Over the course of the next ten years, Office Sign Company has undergone a unique journey that has brought them from start-up to being awarded Young Professionals Best Place to Work in 2018 by the Fargo/Moorhead/West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. This, Jack believes, is due to their employee-orientated focus. The sign business offers a variety of benefits to their employees and is constantly adding, changing, and adapting these benefits to meet the needs of their employees. The company meets regularity to discuss the needs of the employees and discover where evolving may be necessary. Office Sign Company also sends out weekly anonymous surveys to their employees asking what kinds of benefits they are looking for and would like to see implemented next.
Another reason Office Sign Company is among the best places to work in the F/M region is due to its strong emphasis on company culture and personal growth and development. Office Sign Company hires for a cultural fit and provides opportunities for employees to grow and be promoted within the company. Among those to experience this firsthand is Jack himself: “I came in as an entry-level position and, within 6 months, I created a business plan for how to create our first marketing department,” Jack shared. “I pitched it to the CEO and he let me run with it. Now, 4 ½ years later, I am now responsible for a little over 20 employees myself. You just don’t get those opportunities anywhere else.” Above all, Office Sign Company wants nothing more than to provide young professionals with the platform they need to rise up and become the next top leaders in the business world.
“We have such a unique environment, and most of that is due to the fact that we rely so heavily on the young professionals it the office. They’ve given such an opportunity to be difference makers and key plays in our day to day operations, which you just don’t see at some of your standard corporations.”
Since receiving the award, Office Sign Company has noticed that getting a large pool of applicants and filling roles has become significantly easier. In addition, their brand has skyrocketed as they continue to gain interest from people who want to partner or do business with them. Lastly, they have seen some of the entry-level employees take the initiative to form new committees and events internally and continue to cultivate the unique culture that exists. Among these is a wellness committee that involves workout challenges/incentives and a weekly wellness newsletter, as well as a Movie Mafia group that gets tickets for upcoming movies and honors members with perks such as custom-made buttons and voting rights for the next movie.
Today, Office Sign Company continues to grow its unique culture by offering new benefits and promoting from within. As a company that has grown to over 45 employees, they are working to sustain this unique cultural environment amidst their growth and maintain the solid reputation that they have earned.
As you can see, the journey to becoming a Young Professionals Best Place to Work isn’t an easy one. It is a 10+ year journey filled with twists and turns, unknowns, and obstacles. But, if you’re like Ryan, you can see these as opportunities for growth and capitalize on them, making you well on your way to becoming one of the top workplaces in Fargo/Moorhead. Congratulations Office Sign Company on your journey to success!
To learn more about Office Sign Company and their growth, read their success story at www.dakotabusinesslending.com/office-sign-company.