The past two years have certainly proven to be one of the most interesting, dynamic and challenging times in recent human history. For retailers and other businesses, the tenor of the past 24 months has resulted in the development of an extremely complex environment that continues to change and evolve on a near-daily basis. It’s also served as a brutal natural assessment of retailers across the country, yielding a mixed bag of results that have ranged from desperation and depletion to pivots and innovation in the face of the adversity that’s resulted. And, it’s also facilitated creative partnerships and alliances among brands and businesses that share the same objectives and complement each others offering and expertise, like the one recently formed between Steel Art Signs Corp. and Gregory Signs – two of the countries leading full-scale, end-to-end signage companies. It’s a partnership that bolsters the credibility and presence of each company, and one that, Eric Hrivnak, Chief Executive Officer of Steel Art Signs Corp., says is rooted in the synergies and mutual benefits that are apparent within it.
“First and foremost, this partnership with Gregory Signs is going to help open a lot of doors into industries and sectors that, historically, Steel Art Signs has not always specialized in,” he asserts. “It’s a great partnership between the two companies because we each have complementary abilities and expertise to offer. However, we also each bring unique, specialized skills and experience to what we do, which will only serve to diversify our offering as a whole. To put it simply, we’ve enjoyed a lot of success with program work, while Gregory Signs has excelled within infrastructure. And now that the two have partnered up, each is learning from and influencing the other in a very positive way.”
The partnership, represented by the acquisition of Gregory Signs by Steel Art Signs Corp., was formed a little more than six months ago and allows Gregory Signs to continue operating seemingly independently of Steel Art Signs. It’s a decision that was made mutually between the two signage experts and is one that has, according to Hrivnak, progressed extremely well to this point. The two companies, both based in Toronto, ON, will each remain deeply focused on the work that has earned their respective reputations, while afforded access to their collectively growing network and expertise. However, Hrivnak says that perhaps the greatest benefit that each company enjoys is the broadening of perspectives, ideas, and experience.
“For each company, there are all of these new and fresh ways of looking at and doing things,” he says. “Immediately, the people in the meeting rooms doubled, which for us has resulted in double the input and double the perspective and incredible transference of skills and experience. We’ve already seen ways in which each company can adopt the practices of the other, trimming the stuff that wasn’t working so well and replacing them with ideas and strategies that wouldn’t have been thought of prior. And, to be honest with you, the people at Gregory Signs were instrumental in this idea even coming to light. A company is nothing without its people. And, that means that if a company is successful, it is so because of its people. Every sector and industry throughout the country is struggling to find the right people with the right talent to fill positions. Partnering with Gregory Signs has suddenly surrounded everyone with a plethora of new top talent and allows each company to now work together toward a shared benefit, helping us progress and do what we do better.”
A way to grow
They are all sentiments that are echoed by Boris Kaminsky, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Gregory Signs, and son of retiring company founder, Gregory Kaminsky. He, too, sees the incredible opportunities that are inherent within the partnership for each party and says that he’s really enjoying the experience so far with an eye on further growth and expansion for the company. In fact, from his perspective, it was the exponential growth of Gregory Signs, and the momentum that it had been building to this point, that served as the catalyst for his interest in forming the partnership with Steel Art Signs Corp.
“We’ve been experiencing quite a bit of rapid growth over the past number of years,” says Kaminsky. “We were receiving client orders from all over the place. It was growth based primarily on reputation and word-of-mouth. And it got to the point where I knew that we needed to grow further. We needed a factory that was double or even triple the size of the one we were operating in. We had received some interest from Steel Art Signs in acquiring us. And, after some deliberation, I decided, instead of growing on our own, to give my dad a good reason to retire and team up with Steel Art. It’s turned out to be one of the best business decisions that I’ve ever made. The company has an incredible reputation and is amazing to work for. And, we get to keep the Gregory Signs name and ability to operate as a separate entity. It allows us to go after different markets together, combining our forces to the best possible effect.”
Synergies and mutual benefits
Kaminsky goes on to describe how pleased he is with the decision he made to enter into this partnership. And, in agreement with Hrivnak, he underscores just how significant a role the synergies between the two companies played in its forming. They’re synergies that are also recognized by Michael Cormack, President, of Corbana Holdings Inc., who worked on behalf of Steel Art Signs Corp. to provide business advisory services for the acquisition. However, Cormack believes that the most intriguing element lending toward the successful acquisition was the mutually beneficial return that each company would receive as a result of the partnership.
“Gregory Signs had already established its own network and suite of sign services, which made it very attractive to Steel Art Signs Corp.,” he says. “It had enjoyed a unique market position servicing the architectural and construction industry as custom and unique design providers. And, Steel Art Signs had its national network and was focused on national accounts and consistent quality large run, high volume sign customers, in addition to providing well-designed and manufactured one-off sign projects. Each party brings something a little bit different to the partnership, benefitting both exponentially.”
A bright future
Hrivnak explains that the potential benefits that each company recognized at the onset of the partnership have already started to come to fruition and helping to pave the way forward toward further improvements and enhancements to each operation. He says that each is keen, too, to attack the work ahead of them in order to grow and expand even more and capitalize on the boundless possibilities that this strategic partnership presents. And, given the penchant that each company possesses for delivering quality service to as many clients as possible, Hrivnak suggests that there’s still quite a bit of room left for both Steel Art Signs Corp. and Gregory Signs to expand their presence further.
“The sign market in Canada is still robust enough for us to continue growing and expanding. We’re also considering diversifying our manufacturing portfolio. Our specialties and expertise are obviously related to signage. However, we have the know-how and capacity to be doing even more. But we couldn’t be any happier with the current direction of the companies and the work that we each do. The past six months have been a really great experience. and I’m looking forward to an exciting future ahead for both Gregory Signs and Steel Art Signs Corp.”
*Partner content. To work with Retail Insider, email: firstname.lastname@example.org