JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One local CEO is stepping up to help fellow business owners keep their own operations running during the unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's pretty rough. It's kind of heartbreaking."
CEO of Signarama Jacksonville, Shawn Ninesling, noticed with many businesses changing hours, services, and operations all at the same time, some business owners may have run out resources to communicate the changes with the public.
It's why the printing shop is giving away signage for free. Business owners have the option between three free yard signs or one banner.
There are four messages to choose from. One reads, 'Ask about our specials.' Another,
"'We have toilet paper'. Which is actually a joke," Ninesling chuckled.
All humor aside, 'We are open', 'curbside takeaway', and 'online ordering' are options as well.
Beneath the wording is a spot for a business' name, phone number, or special message. Ninesling says a little attention can be a big boost.
"You drive by the strip malls and they look dead. So, if somebody hangs a banner up or puts a yard sign out front, people are going to know that they're open," Ninesling said. "Certainly hope that everybody will support their local businesses."
The effort is keeping workers at Signarama busy making signs and banners for local businesses. While employees work in hopes of helping others through these hard times, it's also helping them.
"It was a matter of 'A', laying some of our people off, or 'let's figure something out, get some positivity out and, hopefully, get this economy moving a little bit better'," Ninesling said.
The support doesn't end there. In front of the shop, signs have been posted thanking first responders, doctors, and nurses as they combat the crisis.
Ninesling says he went to a firefighting school after graduating from high school. With first responders and medical personnel on the front lines every day, their sacrifice hits home for him.
"These guys are out there busting their butts," Ninesling said. "The doctors and nurses are exposing themselves to this virus. We just want to thank them for what they're doing."
Overall, the hope is to give back and help one another. Any business owner interested in having some signs or a banner can reach out to Signarama directly.