By Keith Meisel, firstname.lastname@example.org
9:42 PM EST, January 5, 2014
Getting acquainted, or reacquainted, with friends and neighbors isn't an unusual resolution to begin the new year.
It was also the motivation for Krista Wilson, manager of Fastsigns Arbutus, to schedule a "Grand Re-Opening" Jan. 7 at 11 a.m. for members of the Arbutus Business and Professional Association at the store, 1859 Sulphur Spring Road.
"New owners (Dave and Leigh Rand) took over our center and I wanted them to meet our neighbors and customers," said Wilson, who has been in the sign industry for 14 years, the last four at the Arbutus store.
Last week's snow may have caused schools to close and tempted many residents to stay close to home. But it did not affect business at the sign store, which has a staff of four to six employees, Wilson said.
"We've got a lot of repeat customers, and the things they need are not determined by the weather," she said on Jan 3.
That many of those customers are small business owners whose varying needs add to Wilson's enjoyment of her job.
"Small businesses are what I think keeps our country going," she said.
But the needs, and demands, of those businesses have changed over the years, she said.
"I've noticed that customers are starting to want different types of signs, not just yard signs or banners," she said. "They want to be more creative."
She said her store can accomodate those wishes, thanks to recent acquisitions such as a flatbed printer that can be used with a variety of materials, including metal, plastic and wood.
The new ownership also has a store in Annapolis, which will help support the local shop in terms of customer service and access to a lift truck, she said.
The store's location in the business park at the intersection with Benson Avenue does have its disadvantages, Wilson said.
"We do lose some as far as walk-ins," she said.
But the room it offers is a benefit, both for equipment and to host a post-holiday get-together.