Updated: May 20, 2020 09:38 PM
Created: May 20, 2020 09:34 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Call it a sign of the times. Stepping in to help businesses with their messaging during the coronavirus pandemic is Image360.
Jackie Ciresi is a co-owner of the business.
"Our focus is on commercial business, a lot of interior branding, what's called environmental graphics," Ciresi said. "So that's really where we found our niche here in the area."
The Henrietta-based sign and graphics company was started by Ciresi and Julie St. Germaine and has been in business since 1999. They began by doing quick-turn banners, car decals and other smaller items.
"As we grew and the industry itself grew, it turned more into a graphic design and sign kind of business," Ciresi said.
Growing to 10 employees, Image360 now specializes in wall murals, dimensional signs and vehicle graphics. They were setting revenue records in January and February when the coronavirus halted everything.
"We're small. We kind of feel like a family and having to send people home was really rough," Ciresi recalled. "We've been in business 20 years. we've been through 9/11. We've been through the 2008 recession. Nothing felt like this."
Ciresi says they needed to figure out a way to stay viable for their employees and their families. So they pivoted to creating customized
COVID-19 related signs, sandwich boards, and floor decals for businesses.
"We got listed as an essential business, so we were able to do a little bit more, still though just Julie, myself and one production person," she said.
They also had an acrylic cutting machine in-house. So they began manufacturing custom, clear protective panels for their customers.
"The open environment office has been a thing for the past couple of years, so obviously that's now going to be kind of an issue for people. So creating some kind of divider in between those cubicles that look good is kind of where we were going with it," Ciresi added.
Ciresi says they were able to get a federal PPP loan. Plus, now that manufacturing has been re-instated in phase one of the state's re-opening plan, they were able to bring the whole staff back and ramp up production. Ciresi says she's encouraged that their customers have stuck with them.
"We're trying to focus a little shorter term at this point. a month here, two months there, and the main thing really is just getting our information out there and letting people know we're open and available and have the full staff to get things turned around."
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