THUNDER BAY -- “When I was 18 I got a pen. I thought, what a great business, and I wanted to get into promotional marketing,” says John Phyllis, owner of Impact Promotions, Uniform Pros and Sign Pros.
He started small with Impact Promotions, working out of his home in 2007. A couple of years later, he was successful enough to move the business out of his house and started his second business, Uniform Pros, which supplies uniforms and workwear for people in the medical field, security, aviation, food and other industries.
When the store on Victoria Avenue (next to Holland Bakery) got too small for the growing businesses, he moved Impact Promotions into another building on the same block. There, they make branded merchandise in-house. The store hums with activity, as employees work on printers, embroidery machines and screen printing machines to produce items for local sports teams, schools and businesses.
Phyllis currently employs 15 staff members and sales have doubled in the last three years. “Partly people want to buy local, which is great, and part of it is we’re working hard,” he says.
Aiming to become a one-stop shop for businesses, he started Sign Pros in 2017. “The sign business was the piece that completed us,” he says. “We have stickers, banners, signs, vehicle decals, so businesses can get everything here.”
"It’s a daily grind and a lot of hard work and a lot of long hours. We have a great team. We have really really good people, who really care. And almost everybody here acts like it’s their own business. They take that pride, they take that care, make sure things are done well,” says the business owner.
“We’ve been working on paying people more so that people stay longer,” he adds. “It’s easier; you don’t have to train them as much. When you find a good person you just don’t want to lose them.”
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