Janesville graphics company makes large decals
So much so that pedestrians have ventured into the former Helgesen Building in downtown Janesville to get into the action.
“They’re disappointed to learn that it’s just decals,” said Lynn Marcello, director of strategic partnerships for Sara Investment Real Estate, which bought the five-story, 52,000-square-foot office building in 2008 and has since been renovating it.
The second floor, in fact, is vacant.
The decals—perforated window film—are part of a visual marketing campaign at Prospect 101. Depicting retail and office graphics, the film is eco-friendly because it insulates and reduces heating and cooling costs.
Even more significant, it is the work of one of the building’s tenants: Fetch Graphics.
Fetch opened last year at Prospect 101, the idea of Jason and Mary Yost, two former employees at Large Format Digital, a similar company that closed its doors in Edgerton last year as a victim of the recession.
“My wife and I both live in Janesville, and we wanted to carry on the legacy of Large Format Digital,” Jason Yost said.
The company produces a variety of graphics for fleet vehicles, walls and retail environments. Some production is done at Prospect 101, but the larger work is produced at a facility in Kansas.
A year into the business, the Yosts are pleased with their results.
“We had both the experience and the clientele,” Jason Yost said. “We had built up relationships over six to 10 years, and we’ve been able to retain about 90 percent of (LFD’s) customers.
“That says a lot about the service we provided.”
Originally, Fetch Graphics was intended to be a representative for the Kansas production company. But the Yosts wanted the flexibility to do smaller projects in addition to larger projects on the national scene, where it supplies graphics to a number of national fleets, as well as point-of-sale graphics.
The company bought a massive eco-friendly printer that it installed at its downtown office to do just that.
“That high-resolution printer was a big step in our growth,” Yost said.
The company now has five employees.
Marcello said Sara has tapped Fetch as a preferred supplier that offers discounts to other Sara tenants. That builds an internal business-to-business network that benefits everyone, she said.
“Their business plan is incredible,” Marcello said. “Basically, if it’s got a surface, they can cover it.
“Their work crosses into all industry sectors, certainly the sectors we’re involved in.”
Marcello said the relationship between the two companies is excellent.
“We’ve been really focusing on using our tenants’ services whenever possible, whether it’s hosting a Business After Five at Time Out or buying tenant welcome baskets from Basics, a building we used to own, or buying signage from Fetch Graphics,” Marcello said. “We hope this will both help them through the tough economy and demonstrate our commitment to their success.”
Sara is making headway with its Prospect 101 project. The building’s occupancy rate is 46 percent, and the public defenders who used to lease space on the third floor have signed a new lease and moved to the renovated fifth floor.
“The building has never looked better, and we are ready and willing to work with people on financing,” Marcello said. “We want to talk with people about what they want in terms of office space, and we’ll make it work.”
Yost said he’s happy in downtown Janesville, and he won’t miss a chance to advocate on its behalf.
“The downtown is still lacking some things, but there is great potential here, and more businesses need to see it,” he said.