Be The Best You Can Be!

My father had always reminded me as a youngster when I announced I wanted to be a cowboy or a fireman, and then later when I figured being an architect was where I was headed, “Son, be the best (cowboy or fireman or) architect that you can possibly be!” So when it came time to keep the cash flow going in 1982 and ’83 when architecture in Michigan took a big hit with that recession, the graphic design and street banner business was picking up and Kalamazoo Banner Works was officially born on January 1, 1984. It grew so fast from just one person (me) that by 1987 there were 25 people at KBW making banners and brackets. Dad came out of retirement and was right there helping out and reminding me that we needed to be the “best banner company” we could be. Dad is gone now but we still keep his motto around.And here’s more of that story: we changed our name from Kalamazoo Banner Works (KBW) to Consort Display Group in 1999 to better reflect all the other product lines that have been developed or purchased since then. But, because the name “Kalamazoo Banner Works” was so well known in the street scape banner and banner bracket business we kept “KBW” as a brand for those products. The original name was a brilliant inspiration handed to me by my good friend, Donavan Kindle, who mentored me through the early days. It was simple, he said. Where is the business located and what do you do? And, since there is only one City of Kalamazoo and the city name is somewhat memorable, if a potential customer had heard just the name, they would instantly know we were in the banner business and they would know where to find us. That was all before internet, so the 800 toll-free concept was a huge marketing tool for us at that time.

So there, being the best business you can be includes having a really good name!