INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 24, 2013, 06:19 PM

Fargo businessman becomes accidental sign maker

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - When Fargo businessman Ryan Fritz was trying to get his fledgling marketing business going a few years ago, he set up a pretend website to show how much customer interest could be generated quickly.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - When Fargo businessman Ryan Fritz was trying to get his fledgling marketing business going a few years ago, he set up a pretend website to show how much customer interest could be generated quickly.

That fake internet site got so busy, so fast that Fritz grabbed the bull by the horns and started his own legitimate company. Now, he has just expanded Office Sign Company on NP Avenue in Fargo and is serving clients nation-wide.

You know those little signs you see on the walls of clinics, churches, schools and businesses? They tell us where restrooms are, and the way to a doctor's office. At Office Sign Company in downtown Fargo, Ryan Fritz is still pinching himself.

Ryan Fritz - Office Sign Company Owner: “I never in my wildest dreams envisioned this. But when I dream, I do dream big.”

It all started in the basement of Ryan's home. While trying to kickstart his marketing company, Ryan pitched a fake website and company to clients to show what kind of customer traffic he could generate.

Ryan Fritz - “We made it look real, a logo, a real address - a PO box at the time. A few days later, all of a sudden there are 10 more phone calls and 5 more emails. I made two or three signs for the first customers. In fact, I think I had to order signs from another company to fulfill my first order.”

The rest of entrepenuer history. In just 4 years, Fritz has hired 25 people, many of them young, who enjoy benefits like foosball, pinball, and a Friday night frost mug after work. It has all happened so quickly.

Ryan Fritz: “I was boiling eggs upstairs and making signs downstairs, It was me answering emails, answering phone calls, making signs, and shipping - which in retrospect is great because I have a grasp of every department. I can always say, 'Hey, I did that.'”

There are artists and production crews cranking out signage using lasers. The technology for making signs is ever-changing, like a router for Braille signs. Shipping has jumped from 6 boxes a day to 65 and customers from LA to New York.”

Ryan Fritz: “We did signage for Tiffany's and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream.”

Whoever thought that fake website and a basement business would lead to this?

There is something called search engine optimization in the business world. In other words, Fritz's business name is so simple that when you Google the words "office" and "signs," the Office Sign Company in Fargo pops up first.

Tags: