Jose Corujo, Juan A. Rivera, and Teresa Caballero, Master franchise owners of FASTSIGNS® Puerto Rico, which includes three locations, received national recognition as the recipients of The FASTSIGNS® Award at the 2019 FASTSIGNS International Convention recently held in Orlando, Florida.
This award, which is the most prestigious recognition in the franchise network of over 700 locations in nine countries worldwide, is presented to the franchisees who best represent the FASTSIGNS brand in their community and in the network, and provide exceptional customer service, mentoring, company culture and employee development. FASTSIGNS Puerto Rico also received an award for their involvement in the Franchise Advisory Council.
“It is a huge honor for us. We feel it is such a high recognition to receive this award, because we know the quality of our peers within the franchise network. It’s impossible to describe how we felt, and it was very emotional,” said Teresa Caballero, Market Strategy Partner with FASTSIGNS Puerto Rico.
Having a strong client base on the island through a company that specialized in POP (point-of-purchase) marketing, Corujo, Rivera and Caballero converted their existing business in 2012 into FASTSIGNS to benefit from brand recognition, operational support and expanded services for existing and new customers. The team signed a Master Franchise Agreement to expand the FASTSIGNS brand in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic.
During 2012, FASTSIGNS opened its first Puerto Rican center in Guaynabo, followed by the Caguas center in 2014 and Carolina in 2015. The three locations are the result of the vision, dedication, commitment and hard work of the three local entrepreneurs who have positioned FASTSIGNS amongst the top signage firms in Puerto Rico while they have continually contributed to the growth and awareness of theFASTSIGNS brand on the island. FASTSIGNS Puerto Rico also has a production workshop, located in the Lucchetti Industrial Park, and its more than 19 employees are proud to contribute to the local economy with their sales talent and production capacity.
The three business-savvy entrepreneurs came to FASTSIGNS with impressive resumes offering extensive experience in marketing, accounting and operations. Before founding a marketing and communications firm with Caballero in 2001, Corujo spent eight years in public accounting, worked for the government of Puerto Rico and served as executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. In addition, Corujo has served on the Board of Directors of the Sales & Marketing Executives International and is a former president of the Sales and Marketing Executive Association in Puerto Rico. Caballero has more than 25 years of experience in the industry as a renowned expert in developing and implementing marketing and PR strategies, working with such prestigious brands as Kellogg's, Pillsbury and Budweiser. She is also a board member of the Puerto Rico Chapter for the Global Entrepreneurs Organization and the Puerto Rico Franchisee Association. Adding to the strength of the partnership is Rivera, a well-known expert in retail, who operated his own business that provided merchandising and sales services to clients for more than 12 years. Rivera will be next year’s president of the Sales and Marketing Executive Association in Puerto Rico.
“With conversions, franchise owners have the tools but it is up to each of us to take those tools out into the market and to the next level. Knowing that FASTSIGNS didn’t yet have a presence in Puerto Rico, we worked to raise awareness on a local and national level,” said Jose Corujo. “Our goal was to take the brand elements, truly embrace the model and apply what we had learned. It took courage, requiring us to leave what we were currently doing and take the next step. Our story shows that if franchisees embrace the model, it really pays off. We are extremely proud of all of the hours we invested as we made every effort to embody and share theFASTSIGNS brand.”
In the fall of 2017, their island was devastated by Hurricane Maria. All three locations were without power for a significant period of time with only their production center powered by a generator. They provided support financially and emotionally to their employees.
“The Hurricane Maria situation changed not only us but the whole island’s psyche. The way that we approach problems is quite different now,” said Juan A. Rivera, franchise owner with FASTSIGNS Puerto Rico. “We were forced to keep moving. This made us and the team stronger. We learned no matter how tough things may look, there’s a light on the other side.”
“This team excels in solving visual communications, helping customers achieve their objectives, and represents the FASTSIGNS brand with passion, excellence and enthusiasm,” said FASTSIGNSInternational, Inc. CEO, Catherine Monson. “Not only are they committed to FASTSIGNS, they are also committed to helping their local community while consistently having a positive impact. They’ve also been amazing in helping us grow the FASTSIGNS network both domestically and internationally. We are thankful to have them as members of the FASTSIGNS family.”
FASTSIGNS® is a locally and independently owned and operated sign, graphics and visual communications company that provides comprehensive visual marketing solutions to customers of all sizes—across all industries—to help them attract more attention, communicate their message, sell more products, help visitors find their way and extend their branding across all of their customer touch points including décor, events, wearables, digital signage and marketing materials.