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Meet Amanda Dennie of EZ Signs in Cedar Creek Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Dennie.

Amanda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I actually started in 2005 as an employee to the original owner. I had absolutely no experience and he hired me to design the layouts. I’m a pretty creative person, though, so it wasn’t too difficult. After a few years, I decided I wanted to be a graphic designer, so I enrolled at Tyler Junior College. Fast forward to 2011 and my boss decided to sell the business or close down. I enjoyed what I did and the thought of job hunting again didn’t appeal to me, so we bought the business. After some bumps in the road, we moved into Mabank and we’ve been going strong ever since. We went from a small 1500 sq ft storage warehouse to a 2400 space with room to grow. I’m looking forward to the future.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Even though we didn’t start the business from scratch, it still had its difficulties. The previous owner stayed on for a while to help with the transition and get customers used to me handling everything for them. The biggest obstacle we had was our location. We knew we need something bigger and in a location, but spaces were hard to come by that weren’t outside our budget at the time. It got bad enough for a while that we had to lay off my husband and then I was working alone. Thankfully, we lucked into a location in Mabank in 2015 and business exploded! We were then able to afford to hire help.

However, the biggest obstacle for me has been medical issues. In March of 2018, everything changed. One day, everything was fine. The next day, I suddenly couldn’t stand up. Took several tries to stand, but I couldn’t stay standing without help. I won’t go into all the little details, but I ended up having an MRI and it was determined I had Chiari (key-ARE-ee) Malformation Type 1 and Syringomelia. I met with a neurosurgeon and surgery was scheduled. I spent two months in the hospital due to recovery, rehab, and then developing meningitis after the surgery. After being released and spending another month at home, I was able to return to work. It was a while before I could really perform all my tasks. I’m still dealing with nerve problems, but I’m better than I was. Thankfully, I have some amazing help now and they are taking some of the stress off my shoulders.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about EZ Signs – what should we know?
We are primarily a sign company. We do everything from yard signs to banners to large signs for businesses. Most of our repeat business comes from the city of Mabank (police, fire, and city), Mabank ISD, and their police department, and most of the real estate companies around the lake and their agents. Even though we’re mainly known as a sign shop, I expanded our services to add design, business cards, brochures, etc. And I’m actually working on some book covers right now, which is exciting! Most people come to me last after their brand is created and I’m hoping to change that. We can do it from start to finish.

It’s hard to pick one thing I’m most proud of as a company. Staying in business in a small town for this long is pretty great to me. We’ve come so far as a company and that’s something to really be proud of. For a long time, I was always worried about competition. “What is so and so doing? How can they undercut my prices like that?” But one day I decided it wasn’t worth the stress. I’m doing my best. I research materials and use the best ones for each job. I don’t cut corners. If something is wrong, we fix it. Our products are meant to catch the eye; wrinkles, bubbles, and tears are not the look we want to represent our clients or us. We’re human and things slip past us at times, but we hold our level of quality control a step above the highest standard in order to provide our customers with the best products possible.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
The previous owner, for sure, deserves the most credit. If it wasn’t for him teaching me when I started, staying on to help with the transition, and being available when I had questions after he moved on, I’m not sure I could have managed. My husband deserves a lot of credit too. Even after we laid him off and he started another job, he’s been there for me when I needed an extra hand. We’ve worked late so many nights, I can’t even begin to thank him enough. I’ve also had some amazing employees over the years.

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