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Meet Marty Buckholt of Air Ad Promotions in Design District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marty Buckholt.

Marty, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Well, it basically started because I was helping a friend get some income coming in – get a job. I was looking through Entrepreneur magazine, this was back in 1988, and came across an ad in the back of the magazine. It was for a guy selling an advertising balloon.

My roommate and I had just graduated from college – I found a job, but he hadn’t yet. So we talked and decided that he could sell this advertising balloon to businesses to generate some income. The balloon cost $3,000, which was a ton of money for college graduates. Couple weeks later, it finally arrived, my roommate walks in and tells me he found a job. So I was sitting there with a gigantic balloon, no partner and $3,000 less in my bank account.

Well I wasn’t just going to let this huge thing sit there, so I decided I’d see about making the money back that I put into it. I called on Clothestime, which was a women’s clothing store in Arlington, Texas. The lady’s name was Maria. I had a flyer of the balloon and the rental rates. After a couple calls and faxes, she decided to rent it for 10 days. Then she asked for a copy of my insurance. Um yeah, I’ll send that right over. So I hung up the phone and immediately called my insurance to get an insurance policy. $1,000 later, I was in business – didn’t have a business name, but I was in business.

The first year was a whirlwind. We started growing with Clothestime – handling their new store openings in the Houston area and in California. We ran our first yellow pages ad in 1989. I ran the company from basically my car and my apartment. So when people would call and ask to speak to someone in shipping, I would happily respond with, yes this is shipping, and then in the next phone call, yes, this is installations. I ran it like that for a couple years.

We did $100,000 our first year. All that money went back into the company, to buy products, pay people, basically grow the business.

Twenty five years later and we’re a nationwide company, growing bigger every year.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When we were starting up, cash flow was a huge hurdle. Back then, there were no credit cards, or we didn’t have them, no lines of credit we could access. We’d get money in, pay the bills, then be left with no money.

Another challenge that we still have now, is finding staff with the same vision and desire to make customers happy. It’s tough to find those people, but when we do, we keep them.

Air Ad Promotions – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
You know the giant inflatable advertising balloon positioned on the roof or near the entrance of a business? You couldn’t miss it right? Well, that’s what we do. Air Ad Promotions brings more visibility, foot traffic and sales to businesses through the power of on-site advertising – things like giant advertising flags, tents, sidewalk signs and pennant strings – all things to let customers know you are there. We call it decision point marketing because it’s right there when your target customers are at their purchase decision point – on where to eat lunch, where to buy dog food, where to get their car’s oil changed and where to find a deal on cellphone repair. Our tag line is “We Get You Noticed” … it’s pretty fitting for what we do!

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success as being profitable and not having to lay anyone off in the 25+ years we’ve been in business! Aside from that, I monitor cash flow like a hawk.

I make sure we are continually getting more sales. Making a sale is what is all comes down to at the end of the day.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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