David Gray on the Street Furniture Business
Creative Outdoor operates a plant of 10,000 pieces of street furniture and bus benches around the US and Canada. David Gray is the firm’s President. Insider talked with Gray about the street furniture business.
David, how did you get into the out of home business?
I was fresh out of University and had always been interested in going into business for myself. My early jobs had for the most part been with small businesses, so I had some exposure to the challenges that many small businesses face. And certainly, the most obvious of those challenges, was cost efficient marketing.
I believe that signage is a critical part of a SMBs efforts to communicate with potential customers. But good well-placed signage was very difficult come by. There were various forms of street furniture in most cities across North America. Of course, 30 years ago, the furniture wasn’t very attractive, and the programs weren’t run very well, so I thought there was a huge opportunity to combine the need for good signage with the opportunity to dramatically improve public street furniture. And that became COA’s mission statement. 34 years later we work with over 250 different towns and cities and have over 12,000 pieces of street furniture offering signage to small local businesses.
Tell us about your business.
We offer effective signage on a variety of different pieces of street furniture such as benches and recycling containers etc.
What’s the useful life of a bus bench?
We design and manufacture all of our street furniture with 2 objectives; they have to be efficient and inexpensive to maintain, and they must be durable so that they are aesthetically and structurally appropriate throughout the entire term of the contract with the City. Our products are so well designed, built and maintained, that many have served more than 20 years…
What’s the Canadian street furniture market like?
The street furniture advertising market across North America is very, very competitive. To compete a firm must be very good at what they do including: municipal service, unit maintenance, and trash and recycling collection. All of this is in addition to serving the advertising client very well. Digital advertising has certainly had an impact on our marketplace and advertising clients are faced with a lot of interesting choices today. I think one of the very significant advantages that COA has, is our understanding of where our product fits in our clients marketing mix. I think this is best reflected in our 10% a year growth.
Today, we are well respected in the industry and we work hard to keep our programs working well for all the involved parties.
Source : www.billboardinsider.com