Owner/operator Vicki Brown works at her desk in the home office of her business Heave Ho Promos. Current projects include a complete marketing campaign plan for a start-up barbershop business in Richmond. -- Lucy Wallace | Tidewater News
Owner/operator Vicki Brown works at her desk in the home office of her business Heave Ho Promos. Current projects include a complete marketing campaign plan for a start-up barbershop business in Richmond. -- Lucy Wallace | Tidewater News

Archived Story

Business continues to grow

Published 9:36am Wednesday, May 15, 2013

FRANKLIN—The timing for Vicki Brown’s business couldn’t have been better, although at the time it sure didn’t seem that way.

A bulletin board in the shop of Heave Ho Promos shows just a small portion of some of the items clients can get with logos. -- Lucy Wallace | Tidewater News
A bulletin board in the shop of Heave Ho Promos shows just a small portion of some of the items clients can get with logos. — Lucy Wallace | Tidewater News

Started in October of 2008, Heave Ho Promos offers its customers promotional items or “anything that can be printed on.” Brown said they can supply everything from business forms to embroidered apparel.

“We also provide marketing support and logo development for businesses and organizations. Much of our clientele is clubs, organizations and youth development efforts,” she explained.

In looking toward her family’s future in 2008, the owner and operator of Heave Ho Promos started thinking about going back to school to pursue a new career. Her husband, Ken, who assists her on a part-time basis at their home-based business, was employed at International Paper.

“I was making sounds about going back to school to get into a career environment,” Vicki Brown said. “We were thinking Ken would work for 10 more years before retirement. I had actually picked up the literature about this business three years prior and it had been sitting on my desk.”

“We wanted to plan for his retirement and the business was actually his idea,” Brown remembered. “We bought the printing equipment and went to Idaho for a three-day training session on the equipment.”

That was in August 2008 and since she wanted to work from home, with two children still in school, they had renovated their garage to include a shop and an office. So after the training in October, the equipment was delivered and shortly thereafter it was announced that IP was closing.

“It was like jumping off a ledge (starting the business) and as we were falling, they closed the mill,” she said. “It was an extremely big blow, but we had made the investment and the commitment.”

The two worked the business together for one and a half years until Ken was hired on a temporary basis with Highground Services, and then Vicki picked it back up by herself.

Customers have mostly come through word of mouth. Brown said when they started the business, they weren’t aware of anyone else in the area providing printed apparel.

“We did find that other companies provided products, but our intent was not to go nose-to-nose in competition or draw from their clientele. We are very careful about that,” she said.

Heave Ho Promos is a member of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce and has participated in several Business Expos.

“I can’t say enough good things about them — they have been extremely supportive,” Brown said about the chamber, adding that business right now is “fantastic.”

“Our spring and summer clients are back, and it is always encouraging when a client comes back and we have many repeat customers,” she enthused. “The best things to hear are ‘you did something for us last year’ or ‘I got your name from another client.’”

When visiting her shop Monday, Brown was working on campaign development for a business; printing greens flags and a tournament gift for an upcoming golf tournament; a school tee-shirt design and printing; a sports team tee-shirt; a March of Dimes team tee-shirt; and a full marketing development plan for a start-up barbershop business in Richmond.

Heave Ho Promos provided all of the promotional and gift item for the huge 1970-1980 Mega Franklin High School Reunion in 2010. They had cups, shirts, tote bags, magnets and drink huggies. She indicated some of the Mega Reunion committee members had already contacted her about a planned second reunion in 2014.

The company does all of its screen-printing in-house, and for the other items has access to 39,000 suppliers for various products. Brown was working on pens, stadium cups, Post-it notes, tote bags, embroidered polo shirts, key chains restaurant uniforms and a banner for various groups.

The list goes on, with seemingly no end to the variety she offers.

She said the promotional industry is growing and the future for her business looks bright.

“Every day is an amazing learning experience when we realize the magnitude of the industry,” added Brown.

Brown enjoys what she does and is very enthusiastic about what different items she can provide.

“I’m working harder than ever toward our goal of offering exceptional customer service,” she said. “The income potential is encouraging and I’m doing well. I think if I keep my nose to the grindstone, the business will continue to grow.”

The Browns have two children, Livingston, a senior at Southampton High School, and Rachel, a sophomore. The family pets keep Vicky company at her home office. “Cooper (the dog) is my office assistant,” she said laughing.

Brown said her products have always been an important way to advertise, support, differentiate, celebrate, reward and identify — “that is true today as it was a month ago.”

“Promotional products offer the best bang for your buck when it comes to advertising a company’s logo or brand,” she concluded.

To reach Brown, visit her website at www.heavehopromos.com; email her at info@heavehopromos.com; or give her a call at (757) 630-8619.

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