Every year, our parent company Holmes Stamp & Sign, plays host to the first graders of Jacksonville Beach Elementary school. We clean up our work spaces, suck in our guts, and comb our hair because we get to be role models for a day. Okay, so we’re not really that bad- but we really do clean up our space and make sure that everything is in its proper place because when over a hundred first graders come bursting through our doors, there’s no telling what could happen!
And while things may get a little chaotic here, for one day a year our focus shifts from profits to fostering interests, giving back to the community, and educating the next generation on what it means to be a successful business manufacturing company. Success doesn’t always come easy, and during the kids visit they learn firsthand everything that goes into what we do here.
The buses began arriving at 9:30 this morning with everyone behind the scenes rushing, and fumbling around making sure everything was ready for the storm about to hit our humble factory. The pens and pencils put in their holders, the staplers in desks, the coffee machine on standby, and the sandblaster out of reach. Our CEO Bryan Croft met them in the parking lot as two hundred greedy, glistening little eyes looked up at him, around him, and took in their surroundings like a bunch of first years arriving to Hogwarts for the first time. Our great doors opened, and they were ushered in to our Great Hall (otherwise referred to as the lobby), where they were able to look around and see what it is we actually create here. Unfortunately there were no house elves, ghosts, or other Hogwartian creatures to greet them, but they were still excited nonetheless.
The kids were each given their own bag to fill with all sort of goodies and split into groups of 6. The various groups were then directed to different stations we had set up throughout the building for them. It was an organized sort of chaos we admit, but it ultimately ensured that we didn’t run short on time, and that there was never a dull moment. One group made their own stamps while another learned to make buttons or their own custom name tags. They even took the time to spruce up our conference room with some original art! Uhm..well..we think that’s what it is. Ultimately the kids ended up with some great free stuff to add to their goody bags!
Our CEO Mr. Bryan Croft, has always found it important help sponsor growth whether it be from within our own offices or in the community. Bryan says “I put everything back to marketing and community support – so [the kids] all walk out of here with some sample products and we feel good about helping our community.” The Holmes Stamp field trips all started about four years ago when Bryan’s daughter was in first grade. A conversation was struck up between the teacher and Bryan and he was asked if the kids could come and tour the facilities at some point during the year. “I thought it would be fun to do! I’m still friends with her, and every year she still calls me to set it up!” he says now looking back.
I caught up with Bryan after the storm had passed and asked him just why he thought that this was so important? He responded with “It shows the kids what a company looks like and they get an understanding of fonts, colors, signs etc…Personally, I also like it for our team as its pretty darn refreshing to have a day where we really don’t care about FLO and getting it to zero (don’t ask) or get sales to grow – it keeps us grounded and we get to answer fun questions like ‘Can I stamp my brother?’”.