Based in London, Ontario, Nothers Signs and Recognition celebrated 50 years of business recently while moving into a larger facility. Nothers sold its downtown London location and moved to East London, transitioning from 7,500 square feet to 15,000 square feet on two acres. The new location opened on May 11, 2018. The shop, which provides a slew of promotional products for the greater London area, holds recognition at its core.
“We are with people at the best times of their lives,” says owner Jim Nother. “We want to make sure it’s a memorable moment for them.”
People, integrity, quality, and action are four values that Nothers operates by, but that wouldn’t be the case, he says, if it weren’t for Nother’s father, Jim Sr.
Back in 1968, with the help of his wife and kids, Jim Sr. started working on trophies, toys, and engraving out of their basement. It remained in the basement for the first few years before they rented their first retail store in London, Ontario. After a couple of years there, the family bought its first building in 1973. The family lived in the floors above the store, making for a unique childhood that would lead Nother to buy the business from his father in years to come.
Eventually, Nothers expanded into the building next door. It was then that the business started doing screen printing, as well as making ribbons and rosettes, Nother says. “At one point, we were even making jackets. We did that until around 1978.” Later on, that building was knocked down and a 9,000-square-foot, three-story block building was put in its place. Nothers began printing certificates, along with doing laser engraving and sublimation, while expanding into schools, corporations, and sports organizations.
In 1987, Nother officially took over the family business. At the time Nother took the reins from his father, the shop had about six or seven staff members. Now, there are 20 staffers working to keep things running smoothly. Nother says that what has kept the business successful all these years is having a team that understands the value of treating customers right.
“If we don’t have customers, we have nothing,” Nother says. “Our philosophy is look after your team and your team will look after your customers and your business.”
The shop operates by what it calls an “Ownership Thinking Program.” Nother explains, “We give 10% of our profit back to our team and we rate the team based on our values.” Nother divulges the numbers of the profit sharing from each period at quarterly meetings. This motivates them to want to do a better job for the customers, according to Nother. “If they can think like owners and share some of the profit, then they are more engaged in the business.”
Nother also engages the team with its customers by taking them to a variety of administrative and athletic banquets to see where the recognition pieces they worked on are received and to see the excitement people feel when they receive an award. This allows the staff to better understand what their work is and share those stories. To Nother, this is the most rewarding aspect of running the business and likes to deliver completed projects for this reason. “We stay within the Canadian market, within a four-hour drive of our location,” Nother adds.