Franchisee uses Speedpro Imaging business model to help local community
Born and raised just east of Toronto, Dean Lawrence is proud to be from the Durham region. The Speedpro Imaging franchisee has owned and operated his Oshawa location since 2012, servicing customers across Canada, the Greater Toronto Area and Durham Region from Pickering to Port Hope.
Lawrence’s role as a small business owner is a far cry from his former career in the corporate world. For 25 years, the entrepreneur spent his mornings and evenings commuting to and from downtown Toronto, and admits his previous job took him away from his hometown more often than he would have liked.
“Until I switched career paths, I spent most of my time in the city,” Lawrence recalls. “In terms of the local businesses and the people operating them, I really didn’t know the area I called home.”
That all changed when he invested in the Speedpro business model. Offering visual marketing solutions that range from product signs and banners to vehicle wraps and digital content, the Canadian franchise is known across the country for its quality service and team of creative and reliable professionals.
The nature of the business means Lawrence spends a large portion of his time working with local entrepreneurs to provide them with their sign and printing needs. Yet, it wasn’t until he decided to use his status as a small business owner to give back locally that Lawrence was able to connect with his community on a deeper level.
Not long after opening his doors, the franchisee was introduced to the Rotary Club of Oshawa. Responsible for hosting the iconic Rib Fest in the city, the Club was looking for new sponsorship for the event in 2012 and Lawrence eagerly volunteered his franchise to provide updated Rib Fest signage.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, this new partnership catapulted Lawrence and Oshawa Speedpro to community heroes. “Today, any time there is a charity event that someone thinks we can contribute our services to, we’re recommended,” he says.
That’s just fine for Lawrence, whose charitable contributions have increased since first getting involved with the Club.
Over the last six years, Lawrence and his team have provided Speedpro services to countless charities across the Durham region. Whether it’s Dear Santa Durham, which supplies families in need with holiday gifts, the Oshawa Auto Fest, Epilepsy Durham, or MADD Durham, Speedpro Oshawa has contributed its time and business resources to supply signage for annual events, dinners, fundraising initiatives, and promotional materials.
“We keep doing it year after year because we understand the importance of giving back,” he says. “It makes all of us here at Speedpro Imaging feel good.”
And that’s not all. Lawrence says his location’s charitable giving has not only developed new networking opportunities with other businesses in the area, but has created mutually-respectful relationships with like-minded entrepreneurs.
“You get to know the businesses that are running these charities on a personal rather than business level when you’re talking about donations and events,” he says. “The networking component of our giving back strategy has helped us learn more about our community and the people who work here, which, as a long-term resident, I am extremely grateful for.”
Looking ahead to the future, Lawrence says he and his team will continue to give back to the charities they currently support doing what they know best, and are eager to add more to their plate.