FASTSIGNS Orlando Central: Renee Friedman named OBJ 2017 Business Woman of the Year

Friday, May 12, 2017

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After the recession slowed most businesses down considerably, Renee Friedman's team of 14 at FastSigns Orlando Central, under her leadership, hunkered down to make 2016 the company's best year since she bought the retail chain franchise in 2001. "The recession almost shut us down as we lost so many customers in the real estate and construction industries.

Year after year sales declined despite all our efforts," she said. "We kept pushing forward and finally, about four years ago, we started to grow again until last year, we had our best year ever, over $1.7 M and No. 38 in the country!" This dedication earned her the Orlando Business Journal's 2017 Business Woman of the Year title.Friedman started her career with the franchise back in 1987 in Dallas, Texas, as the first official customer service rep at the fourth FastSigns. She worked up to sales manager and then manager before buying her first store in Atlanta, Ga., in 1993. She credits the success of FastSigns Orlando Central to perseverance, a great team, customers and community support.

OBJ sited Friedman's initiatives in investing in new equipment that helped increase the firm's productivity and quality, which led to a 20 percent increase in sales volume last year when compared with 2015, putting it in the top 6 percent of Fastsigns' 640 centers worldwide. She also helped get employees involved in boosting sales through implementing a monthly bonus, including taking her team and their guests on an all-expense-paid cruise to the Bahamas for four days in March.

"I am just overjoyed!" Friedman told the Heritage about the recognition.To add to her joy, just the week before this announcement, Friedman was chosen as the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando's Mensch of the Month."Renee's genuine enthusiasm and positive outlook not only make her a pleasure to work with, but also serve to inspire others to get involved with causes that are important to our community," wrote Federation Executive Director Olga Yorish in the weekly Ma Nishma enewsletter. "Renee is a person who lives her values and inspires the rest of us to do the same."In addition to manning a successful business that provides custom signs, banners, displays and other graphics, Friedman holds two food drives per year for the Jewish Family Services Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry. After the Pulse shooting, she organized the company to make and hand out more than 5,000 free "Orlando Strong" car decals, as well as selling Orlando Strong banners and T-shirts at discounted prices to show support. Despite the recognition as Business Woman of the Year, Friedman says her most life-changing experience was the Jewish Women's Renaissance Project trip to Israel for two weeks in December 2016 with 23 other moms from the Orlando community.

FastSigns Orlando Central is located at 5000 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando 32803.

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