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Palm Coast Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 2 years ago

STANDING O: U Name It Graphics and Apparel, manufacturing

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In nearly four decades of operation, the Rossheim family business has relocated, rebranded and been rejuvenated.

(Click here for more Standing O Award winners.)

Mike Cavaliere

Contributing Writer

 

The Rossheims are not afraid of change.

The family got its start in the jelly business, making preserves to distribute around the world. That was before opening a Styrofoam plant, transitioning into marine supplies and settling into printing.

“My father is a Type A personality,” Joe Rossheim said.

“Triple-A,” his sister, Shelley, chimed in.

For their parents, Ralph and Joan, being in business wasn’t just about a paycheck — you can get one of those anywhere, their father used to tell them. It was about evolving. So when the kids joined the company full-time, 18 years ago for Shelley and 15 for Joe, they were encouraged to rethink the model.

“I saw how much my parents put into the business,” Joe said. “I wanted to perpetrate that, and I wanted to build on it. … I wanted to show them that all their hard work really was worth it.”

For the company’s first 30 years, its revenue came 100% from customized marine products. Ross Marine Ideas was based in Fort Lauderdale and was “exploding at the seams,” but so was its home city. Competition was rising as quickly as rent prices were, so Joe and Shelley moved operations to Palm Coast, where rent was lower but so was demand.

That’s when they expanded into smaller-scale customizations — clothing, glasses, pens, whatever. They rebranded as U Name It and, today, their revenues are split: 50% marine, 50% everything else.

Next year, the family business turns 40.

“I think a lot of second-generation business owners don’t think they need to work as hard,” Joe said. “The first generation started it from scratch … but the fail rate is high.” 

He and Shelley grew up in this business, though. Two hours a day after school, they would come in to file, print, help out. In a way, they felt like the company was theirs already.

“We’ve seen the ebbs and the flows,” Shelley said. “But neither of us wanted to see it go away.”

So instead, they made it thrive.

Sales have increased every year since the Rossheims relocated to Palm Coast. They added a record four new employees this year, built air-conditioning onto the warehouse and, since 2014, bought a new automatic screen-printing press and multihued embroidery machine to ramp up production.

“My parents made it very possible to get us through the past eight years,” Joe said. “We weren’t afraid to try new things because we had their support.”

Even through the recession, sales grew. But until this year, Joe and Shelley held off on hiring — even though they needed extra help.

This meant tag-teaming certain bigger projects for 24 straight hours to meet deadline. It meant moving the company from Fort Lauderdale to Palm Coast over a three-month period, cramming as much as they could into trucks then transporting on weekends, so that they never had to halt operations.

“Our biggest growth this year is because we’d needed it the past few years,” Joe says. “It’s just there was so much uncertainty in the economy, we couldn’t take this leap of faith. This year, we had to take this leap of faith.”

“In order to leap beyond a certain point, we had to,” Shelley adds.

Today, both siblings are married and have kids of their own — a 6-year-old for Joe and a 10- and 14-year-old for Shelley. The business that sustained their parents’ family is now sustaining theirs.

“I think (our dad) is proud of us and the changes we’ve made to keep the business going,” Joe says. “We would not have made it through the past eight years if we were still in Fort Lauderdale. (Changing) made it possible for our family’s business to succeed.”

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