Propelled Brands: a New Corporate Umbrella

Franchisor FASTSIGNS International Inc. and its recently acquired NerdsToGo business, an IT services franchise, will now operate under the corporate umbrella name Propelled Brands. 

In announcing the new branding on March 30, Catherine Monson, CEO of Propelled Brands, said the corporation “will operate and grow a portfolio of service-oriented franchise brands.” Monson, who is serving in her second year of chairing the International Franchise Association (IFA) and also has served on the IFA’s board of directors since 2008, sees opportunities for more acquisitions. “In addition to the continued growth for our existing franchisees and our team members, Propelled Brands marks a key milestone for us as we lay the foundation to expand our portfolio of brands.” 

Jennifer Herskind, chief marketing officer for Propelled Brands, said the new corporate branding umbrella “offers a clear vision and supportive business model for each franchise brand to equip franchises on a path of success.” 

A history of global franchise leadership

Franchising since 1986, FASTSIGNS is a highly-regarded leader in sign and visual communications. It has more than 750 independently owned and operated centers internationally, including the United States, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Grand Cayman, United Arab Emirates, Dominican Republic, Malta, France and Australia. With special incentives for veterans and first responders, many FASTSIGNS franchisees have served in the U.S. military and/or have backgrounds as paramedics, firefighters and police officers.

Throughout the COVID pandemic, FASTSIGNS was hailed for its swift response and positive leadership. Throughout the crisis, the company helped franchisees gain essential status and keep their doors open, providing signage to other essential businesses. Sarosh Nayar, a Northeast Dallas FASTSIGNS franchisee, praised the company’s support during the crisis. “This story could have had a much different ending if it weren’t for the strong leadership,” he said. His store was one of the many FASTSIGNS locations that created pandemic-related products, including maximum occupancy signs, germ prevention flyers, social distance floor decals and other products that would help fight COVID-19 like face shields and sneeze guards.

The acquisition of NerdsToGo

In October 2020, FASTSIGNS Holdings Inc. acquired CTN Capital Group LLC, the parent company of NerdsToGo, which had been franchising for three years at that time. 

Founded in 2003, NerdsToGo is an emerging IT services brand that in essence becomes the tech support department for small and medium-size businesses and residential customers. It provides a full slate of computer and communications assistance, helping with devices such as desktop and laptop computers, iPhones and iPads, WiFi networks, printers, and more. It also offers data backup, security, cloud services, routine maintenance and more. 

NerdsToGo provides services in three ways: 1) A Nerd goes to the client’s site in a branded, eye-catching Nerd van. 2) A Nerd helps customers through remote support. 3) Customers visit a NerdsToGo service center.

The future of Propelled Brands

Propelled Brands plans to partner with additional service-oriented franchise concepts in the future, Monson said in announcing the new brand umbrella. As stated on the Propelled Brands website, the company’s philosophy is to provide a “supportive business model to put franchise owners on a path to success.” 

The executive team of Propelled Brands includes accomplished members of FASTSIGNS management team, including Monson as CEO, Ron Herbert, serving as CFO, and Mark Jameson as Chief Support & Development Officer.

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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