SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Most marketing executives spend their careers building up a resume worthy of working for global brands such as Sony and Camel. Scarsdale’s Michael Lang is going in the opposite direction.
Born in Germany before moving to Scarsdale 12 years ago, Lang, 49, has been a global marketing executive for more than two decades, travelling around the world and sharing his expertise with some of the world’s largest companies.
Despite his lofty status and lucrative position, Lang has opted to retire, and will instead open up the state’s second Signarama franchise on North Central Avenue in Hartsdale.
Signarama will celebrate it’s soft opening on Monday, with a grand opening planned approximately eight weeks later. Lang said his wife and two children were all the motivation he needed to give up his lofty job and shift careers.
“I did the corporate world for more than 20 years, and it’s tough. There’s a lot of travel, and very little time with your family, so I thought I could use a break,” he said. “I wasn’t ready to retire, and I still have to provide for my family.”
Lang believes that his lengthy career in marketing communications will help dull the learning curve he faces as a new franchiser. According to him, at the end of the day, signs are just another form of marketing for small and mid-sized businesses.
Before settling on Signarama, Lang looked at everything from dog grooming and hair dressing franchises to a massage parlor.
“I’m no sign expert or graphic design expert, but I understand marketing communications design and that’s what we’re offering to our customers,” he said. “I learned very quickly that not all franchises are built the same.”
During his global marketing career, Lang has held a variety of positions with various responsibilities. Now that he’s the boss, he said that experience is something that will set him apart from other first time franchise owners.
“I’ve held a few positions with fairly heavy responsibilities. I’ve worn many hats, which is important for a small business,” he said. “I can’t just be a marketing expert. Now I have to be a finance expert, and the head of human resources and the head of production. The fact that I’ve run departments and divisions really helps me understand that.”
While it is still fairly new to the people of Westchester, Signarama is soon going to be a fixture in New Yor, with 50 new stores set to open within five years. The locations will feature everything from signs and banners to lettering, vehicle decals and even custom wallpaper.
“You walk through the streets, and the mall, and there are so many signs. They are hanging from the ceiling and applied to windows and walls and doors,” Lang added. “They are everywhere, and at the end of the day, I want to be the one to supply them.”