- Company: Grey Outdoor
- Headquarters: Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
- Markets: North Carolina, South Carolina
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 910-620-5168
Grey Vick is a friend of and regular contributor to Billboard Insider. We thought it would be nice to sit down with Grey and have him share about his business Grey Outdoor.
Grey, how did you get into the billboard business?
It was 2007 and I was buying and selling properties when I met a neighbor on Wrightsville Beach who knew about the sign business from his dad. With his sign knowledge and my business knowledge it was a good pairing to start a sign company together. However, it wasn’t a convenient time to start a billboard company at the start of the recession. I had some money from selling some of the properties and land I had acquired, but basically we ended up running out of money getting the company started. I was able to renegotiate the loans to interest only and we started building signs out of used wood poles from power companies. I remember some of the guys at the big companies saying there was no way we would make it. However we successfully ran Waterway Outdoor until the company was split up in 2016. I got about 40 or so structures out of the old company and started building up Grey Outdoor.
Can you give us the details on numbers and types of structures and the areas where you currently operate?
We own about 220 structures and manage about 15 more. We have all types of structures from wood poles, Ibeams, monopoles, and digitals. Most are on major thoroughfares and some are on secondary roads. Half of the signs are in North Carolina and the other half in South Carolina.
You have had a lot of success in finding locations. What would you identify as the keys to your success?
First thing is to just believe you can do it. We have gotten some of our best locations by thinking outside of the box. I like to build where it sometimes isn’t currently allowed and that takes a lot of determination and persistence to make that happen. Understanding the laws and our rights and reading ordinances carefully are some of the keys to doing this. I also believe having a positive attitude, being friendly, and being honest contribute to success in finding and permitting new locations. When applying, having all of the appropriate information (site plans and site specific engineering plans) that is necessary for approval is one of the most important steps. We prefer to own the land or easements where the signs are located. We just recently purchased a property with a billboard on the lot then turned around and listed the property and had a contract to sell the next day for a higher price than we paid for the sign and the land. Hard to beat getting paid to own a sign and easement. Those deals are hard to come by.
You have also done a number of tuck in acquisitions, even recently in a tougher economy. Are you still actively looking for opportunities?
Yes of course, we are always looking for opportunities. I built my first sign in 2008 so I’m not nervous about investing when times are hard. We are very conservative with our purchases and have kept our debt/income ratio very low to allow us to aggressively build and purchase new assets even during the times we are having now. In a purchase, we typically are looking for more problem assets that take a little extra work to figure out and not necessarily the pretty ones that require a high multiple to purchase. Currently we have several deals under contract to close in the next couple months, and many more digital conversions and new builds coming up.
I hear your latest greatest challenge is fatherhood?
Yes it has been so much fun learning how to be a good dad. Our son Mason will be 2 in June and we just found out yesterday that we will be welcoming a little girl to our family in October of this year. The virus has given all of us a much needed slow down and I’ve had so much time to spend with my little boy at this most precious age, and I am so grateful for that.
One thing that fatherhood and the sign business have in common is that there is always something new to learn!
FYI We are looking to hire an experienced salesperson that can help us and our customers grow. Contact us if you are interested in joining our team. Grey@greyoutdoor.com
Full Article at https://billboardinsider.com/company-of-the-day-grey-outdoor/
learn more about us at www.greyoutdoor.com/locations