Yard signs reading "Happy birthday" and "Congratulations" in big bubble letters — adorned with stars, flowers, soccer balls and more — were a staple of the pandemic as families shifted to drive-thru birthdays and graduation celebrations.
And unlike many businesses that grinded to a halt when the coronavirus first arrived, Austin-based service Card My Yard persisted through the pandemic.
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Driving the news: The company, co-founded by Jessica Stanley and Amy Arnold in 2014, was named one of the fastest growing businesses in the Austin area this year. Its franchising model has grown to more than 460 locations in 45 states, and it's expecting to add 120 more locations this year.
While they juggled birthdays, anniversaries and graduations, Stanley and Arnold also helped create signs for hospitals wanting to honor health care workers as they battled COVID-19.
"During the pandemic, there were quantities of orders that our locations could not keep up with, and you don't want to say no," Arnold said. "It was the one thing people could do to celebrate."
They've noticed an uptick in smaller operations popping up in the area this year, but "competition is a good thing. It makes you go out and do your very best work," Stanley said.
How it works: Card My Yard offers a central online ordering system for customers near any franchise location. The site allows customers to choose their own fonts and graphics. Then, employees head out to homes for setup and tear down.
How they started: Stanley and Arnold began Card My Yard with a sign in front of a neighbor's home spelling "Boo," in an effort to create a Halloween game in their neighborhood.
From there, the business grew beyond their neighborhood and into Austin.
The pair realized they couldn't maintain their growth alone:
"We just knew that in order for us to be successful and for us to scale our business, we could not own all of these locations," Stanley said, adding that in 2017 the company became a registered franchise.
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