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From strings to signs
Franchise owner uses creativity, commitment
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Forsyth County News
Whether working in commercial banking or playing bass with country band Sugarland, creativity has always been at the core of Bart Dorough's work.
As the new owner of the Cumming FASTSIGNS franchise, Dorough gets to balance his creativity with his financial background.
"I had some friends who worked in the industry and thought it was a great opportunity for me," he said.
"I had been following this industry and type of business for a while. I've done my homework and I'm just really excited to have the opportunity to open one here in Cumming."
It has been about three weeks since Dorough opened his business just off Ga. 400 on Buford Highway, and while he's still working to build up his customer base, the central location has also put his business in a visible location.
"It has such a great vibe here," he said. "With the growth in Cumming and Forsyth County over the years, to me, it couldn't have been a better place to put a location. And I'm very excited to be working very close to where I live. That's important to me."
Dorough's customer and friend Chris Graber of RE/MAX Professionals used to travel to Norcross for his business signs.
Graber said the Cumming location is much more convenient. "Plus I knew the service would be great."
"He's a real professional person and puts a lot of himself into his work," he said. "It's nice to have somebody who cares about what he's doing and wants to make sure that what he puts out is going to satisfy his customers."
Dorough is a hands-on owner. While he does go out and market his business, he also creates his products and handles day-to-day operations.
The store specializes in all interior and exterior signage, from one banner to 1,000 banners, to outfitting an entire office building.
The 9-to-5 business life is a far cry from where Dorough could have been if he decided not to leave Sugarland.
He played bass for the band for about six months, and said he decided to leave shortly before they released their first major album, "Twice the Speed of Life" in 2004.
Sugarland, an Atlanta-based duo comprised of Georgia native Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, has since become one of country music's most popular acts.
Given the option again, Dorough said he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I've been friends with them, and I'm definitely excited to see all the success that they've had. I think it's great and it couldn't have happened to a better group," he said. "I really had been on the road a lot and enjoyed being home more."
"I still have other opportunities to go out and play, so I still do it and still fill in for other bands, but I enjoy being closer to home."
Dorough currently plays with the Bird Dogs, a trio of professionals who have performed with various country and bluegrass bands. He also fills in for various bands during gigs, which allows him to continue his music career without having to leave his Gwinnett home, his wife of 10 years, Lyn, or his business.
"It's hard to balance everything, but FASTSIGNS is definitely my No. 1 priority right now," he said. "You have to put everything into perspective and prioritize and right now, starting this business is my priority."