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Quality Time
Kids help run small business

     Al Letendre started a small company, Traditional Sign Works, in his Pelham home.

     But the company isn't simply about making banners and turning a profit.

     It allows Al and his wife, Caroline, to spend some extra quality time with their children. And it's providing them with some money to pay their kids' college education.

Pictured above is the family.
From left are Andrew, 9, Al, Zachary, 4, Caroline holding Jessica, 19 months, and Joshua, 10

     "It gets me to work with these guys together," said Al of his three sons who help him.

     Letendre began the company when he discovered it wouldn't cost much more to buy the equipment to letter his go-cart trailer than to pay someone to do the job.

     The company provides banners, truck lettering, signs - including window signs and A-Frame signs - bumper stickers and decals.

     His oldest son, Joshua, 10, likes to help with the design end of the business.  Andrew, 9, and Zachary, 4, are more of the "hands-on guys" who help their father make the products.

     "It took a while for Zachary to focus on it, but when he did, he was excited," Caroline said.

     And Jessica, who is 19 months, will help when she's older.

     Al is a full-time special service technician for Verizon.  Caroline is a fill-time mom.

     The profits the company earns will be saved to pay for their children's college education.

     Al likes that his kids are learning how a business runs - he recently gave them a lesson in how the company turned a profit on a job - and a trade they can use.

     "I think they're going to learn a lot from this, and hopefully they'll stick with this," he said.

     But what he and Caroline also like is that it draws the kids away from the television and video games.  Al talks with his sons about how they spent their day, or anything they want to talk about, while they are making their products in the family garage.

     "It's good quality time," he said.  "Plus, they're working together as brothers."

     Still, because Traditional Sign Works is a business, Al places an emphasis on quality workmanship.  He wants their customers to be happy.

     "I don't want them doing shoddy work," he said.  "To do it right."

     The company has done work for several customers in the Pelham and Lowell areas.  The kids get a kick out of seeing their work on display.

     When the family recently drove by a local store, Exquisite Flowers, which hangs a banner the family created, the boys were excited.

     "I thought it was really cool," Joshua said.

This was an article from the Salem Observer written by Darrell Halen.  Photo taken by Bruce Preston of the Salem Observer.

Traditional Sign Works  Pelham, NH  603-624-7563

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