Garrett Crenshaw is a hustler.
A gritty gentleman of the south, Garrett was born with entrepreneurial spirit in his blood and has been bringing an edge to Out of Home with his unique approach to creating premium, branded content to promote his Carolina border operation, Crenshaw Visions.
Like most of us, Garrett is an outsider to Out of Home but has proven his chops from building the upstart enterprise in between classes at Clemson to now running the media company exact as it is - as a media company.
Learn more about Crenshaw visions at...
And be sure to connect with Garrett on LinkedIn at...
Looking for your next job in OOH? Start here: www.oohired.com
Welcome everybody to the out-of-home insider show, a podcast like no other hosted by the one and only Tim Rowe.
You ready to have some knowledge dropped on. You went to be entertained because nothing is more valuable than food for your brain. So sit back, relax. We're about to dive in as the best industry podcast is the bathroom.
I so, so totally well. So speaking of life in the real world, that's like your business, how how'd you get into this, uh, this crazy game called out of home? Oh, he said it's a very, very, very interesting story, but I'll take you back. So basically it started when I was probably a Robin before I turned 17, 16 or 17 and, um, I grew up in a family business atmosphere.
My dad ran a convenience stores for you just retire to your 2018 for 38 years. So, um, it was getting, getting going, and he decided to put, you know, marquee signs on the, um, on the convenience store. So five by eight little on premise. Got it. Digital signs that would just, you know, coat 99 cent, get people, get people into the stores and you know, a lot of gas stations.
They make their sales and their profit inside of stores, not, not by selling gasoline or, or, or to that effect. So, um, he was trying to find a return on investment. And obviously, so when I was 16 or 17, right when I started driving. He said, he said, I want you to try it never been in sales or he's mainly just been in retail.
Right. I want you to try to sell advertisements off these, off the signs. So I'm thinking, I'm like, okay, I got a summer job. Okay. I'm almost going to drive. He hired me for, I was, I was $8 an hour and I was making 10% and it was, it was like you're 16, 17. Had you rarely ever sold anything before? I mean, I was always a.
I would say a young entrepreneur I'm, wouldn't say I was lemonade stand and all that, but I would always save my money and I understood the value of money. So I understood what the opportunity presented itself. And I understood that, you know, I'm here to help. I was, at that time, I was just trying to help the family business for sure.
When I started, when I started being ingrained in it. And in saying that what I realize I was building a salesmanship and inside of me during this time. So. It was my summer job and every kid has a summer job. So this was mine and I was just hustling. And I was honestly just building my relationships around.
Sounded obviously it's helped me now for a mat, but, you know, I did that for, I did that for probably three summers in a row. And, um, and it was, it was, it was, it was very interesting. And, and I come back with a number. And, uh, he looks at the numbers and he was kind of shocked and he was like, he didn't understand, you know, I did pretty well on, well on the advertisements for us, for 17, give us something.
Uh, I sold, it was sold about $30,000. Come on. Listen. There's people that sit into this show that they could sell 30,000. I'm just kidding. It was, it was, it was about 30,000. I did it and I got it too. And I got it to a point where I got, you know, two closer to the $40,000 range. And I was like, I need to, I'm going to make an LLC out of this and I'm going to start my own LLC.
And at the time my dad had some, uh, he, he had some interstate property, right. And, uh, or his truck stops. He had two strokes offs and three regular convenience stores. And at the time I, uh, we were like, well, maybe we should put a bigger sign on the interstate. So what I did, what he did was his, so he had, he had.
Some inner signage on there where you just that land rights, right? He, well, he had, he just had the land that was in between two of his, two of his Truckstop. Right. Got it. Got it. So no billboards yet. There were no words yet. We were still small into like the marquee signs just to get that return on investment and a.
I did well on this. I've kind of built a, build a pattern of what I do it. I know how to go in there and sell and this, that, and the third and I'm, and I'm mind you. This was, this was rap rock. When I was in college, I was, that was doing this as a summer job. So I was, I was still in school with, during this.
I was dead at 30,000 within the, within the summer while. Okay. So I mean, those are, those are real now. And who were you primarily selling to? Like just other small business. We kind of set up a model that I still model it off of today of, of the every minute rotation, you know, most at the time. I didn't know that that was the, I didn't know what industry I was in because I was so young.
But then as I've learned over the years, we can set up this model of an every minute rotation and every other minute rotation. And that's how. The crux of my business and how I sold it to smaller businesses. So it would be, you know, um, one of my first clients was a credit union, which has been very, very supportive of me throughout my transition of innovation of, of, out of home.
But it would be, you know, anywhere from, you know, a carpet place to a heating and air place, to an insurance place, just to, you know, a small, you know, how a small town. Mainly, you know, regular, regular, small businesses is, is what I really tailored it to. And, um, I would just try to sell longevity of, of the contracts so that when I was in school, I didn't have to revisit.
I would just revisit them, you know, every, every three or four months. And so it was, it was, it was, it was a cool, I didn't realize what I was going through at the, at the time of, uh, what I was doing, but then as I get to college and I start learning a little more and uh, I go to Spartanburg Methodist for my, uh, freshman year.
And by the time I'm getting closer to going to Clemson my first year. Uh, that's when the, the interstate billboard thing came about. And, um, and we, we decided to go visit. So manufacturers, we visited Watchfire and we visited that tronics over in South Dakota in Indiana. So this was my sophomore year of college.
We're flying out to South Dakota and in, in, uh, Indianapolis for wildfire and deck tronics. And I remember this is, this is very reminiscing. You have the napkins that you get on a, uh, on the airplane. And, and I said, I looked at my dad and I wrote down a number. I said, here, this is, I said, this is what I will, at least at least it from me.
I'm 18, 19 years old. I need it. I have the opportunity. Right. I had the opportunity. I was like, I have to, I have to. I have to present something I had, this is, this is my first deal. So to speak, to, you know, gain some leverage. So, so your, your, your plan at this point was, dad's kind of leading the charge on like the cap X side, but you're going to lease it from him and then you're going to go sell this.
Got it. Understood. I understand. Not everybody has the opportunity to have interstate frontage road. That was, that was, but we didn't at the time we didn't realize that. Okay, Hey, uh, we have these sales, we let's, let's try to, let's try to leverage it and make it and make it a little bit bigger. So he, he, uh, we, he, we ended up going with that tronics.
We feel that it was, it was a great, uh, Board great quality. What fire was good. We just, at the time, we just felt like the people at that time has connected with us better and, um, just presented a better, a better deal. And I wrote the number down. So then when I got home, when I got back, we went with Tektronix.
We started on the construction while I was still in my sophomore year at Clemson. And, um, once I got, once it started going, as soon as in the ground, I was, I was, that was, that was history there. So, um, Mainly, uh, still in school, still in Clemson, trying to, you know, it's a little bit different than a summer, you know, when you're in summer, when you're in college, you can go and you have more time than what you do at sure.
But you're running a business at this you're learning, you're learning more outside the classroom than you are inside the classroom at this point first day at that point, at that point, for sure. You know, as, as my, as my education went longer and Clemson, I learned a little bit more. About about the business and it's cause I majored in business management and entrepreneurship.
Uh, but that, that kind of led me into entrepreneurship was, you know, starting the business and I emphasize it in college. So yeah, for sure. I was learning more and I've been learning since I was stocking stocking, making ice bags from my dad's convenience store and stocking coolers. I learned about business from a young age and just understood what work ethic meant and, um, You know, and a job we're doing is we're going right.
So when you have an opportunity, you have to, you have to capitalize on the opportunity of the lifetime. Cause some of that opportunity might not be, it might be a year, it might be 10 years, or it might be three months. You don't, you don't know. And, uh, so I learned that in a very young age. And so when we were, when I was in Clinton, I was trying to understand, trying to figure out how, how I'm gonna do both.
You know, I was trying to understand how I'm gonna do both. And basically I just try to do sales calls, just calling cold, calling on the phone and to that and get some. Working to get into the agencies. That's what I learned in the first year and first year and a half is the agencies or the power of, of trying to, uh, get the longevity contract.
Right. And, um, and then I would come back for the summer and then it was hitting the ground running on that. And that's basically the crux of the story of how I got started in, in, in, out of home of, from, from the marquee to. To, to an interstate board. It's a pretty natural progression, right? Yeah. So I was going to say so now, like you're not just selling signs of gas stations in one billboard on the side of the road, you talked about learning the business of entre entrepreneurship, which is more than just selling 1, 1, 1 asset.
Right. It's selling things together as a product or service for folks that maybe don't know you like. Describe what it is that you're packing, because one, your content game is tight, which I want to talk about, but I'd love to learn more about what it is that cause you're in a pretty unique market. Like you're, you're, you're, you're kind of Charlotte, but you're not quite Charlotte.
You're in South Carolina, but you've got premium premium stuff. Maybe just give the audience some scope of, of what it is that you have. Yes. Right now, as far as the gas station signs now, w w we do not do them any more, but we did. Being innovative and realizing that, you know, we had to figure out a pivot, a pivot area.
And I decided I had this idea of going into prolonged in the, uh, going into the education. When I was a sophomore, my junior, my last semester, junior year at Clemson, I had a, a resource allocation class about, you know, it was basically, it was an entrepreneurship class of creating a business and coming up with how will you allocate the resources and what will it take to last that business?
And I had this idea. I've seen it in Vegas and I've seen, I've seen it in other places, but I never, I didn't see it where we were at in the Carolinas. There is a growing market and it was a mobile, digital billboard. And at the time I didn't realize that I was going to manufacture it or get it manufactured and have the actual truck.
I was just trying to take the mobile, um, The, uh, delivery services like Uber or ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft or Postmates or things like that. And somehow connect that to out-of-home. And I knew that was a big thing. I was like, if I can connect these two, I could, I could, I could figure out we can, we can make a very unique product.
And, uh, and we're still working on that. But I decided in that year, uh, this is what I was going to do. So I started game planning, game planning, and it was about an 18 month process where. And it happened right. When I graduated the pandemic hit, I got back, got back to my, uh, summer home in, um, hang on, hang on, hang it because I think this is important.
How old are you? I just turned 24. All right. Hot damn man. I think that's when you just said I graduated then the pandemic, like, so this is all, this is everything that we're looking at here is the last. Six to seven years or total, total, but like what's your standing up is right the last one. And you picked a hell, you picked a hell of a time to do it.
What what's, what's something that what's something that 2020 taught you that you never could have planned for? Um, perspective is probably the biggest word that I've. And I've put, I said that on my podcast as well, or just launched a podcast perspective for me. Was probably, uh, the biggest word, just because of not only in business of perspective, of not getting too comfortable or where you're at, and then just because you have something going now, doesn't mean it's always going to be there and perspective of what is going on in the world.
And, you know, at a young age, you need to have more perspective because that can, that can, uh, Alter your way of dealing with things. It makes it, yeah, especially in the world we live in now because there's stuff there. So things are so black and white and binary. I think it needs some time. If it's younger or older people that need to voice their opinion about perspective that, you know, everything is not black and white in this world.
It can be, there can be a little gray area that, that keeps us moving forward and, uh, and, and being United. And, and we see that very, very adamant right now. And, um, I think perspective and, and also perspective of, and this is a personal subject. My mom was diagnosed with cancer in August during the pandemic as well.
So that's perspective of life. It was a very, you know, everybody got hit hard with 2020, but it's just about the way you deal with it and, and move forward and, and, and innovate and, and, and your mind innovate your business and, uh, and, and keep moving forward. That was a big thing for Clemson. I don't remember it when I used to work out.
You know, you remember things as you look back at your college career. They had moved, moved forward was one of their big thing. And that's always the thing you have to do, especially in business world is you got to move forward in the right. Keep a good mindset because everything is not, everything is not as it seems.
And you just need to be positive and have a good perspective of life. Amen. Well, our thoughts are certainly with you and with your family, uh, as, as y'all work through that, talk to me for a second. As we, as we pull into the station here about the content play, like, you know, there's, there's, there's some folks doing content, but like you do it really well.
And at a high level, where do you see the value as, as an outdoor. Right. Where do you see the value for yourself in the content play? You've got the podcast. You guys just do super killer stuff in terms of showcasing your inventory and client work, like how important is content to your strategy at Crenshaw?
I think, I think it's the crux of it. Uh, Sam, I think content is the only way to sell. It's the only way to right now, I guess if we want to talk about just the pandemic years, uh, It's the only way to get it out there. You know, you have to have consistent content and being in, in distinguishing between quantity and quality.
Uh, my thing is sometimes. Sometimes I get caught up in the quality of it and trying to make it perfect. But the thing is, I think the game now is just being consistent and, and routine with the content and, you know, your niche and, and, and to keep being consistent with the content and that's across all platforms.
And there's things that set up now that you can, you know, When you post a one, it can post to all, not necessarily I would do that for every piece of content. Cause I don't, I think some things are like, LinkedIn is that I need to work on is more written. Like I feel like you do a great, great written written piece on LinkedIn.
Some things on Instagram, maybe not be, it's not as written and audio for podcasts. It's just about being tailored to what, and it's a learning experience. I'm not a bit. And I have my sister here that does a lot of my creatives for, uh, the, the size of the, for the billboard signs and, and some things. But as far as.
Creating the content I'm, I'm, I'm basically posting it. I'm creating it and posting and all across. So, uh, she, she, she helps us out within the house. She has her own freelance and we've, you know, helps me a lot. But as far as the, as a content play, I think that's where I've seen. At home is going to, they have started to produce more content based on their showing their inventory.
You know, I think if I just doing his, looking back in history, I think out of home was kind of in a, in a one, one way street of, of they, they didn't, they didn't produce much content, obviously social media changed the game. Right. Right. But. There wasn't much drawn photography or active, active. It was more of data.
It was more of, we had this many travelers. Right, right, right, right. Yeah. Like this many people drove past it. We're working. Where can folks go? Just cause I'm coming up against it here at the top of the hour. And I want to make sure that that folks can find you because, and we'll link out to the content to where, where can people connect with you?
Where are you most active? Where can people see more of the great content and what you're doing now? Right. Uh, you know, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn are probably my core core. Core platforms. Obviously we have a YouTube that we're trying to push a little more, push a little more with our podcasts. Um, but yeah, at Crenshaw visions, uh, visions was just, that goes back just, it was just the vision of me to try to figure out, you know, this is what I wanted to do.
And, and, and I just, it was the crux of what I wanted to do. And it's, it plays on a at-home to rise the V you know, visuals visual. So at Crenshaw visions and, uh, it's email@example.com for any, any of our inventory, we have a 77 interstate digital billboard that's in between, um, Columbia and Charlotte.
It's actually the only digital billboard that is in between, uh, that is in between Charlotte and Columbia from Carolyn's down to Columbia. So I support. It's a very, it's a very, a selling point for me that it's it's and it's 14 by 48. So it was one of the largest two. So, uh, and then we have our mobile digital billboard that is covering the south corridor Charlotte and into, into the South Carolina region of Fort mill rock hill.
Uh, Lancaster in that, in that area. So yeah, it's, it's been, it's been interesting and I'm just, we're just innovating and trying to move forward and, and whatever comes next comes next. Awesome. Well, speaking of what comes next, I want to get back with you. We got to connect after this and offline. I'd love to do a showcase just on the mobile led truck games.
So you down for that. Oh, I'm down. I'm down. Definitely. That's variant. It's innovative in our field. So I'm, I'm definitely down for that. All right. Cool. Well, Hey, if you found this to be helpful, please share it with somebody who could be, who could benefit as always make sure to smash the subscribe button down below in the corner.