/>

Self-Taught

09/01/2022 03:34 AM By Lisa Anderson
Feature Story
Dennis Gonzalez
Dennis Gonzalez
Story by Lisa Anderson • Photo by Joshua Jacobs

Self-Taught

A Focus on Customer Relationships & Out–of–the-Box Thinking Leads to Success

Dennis Gonzalez spent his youth moving between New Jersey and Puerto Rico. “My parents had a house in Puerto Rico and a house in Jersey. Every three to four years, they would move to one, and then every three to four years they would move back.”

Dennis would help his father in his machine shop. When Dennis was old enough to work out of the home, he worked for a company in Puerto Rico in their production department. “I noticed that there was a machine shop and immediately asked my supervisor if they were hiring.”

He quickly transferred to the department, and when the company relocated to Ocala in 2000, Dennis decided to make the move with them. He had been dating his wife for five years. They swiftly got married, so they could make the move together.

Shifting Gears

Dennis was with the company for a total of seven years but, eventually, decided to head out on his own. His love of cars steered him towards a used car dealership. “Fast forward three and a half years, I had really grown. That’s when the market took a hit in 2007.”

He shifted gears again and started looking into graphic design. “I was always kind of passionate for graphics, since I was very young. So, I started getting into business cards. I started by knocking on doors.”

Slowly but surely, Dennis built his business called LocoGraphics, Inc. With the help of YouTube tutorials and real-life experience, he taught himself about design. “I love getting involved with customers. Their success was my success. I learned quickly it wasn’t really so much about the money.”

Dennis admits he needs the money, but that first year in business, his wife supported them, because he had only made about $350 for the year. However, he continued to help his customers by making them stand out. He would even offer advice for things he didn’t get paid to do, such as suggesting his customers paint the front of their unit, if they are in a plaza. “I would spend three or fours hours on a business card, and I’d actually drive [over] with a printed proof to the client just to see [their] expression. I love the reaction.”

LocoGraphics has grown over the years, and they now primarily design car wraps and signs in a 10,000-square foot building, but they still have many clients who reorder business cards on a regular basis.
Mockup

Self-Taught

Dennis is primarily a self-taught artist and wrapper. “One day, I fired a guy that was my head wrapper. He was the only wrapper we had and would only do one wrap in two weeks.”

Dennis had a car waiting to be wrapped, and as he began to look at the process and the materials, he quickly understood the method. He had already been working with vinyl through their sign designs. These days, Dennis often teaches his employees and other wrappers, because he has mastered difficult techniques through out-of-the-box thinking.

Supporting the Community

He has the machines, so why not help the community? When a non-profit puts on a fundraising event, it can take a lot of money to create marketing materials. “They always need things, whether it’s yard signs, banners, directional signs, and even t-shirts. They will call us, and we always say, ‘You know what? It’s for a non-profit. We can donate this.’

“About seven years ago, my wife [and me] wanted to give back. We created Operation Hope by L.G.” According to the website, “Operation Hope is a wholly owned subsidiary of LocoGraphics, Inc. It is a not-for-profit organization formed under section 501(c)3 to give back to the community and to those families that are less fortunate and do not have the means to provide their families with Christmas food and gifts.”

Dennis’ positive attitude and generous nature are seen throughout his business and in all he does for the community. “I tell my customers, run your business, and treat your customers like they’re gold. Sometimes, they’re not easy. Sometimes, it is very complex, but nevertheless, we still [need to] keep moving mountains.”
Sidebar

Project Hope by L.G.

“As the holidays approach, it can be easy to forget many of our local families who struggle to make ends meet. Operation Hope works with local sponsors to help provide Christmas support to families in need. Operation Hope gives “the entire Christmas experience” for local families in need during the holiday season. They provide gift cards for parents, Christmas trees, decorations, and gifts for the children. The only qualification to be a participant is that you have to have children; other than that, there are no questions asked.”

Learn More

LocoGraphics

“Our trained team is always eager to be involved with local businesses and establish a long-term relationship as we help them grow their company. For every customer that walks through our door, we ensure 100 percent satisfaction and strive to secure their trust in our Loco Team.

FACT: Our commitment is our success, due to our customers and their word of mouth. We take great pleasure in assisting them and guiding them to perfection.”
Learn More
Read the September 2022 Issue Now
OMCHC
Sponsored Content
Hear Now, LLC
Sponsored Content