Growing Fairfield branded apparel business anticipates sizable growth

PromoSpark moving to building more than double current size.

Two decades ago, newly minted Bowling Green college graduate Sarah Johnston thought if her company didn’t take, she and her husband would have to find “real jobs.”

Johnston still hasn’t gotten that “real job,” though her husband did about a decade ago, she said with a laugh. Instead, she’s constructing a 12,000-square-foot building “with room to grow” for her business called PromoSpark, which specializes in branded apparel and customized promotional products.

That will more than double the space her 15 employees currently operate from, a 5,500-square-foot space she used to own. Johnston sold the building, and now leases the space, as she prepares to relocate to 4.58 acres on Osborne Drive sometime between November and January. Her business has been in Fairfield for 15 years.

She predicts over the next three to five years, PromoSpark will double its business, which includes adding more employees. She said her business currently does $4 million to $5 million in annual sales as the local small Fairfield business maintains a national presence.

Johnston chose to stay in Fairfield for the past 15 years because the city government has helped her grow. City Council recently agreed to waive the permit fees as she constructs her building valued at $900,000.

“They’ve worked on other projects for my business; I just feel loyalty to them because they’re just so nice to work with,” said Johnston, adding they’ve helped her negotiate any hurdles and provided professional advice to help her grow.

Fairfield Economic Development Manager Nathaniel Kaelin said though the city is business-friendly to all sizes and types of companies, small businesses like PromoSpark help make Fairfield’s economy stronger.

“If we have a large employer go out, we have a lot of smaller businesses that can carry the ship,” he said. “Over the years, we’ve seen larger businesses come and grow, but the smaller ones seem to have more a local focus, and they recycle their dollars in the community, and they try to hire local.”

When Johnston moves in, she said she’ll “definitely have to hire a couple more people.” And as business revenues increase, she’ll be adding more jobs, many of which will be suited for working moms.

“One of the things I like to take pride in is helping working moms,” she said. “I’m a working mom myself, so it’s very important that I have a flexible schedule, and that’s what we’ve been able to offer our employees.”

The jobs she’ll be looking to fill will be sales, customer services, bookkeeping, and production and fulfillment positions. Some are full-time, some are part-time jobs, she said.

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