Promoting local business for 4 decades: Totally Promotional’s growth tale
Early boost from First Financial ensured that both teams could grow together
Back in 1978, Tom Casad didn’t have to be a big-business owner to get the attention of his community’s top banking executive. He and his wife, Paula, operated a water ski equipment business, and the late David Riley, then the CEO of Community First Bank – now First Financial Bank – was their neighbor in rural Ohio. One day, Tom met with David to talk about lending options. The rest just unfolded.
That the Casads still work with First Financial, after 44 years and big business changes, may seem like a minor miracle to some, but not to Tom. First Financial, he said, put into the relationship all that is required for longevity.
“First Financial Bank was always there for us when we were first starting out, and the team has been on our side since,” said Tom, whose current company, Totally Promotional, launched in 1993. “It’s not just First Financial’s wide range of commercial lending services that have kept us with them, it’s the personalized service – and relationships – we have with the commercial, wealth, and preferred banking teams.”
Totally Promotional is a family-owned e-commerce company that makes customized promotional products for businesses, schools, events, trade shows, and more across the country. In total, its 280 employees offer over 8,000 products at its offices and production facility in Coldwater, Ohio.
Since 1993, as the company grew, so have the service offerings at First Financial Bank. Totally Promotional requires high-tech electronic services for fast, secure transactions. It relies on First Financial’s automated clearing house (ACH) system to securely process electronic transactions. Its COO uses a number of virtual corporate credit cards, set up by First Financial, to pay vendors. And the Positive Pay program manages cash flow and working capital. First Financial’s staff personally trained Totally Promotional’s data analyst to use this important fraud-prevention program.
“First Financial has expanded its services to keep pace with the technology we need, which has enabled us to maintain our growth trajectory,” Tom said. “We receive immediate notice of bank transactions to confirm purchases and payments. That degree of reassurance is invaluable to a company growing as we are.”
Such reassurance hinges on reliability, Tom said. For example, Jim Osmon, a First Financial senior commercial relationship manager, helped the company get a line of credit approved for emergency use, and Tom consults personally with Michael Swigert, a wealth advisor at First Financial’s Yellow Cardinal Advisory Group.
And now Tom and Paula are working with Karina Horton, Yellow Cardinal’s director of business succession planning, on a tailored strategy to transition Totally Promotional to the next generation – when the time comes.
First Financial expanded its services in step with Totally Promotional’s changing needs through the decades, Tom said, but the personalized service they’ve received since day one has been consistent. “They helped us get started, grow, and manage every financial aspect of our business,” he said.
“We really feel like they’re a partner. First Financial is big enough to provide all the services we need, while treating us with the same kind of familiarity you’d expect from a community bank.”
This degree of service and care in turn enables Totally Promotional to provide the best experience for its customers. In a community where its workers coach Little League and volunteer at churches alongside its customers, Totally Promotional’s success depends on the same level of trust First Financial has afforded it.
“We’ve stayed with First Financial for 44 years because we have no reason to go anywhere else,” he said.
Learn more about Yellow Cardinal Advisory Group.