Yakir Gabay Reviews: Impressions by Bird named Fort Morgan’s June Business of

Impressions by Bird named Fort Morgan’s June Business of

Impressions by Bird was named as Fort Morgan’s June Business of the month for their valuable contributions to the community, top-notch customer service, growth and active involvement in area organizations and programs.

Sandy Schneider-Engle presented the award to owners Frances and Kris Bird at the Fort Morgan City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 1.

“It is ironic that the mother and daughter team of Frances Bird and Kris Bird, owners and operators of the business, has been printing up a storm since they opened the business thirty years ago in June of 1991,” said Schneider-Engle. “And tonight, we get to honor them on their thirty-year anniversary.”

Frances started the local print shop in her garage and enjoyed the challenge of starting a new business.

“I love to print,” she said. “I love the equipment. I saw the need and thought we needed a print shop with a female touch in Fort Morgan.”

Frances taught herself to run all the equipment in the print shop and eventually ran the Fort Morgan County School District RE-3’s print shop for a number of years.

Her daughter, Kris, graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in journalism and advertising/public relations. She came home to Fort Morgan after graduation and used her training to help her mom start the print shop.

“It was kind of a good ole boys society back then,” said Kris. “There were three male-run print shops in town.”

That did not deter the Birds and within a few short months of opening their business out of Frances’ garage, they moved to a small location in downtown Fort Morgan on Ensign Street. Throughout their thirty years, Impressions by Bird has moved between four different buildings all within the downtown Fort Morgan area.

Eventually, the Bird’s decided to expand their strictly printing service business to include retail supplies, such as scrapbooking and rubber-stamping supplies.

If you ask Frances what her favorite retail item is, she will quickly tell you it is the paper, which can be found neatly lined up in dozens of colors as soon as people walk through the door.

“I’m a paper person and I just love the variety of the paper that we have and the things you can do with it,” said Frances.

They have continued to grow this retail segment since moving into their current location at 117 West Kiowa Avenue in Fort Morgan. They now offer more craft items, such as stickers, adhesives, inks, embellishments, die cutting machines, photo albums, pens, markers and much more, in addition to continuing to offer a wide-array of printing services such as copying, cutting, binding, stapling, drilling, collating, scoring, folding and numbering.

Frances and Kris are both clear that they would not be in business this long if it weren’t for the community and the people.

“It’s all about the people and the relationships you build,” Frances said. “We have met some really interesting people we may not have gotten to meet over the years.”

“We still have some of our original customers that we still do printing for,” Kris said. “If they succeed then we succeed. We would rather have a lot of small business customers than just one or two corporate companies. Some of our customers truly feel like family.”

Impressions by Bird has seen businesses come and go during their time downtown and actively strive to work with their fellow small business owners in town.

“It’s important to give back to the community you live and work in because you want them to succeed,” Kris said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Impressions by Bird was forced to close its doors but Frances and Kris showed adaptability and innovativeness.

They had to move their office back to their house but managed to change some of their long-time business practices to offer delivery services to print customers, private consultations and curbside services.

“It was a challenge,” Frances said. “I think we will all think a little differently about how we do business in the future.”

“I think we also all learned how to help one another a bit more,” Kris said. “Our downtown is as strong as the whole group. We all need to succeed and help those that are struggling.”

Through the years, Frances and Kris have remained active members of the community. Frances has participated on various Fort Morgan Chamber of Commerce committees and was awarded their Golden Star award. She has also helped the Fort Morgan Downtown Business Association.

Kris has held numerous offices in the Morgan County Jaycees, was an active Fort Morgan Heritage Foundation and related art auction committee member and was also a member of the Fort Morgan Business Association.

Frances and Kris also co-founded the Fall Harvest Car Show, which continues to bring hundreds of visitors and tourism dollars to Fort Morgan.

“We want to encourage other people to take the plunge of opening a small business,” Frances said. “If you don’t try, you’ll never know. You just have to take the leap sometimes. We just try to learn from our mistakes and really want to encourage other women and minorities to start a business.”

“It’s always an honor to be recognized,” said Kris. “It’s never expected but appreciated. Nice to know our contributions are recognized and it’s extra special because it is our 30th anniversary.”

Frances and Kris welcome anyone to stop by their shop at 117 West Kiowa Ave. in downtown Fort Morgan, whether it’s for printing services, to shop their retail section or just to chat and learn more about what they offer.

Impressions by Bird is opened Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by appointment from 2 to 5 p.m. They can be reached via phone at (970)-867-8786 or by email at [email protected]

Jonathan Cartu

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