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You could say Kevin Flores is committed to the town where he lives and works. His daughter’s middle name is Ashland.
Flores, owner of The Flores Shop on N. Railroad Avenue, brought his print and online advertising and design business to town in 2007. In 2009, Flores moved to the circa-1918 Hanover Bank Building, which has been divided into office suites. The suite that houses Flores’ business contains the original bank vault equipped with a cast-iron safe.
Flores fell in love with Ashland while dating a Randolph-Macon student. And, although advertising agencies are most often associated with large cities, Flores stands by his choice to locate in a small town.
“People always ask me ‘why do you have your ad agency in Ashland,’ and [I respond that] I worked downtown long enough,” Flores said.
Besides, modern technology has enabled Flores to work with clients from well outside of Metro-Richmond.
“Today, with the technology that we have at our disposal, you don’t have to be a block down from a client. You don’t have to even be in the same city as your client,” he said.
While Flores’ company has worked with a number of local clients, he has clientele up and down the East Coast, in Chicago and even across the pond in the UK.
“We work with clients from all over,” Flores said. “Technology has allowed us to do that seamlessly, so why not be in a place that we like?”
Flores began his career in the creative services industry as an art director and, later, as a creative director. However, he soon grew tired of working at the larger firms and decided to start his own company.
“Working at larger agencies, it’s tough to have that face-to-face contact with a client,” Flores said. “When I started my own business, I wanted to make sure that it was always the people actually doing the work interacting with the client.”
Local clients include the Hanover Tavern, Randolph-Macon College, Owens & Minor and Allen & Allen, among many. The Flores Shop also designed and maintains the “Ashland Street Parties” website, which promotes the seasonal downtown concert series.
Four in-house employees work at The Flores Shop, but the workforce can expand to meet client needs using what Flores calls “an elastic business model,” necessary when working with larger clients. Flores’ company began by handling mostly small jobs. He said it’s been rewarding to watch his business grow into the branding and design firm that is today.
“That’s what people come to us for, for big-picture brand strategy and implementation,” Flores said. “We probably do fewer projects now for fewer clients but the projects that we do are much grander in scope.”
After all, grand in scope is only fitting for a company based in “The Center of the Universe.”