Here’s to all the Mom & Pop Business Owners

This Sunday, March 29, is National Mom & Pop Business Owners Day.  We love this holiday, and all of the local Memphis businesses that help make our community home.  We asked one  of favorite local vendors, Lee Raney of Tiger Promotions, to help us celebrate by sharing his thoughts.  Lee, for all your hard work (and all the beautiful shirts you’ve made for Orion!), thank you!

Lee Rainey pic
Lee, Lucas, and Diana Raney

What does it really mean to be a small business owner? To be honest, I’ve never liked that exact terminology. I have never told anyone that I run a small business. I do, rather, regularly tell people I run a local business. Because, that’s what it’s really all about isn’t it? I am a local entrepreneur who does 95% of my business with other local companies.

My name is Lee Raney. I run Tiger Promotions-a locally owned and operated Screen Printing, Embroidery and Promotional Products company. We serve clients all over the Mid-South including The University of Memphis, dozens of local restaurants, and even Orion FCU.

I proudly graduated from the University of Memphis. My beautiful wife Diana and I have been married 14 years this June. We have an amazing 3-year-old little boy named Lucas. And we are proud members of Orion FCU!

I was asked to write a short story about what it’s like being a small business owner. So here are some observations I have learned over the last 13 years.

Still to this day, I still get a rush of pride and excitement when I see a t-shirt I conceptualized, designed, and produced. It’s a feeling I still get 13 years after entering this business. I love that my job affords me to be creative. I get to stretch my imagination every day and help my customers fulfill their needs for their company, charity, school, or group.

A new way I can help customers is using my Digital Printer. I still do mostly traditional screen printing, but the Digital machine allows me to do small jobs for customers. Small jobs with insane prints. I can literally take a picture from a cell phone or a photo from 1918 and throw it on a t-shirt in less than 5 minutes. Its amazing technology. And the abilities for people in my line of work is growing every single day.

I think the main challenge for me is getting an opportunity to quote companies. We have the same production ability and provide the same products as the national companies. Contrary to some beliefs, there isn’t a limitation using a local provider. I always find it interesting to see local businesses use a national company for their merchandising and giveaway items. You’re local and you’re asking other local people to spend their money with you instead of a chain…yet you use a chain! Give your local company a try! I’d like to see community support like that here in Memphis.

I appreciate the opportunity to tell you a little about me and what I love to do. If I can ever be of assistance to you, your company or any group you belong to, please reach out to me at (hey I’m in sales, I have to try right?)