ALEX: Hello, today’s Deaf Business Spotlight is… Route 66 Promotions, owned by Thomas Otto-Bruc.
It first started in 2012 as a t-shirt printing business in a garage and now has expanded to a store with over 10 employees offering a variety of customized promotional products and services. Check it out!
SARAH: Hi! This is Sarah Gordon. I’m in St. Louis where I was born and raised. I’m here to visit a Deaf business called Route 66. What do they do? They make different printed t-shirts and other promotional items. Come and take a look with me!
THOMAS: Hello! My name is Thomas Otto-Bruc. I’m the owner of Route 66 Promotions.
Route 66 Promotions is the one-stop center for any printed products. What makes me different from others is that this is a Deaf-run business. That’s all. And it’s fun, too!
I started screen printing out on my own in my garage. Then I hired another Deaf person to help out. As demand grew, my home became a “public” place which I didn’t like, so I moved the business to a more professional setting.
We continued to grow. About 2 years ago, we had 8 people. Now we have 10+ people working for the business. It all started out with me doing the screen printing, then growth demand and expansion. People wanted embroidery, so I added an embroidery machine. People wanted other products, so I got the machines for it. We grew to meet whatever customer demands were.
RANDY: This machine utilizes UV lighting. Ink is very sensitive to UV lights, so when it’s exposed to it, it dries up immediately.
RICKY: I’m doing a printing right now. Here’s what it looks like.
This is a sticker that makes the table look like it’s made from real wood.
I’m the 4th generation in the family for our vinyl-making business. My family owned a business in Michigan, so I learned from my dad and fell in love with the work. Now, I work for Route 66. I’ve been here almost a year. I’m loving it.
DAVID: Here at Route 66 I ensure that everything is operating well with our structure, finance, and staff. I work with our clients and customers’ orders. I make sure that contracts are in order and that they’re fair for both parties. These things help us to become more successful.
KYLE: I take all the projects, orders, and calls. When you call Route 66 Promotions, the first person you get is me. I take all your projects to ensure that they go to the right people and department. I’m here at Route 66 because I really enjoy working with Deaf-run and Deaf-owned businesses. We are all Deaf here so there are no communication barriers.
ANAND: Our goal is to help other businesses become successful with our promotions. Promotions is the big key. It’s all Deaf employees and Deaf customers here, so it makes interactions great. That’s why I love this job.
MATTHEW: I’m here at Route 66 Promotions as the graphic designer. Pretty much what I do is I work with clients - whether they’re hearing or Deaf.
I also do embroidery, like what you see on my shirt here.
One of the Deaf Bings here is that the Deaf world is so small, so when I reach out to people and give them my name, I get recognized right away. “I know who you are, that’s your brother, right?” I often get asked, “How is your mom?”
ROGER: Hello, I’m Roger Vass. I’m with Bad Cats Entertainment under Route 66 Promotions. We’re proud to announce that we’re releasing our first feature film called “Hedy and Heidi: The Lost Sister”. The story goes back to the sisters where they became separated at birth. They both journeyed in their lives with hilarious moments. It’s family-friendly, so it’s great for children, too! The story is about them both finally meeting each other, and what happens next, I won’t tell you! You’d have to check out the movie when it’s released.
THOMAS: The history behind Route 66’s name is my love for history, like old motorcycles and cars. Growing up, I traveled with my father often. Route 66 became to me a “road” for many possibilities. We provide many opportunities for our customers with service, products, and for our Deaf employees. We have opportunities for growth. I want to make it the best for everyone tomorrow better than yesterday. Every day. That’s what I do here.
ALEX: Very impressive business, with all those talented Deaf employees and machines that are advanced printing technologies.
Check out their website at route66promo.com or on Facebook and Instagram @route66promo.