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Denver business celebrates unusual milestone

It’s the number of an infamous television quiz-show. It’s also the winning number for blackjack and the result of 7 times 3.
Many people believe that 21, as an age, means freedoms to make important life decisions that couldn’t be made previously.
For Sherrй DeMao, owner of SLD Marketing of Denver, 21 is a goal; 21 years in business, that is.
“Ten years ago I decided to throw a party to celebrate the 21st anniversary of my marketing business,” she said.
Ironically, the 21st anniversary party she’s planned to thank her employees, current and future clients and close friends in eastern Lincoln County will start at 7 p.m. on Jan. 21.
“Think about as a person, when you reach 21, you’ve become an adult,” she said. “As a company, we’re now legal.”
While the party serves as a celebration of her business that originally started as a graphics firm in Ohio, she’s asking party-goers to reach into their pockets for a good cause.
“I’m asking everyone who attends to donate $21 for the Relay for Life here in eastern Lincoln County,” she said. “It’s something that all of us in the office here knew we wanted to support.”
She added that by raising funds for this important cause, her party is one with a purpose.
“At the end of the night, we hope to hand a big check to Patsy Black,” said DeMao.
Black, chairperson for the east Lincoln Relay for Life, said this would be the Relay’s first fund-raiser for 2006.
“It’s really good that Sherrй’s doing this for the Relay,” said Black.

Bucking the system
DeMao’s business philosophy is something that she lives by in her daily life.
“You can fish for a man and feed him for a day,” she said. “Or, how I like to do things, you can teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime.”
After relocating her business to the Denver area in 1993, she started focusing on medium to small businesses.
“All full-service marketing firms were focusing on large businesses and clients and not small business, which is about 85 percent of all business period,” said DeMao.
She added that she really likes to buck the system in every aspect of her business.
“From the way we approach our clients to training them to handle some or all of their own marketing in-house, we’re very non-traditional,” said DeMao.
One way DeMao bucks the system is the method of analyzing a client’s marketing needs.
“We’ll look at a client’s operational resources first including people and technology, then we look at finances,” said DeMao.
Another part of the trend of bucking that system is the location of SLD Marketing Unlimited in Denver, in an A-frame house on N.C. 16 across from the Westport Food Lion.
“We’ve had our eye on this house for a very long time,” said DeMao. “In fact, 13 years ago, one of my first clients in Denver operated out of the garage area of this same house.”
DeMao said the house once housed a pottery store but has sat vacant for a number of years.
“It’s ironic that the house came open for us because this is pretty much where my business in Denver started,” she said.
A third way that DeMao herself bucks the system is being an advocate for small business.
“I go to Washington, D.C., about two times per year as a small business advocate,” she said. “I’ve always encouraged business owners to get involved in the political side of running their business.”
The ultimate goal for clients of SLD Marketing is to become what DeMao calls savvy marketers.
“That’s our whole mission, to have business owners and managers become those savvy marketers and create those same kind of marketers among their employees,” she said. “Then when they get too busy to do their own marketing, we’re there for them.”
The methods that DeMao and her staff use are the coaching aspects of marketing that started with the personal computer/desktop publishing phase that started in the early 1990s.
“I saw the need that people want to do their own marketing,” said DeMao. “I also wanted to be sure people did things right and people thought when I first started 21 years ago that I was crazy.”
When she started her company in 1984, she was a company of one.
Now, she’s a part of a team.
“We tell our business owners that eventually, it’s not going to be just them,” said DeMao. “In the future, it’s the team. The team is important for the company’s growth.”

SLD Marketing is located on N.C. 16 across from the Westport Food Lion in Denver.
Their 21st anniversary party starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21.
For more information on the celebration or SLD Marketing, call (704) 483-2491.
by Jon Mayhew

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