In today's tough economic times, schools around the country — both public and private — are looking for ways to raise funds to pay for basic necessities to cover financial ‘shortfalls' facing school districts.
For the past 20 years, Bricks 'R Us — one of the leading brick and tile engravers in the country — has helped those schools raise millions of dollars, most recently to help offset the effects of the recession.
And they have done it one brick at a time.
Bricks 'R Us President Terry Franzen, 46, a University of Miami graduate and former shopping center developer, has combined the ‘art' of sandblasting (a method of engraving which dates back to 1870) with the Internet to grow his company to be a recognized leader in his industry. Bricks ‘R Us has customers, including schools, stadiums, charities and religious organizations, worldwide and in 39 states.
“Our goal is to help our customers raise substantial amounts of money as easily as possible, which is why we have created an online ordering system,” Franzen said. “That is especially true today during these tough economic times being faced by the education community.”
Typically, a 4x8 engraved brick (three lines of copy, 18 characters per line) is sold by schools for $100 (not including installation, which runs approximately $3-$5 per brick). The school makes a profit of nearly $75 per brick. On an 8x8 brick — usually sold to local businesses for $225 — the school can make a profit of $150.
“Our clients — especially schools which can appeal to their student/parent base, faculty and alumni — have the opportunity to raise money not only for one year, but on an ongoing basis,” said Franzen, pointing out that schools sell approximately 200-250 bricks the first year. “Over the years, with each graduating class, brick sales continue to grow. Overall, thousands of schools have raised millions of dollars with Bricks 'R Us.”
Realizing that many of the schools and organizations he deals with have limited staffs and time to devote to paperwork, Franzen's company provides two online sites to make ordering bricks a simple task and the only brick engraving company providing that unique service. An online ordering system is used by schools to keep track of orders, send verification and thank you letters and other helpful tasks while a donor site is used by people purchasing bricks on behalf of the school.
“The online ordering system makes it simple for schools to keep a running tally of all bricks sold and place the final brick order,” Franzen said. “The donor site makes it easy for donors to go online to order and pay for their brick purchase.”