Vancouver business owner gives back to hospitals and brings awareness to medical workers service
VANCOUVER — “I’m here. I’m trying to run a business, but you throw all of that out the door, because you feel like this one thing is making a difference for a lot of people.”
Seana Stong loves signs.
So much so she runs her own company creating them for businesses all over the region: Image360. When COVID-19 began, she had a unique order that would snowball into many more.
This week is Nurses Week. More broadly, it is a celebration of medical and healthcare workers everywhere who are putting themselves at risk during the pandemic.
In Texas, someone designed a sign with the simple and powerful phrase, “Heroes Work Here,’’ and placed it in front of a hospital. When PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver saw the sign on social media, they thought it would be a great way to thank their nurses and doctors too.
Enter Image360 and Seana Stong.
“All of the medical professionals are working so hard and in this really is a crazy time,” Stong said. “So she sent me a picture and I said, ‘We can absolutely do that.’ And she said, ‘So how much is that going to cost?’ And I’m like, ‘You know what, I’m gonna do that for free.’ It just warms my heart. We’re all so helpless right now. This was the one thing that I could take control of and felt like I was making a difference for someone.”
Once the first sign went up at PeaceHealth in Vancouver, the hospital wanted them at each of its locations around the region. Now, close to a dozen hospitals as far away as Alaska have heroes signs adorning them. Legacy Salmon Creek will be getting one Friday, Stong said. Installation is 100 percent free.
“Installing that first sign, I mean, I felt good internally by being able to donate this. But even as we’re pounding it into the ground, people were driving by and honking,” she said. “I get emotional every time I think about it. I mean, you really realize the impact that it makes.”
Stong’s daughter recently graduated from college. She shared on Facebook how proud she was of her mom and her business for doing the signs. Little benounced to them, her daughter’s roommate from college is a nurse at none other than PeaceHealth Southwest.
“Now we’ve got this personal connection of how that made those nurses feel, seeing that sign go up,” she said.
Stong explained how much her industry has shifted in the last couple months. With many stores, public places and other businesses preparing to or already having reopened, new COVID-19 signage is in high demand. So too are clear shields protecting workers from infection.
Image360 makes both. They sell hundreds everyday right now.
The other market Stong mentioned was schools and graduating seniors. In any normal year, she said she would make around 200 graduation signs for schools and gatherings. This year, with graduations and school canceled, she has sold 650 to date.
“Families can’t celebrate the way that they normally do, and it’s all COVID related,” she said. “I learned a long time ago as a business owner; you take any work coming your way as a gift. It feels good to be nimble enough to where we can shift gears and say, ‘Okay, let’s look at the capabilities we have in house, and how can we produce a product that will be meaningful to someone else.’”