by Lauren Lee
If there’s one thing the Egger family knows about Huntsville, it’s the power behind the small business community here. Though Jared and Loretta Egger of AlphaLit Huntsville had no family in the area when they moved here six years ago, they’ve quickly built a chosen family of friends and peers that shine as bright as the beautiful marquee letters they bring to local parties and celebrations.
Loretta explains, “We came to the area for Jared’s job. We were initially drawn to the closer proximity to our families. As time passed and our business has bloomed, it’s the people that have kept us here.”
“I am completely and totally in love with the Huntsville community and the way that people support one another. We had looked again at moving towards Knoxville after I started AlphaLit and I told Jared I just don’t know that we’ll find people like this again. I think the people make Huntsville home,” Loretta says.
The job that had drawn the couple to Huntsville originally was meant to only be for a two-year stint. The newly graduated Loretta had come here with her husband and built a career in marketing. When their time here was meant to come to an end, they both felt that something else was in store for them and as it turned out, there was.
Though the couple didn’t have their two children at the time, they knew that was in their future. They both wanted to stay in the area where each of their families were only a few hours away. A coworker of Jared’s told him of a job he should apply for, and the rest is history.
“It just felt like a God thing, like we were meant to be in Huntsville. I just don’t know that you can really explain that because things really just started to happen for good for us. Like as soon as we made the decision to settle and call Huntsville home, things just really started moving in the right direction.” Loretta explained.
After they decided to call Huntsville home, another crossroads moment would come for the family with the arrival of their first child, Julia. When returning to work from maternity leave, Loretta said she just couldn’t bear it after two weeks. Though the job had been full of growth and opportunity, Loretta said she wept at work one day and knew she couldn’t do it anymore. Another two weeks of being a stay-at-home mom had her searching for another option.
“I had Julia and she was six months old, so one day I put her down for a moment and googled marquee letters. I can’t tell you where the thought came from, or how it popped into my mind. I just Googled it, and there was nothing in Huntsville. So I found AlphaLit and sent an email to corporate,” Loretta explains.
As it turned out, the Huntsville territory was available. When Jared arrived home from work he was surprised to hear Loretta call over the shower door asking him if he thought starting a business would be a good idea. Without hesitation, he was on board. Loretta said he didn’t know what business she’d been looking at or the costs associated with it, but he was behind her every step of the way.
“It was an idea and Jared was like ’I don’t care what it is, you’re going to make it work.’ So we invested all of our savings into it, and then here we are. It has been just the best experience ever. Of course, there are awful days, but overall it’s been wonderful,” Loretta said.
Having come from a small business background, Loretta said she wasn’t blind to the work and effort she knew it would take.
“Growing up, I had been around my parents who always worked hard. Anyone who owns their own business knows that you have to work in that business like you have never worked at something before. The reward is not instant, it is gradual. When you get there, people are going to tell you you’re lucky that you had this idea, and they won’t see the blood, sweat and tears it took to get you there,” says Loretta.
Jared adds, “We often joke that I come home from my 9 to 5 to another boss, but in reality, I enjoy being a part of a business that is bigger than us both and causes us to think bigger. Plus, we get to meet the best people through Alphalit.”
The couple’s efforts to build their business weren’t in vain. That sense of community they have built with their small business peers and customers has proven to be even more important, especially when the AlphaLit Instagram account was hacked – which was the main source of their inquiries. Loretta said through her panic, the small business community rallied around her, sharing her new page and helping to rebuild the audience she had painstakingly grown over the years.
“Sometimes we get to make our friends our family, and that’s been the case with us. People tend to just be here for you and it means more when they don’t have to be.”
Learn more about Alphalit Huntsville: https://www.alphalitletters.com/huntsville