Creating Graphics that POP with S2K


President Dan Pulos attributes the company's success to its phenomenal team of employees who don't need micromanaging.

With its state-of-the-art production equipment, national field-service network, and two strategically located print facilities, S2K Graphics in Chatsworth, California, serves clients coast-to-coast by offering low distribution costs, world class print quality, fast and on-time delivery, and what it boasts as an “unwavering” commitment to merchandising success.

The company, founded in 1989 as Signs 2000, is a nationally-recognized printer in point-of-purchase (POP) execution services, design, manufacture, and distribution of a broad array of innovative and disruptive color-matched POP elements. Acquired by FRANKE Company in 2008, its mission is nothing less than to transform its clients’ marketing and merchandising strategies.

S2K, which celebrated its 28th anniversary on October 20, 2017, provides a variety of innovative, patented point-of-purchase products, ranging from 3M floor graphics and countertop displays to kiosks, standees, readerboard and window graphics, and more. Annual sales are between $10 million and $15 million.

“Our products are designed to give our clients an increased return on investment, using eye-catching color graphics and displays that provide adequate coverage at key areas of a store’s location,” explained founder and president Dan Pulos. Other specialties include wide-format printing, field surveys, and installations.

The majority of its clients are multi-site retailers with a strong focus on quick-service restaurants, including both chains and their beverage partners. It has sales representation across the country, with production facilities in Los Angeles and Nashville. Said Pulos, “We are always looking to expand our sales and production territories.” Indeed, he added, business grew in 2017 “along with the economy.”

Good people

S2K’s corporate culture has been designed to be conducive to individual achievement. “I give my employees great latitude to get their work done within the behavioral guidelines of the company,” noted Pulos. “I don’t micromanage, and I believe most of my employees do their individual jobs much better than I ever could. I trust their experience and expertise—it’s precisely why they have the positions they do.”

Given his heavy travel schedule, Pulos explained, he doesn’t have the time to mentor and develop employees, nor does he particularly enjoy teaching. “Therefore, I require that my direct reports bring a lot to the table individually. With this setup and expectation, I can then coordinate my team’s efforts collectively into a win for the company and, most importantly, the client.”

Pulos says he has always focused on surrounding himself with good people, and to providing the opportunity and resources for them to get their work done efficiently. “There is no substitute for talented people taking charge of their functional areas and then working in concert with each other for the company’s collective good. I believe a good leader should recognize what individuals are needed in developing a team, and in what each individual needs in order to succeed.”

At S2K Graphics, Pulos has developed a 45-member team that he praises as having real depth, “and I believe this is something many of my competitors don’t have. Focused leadership, coupled with a skilled and valued team, makes a difference.”

R-N-B debuts

The first half of 2017 was great, Pulos reported, with S2K Graphics earning recognition from Creative magazine as a Top 50 POP company, as well as by being selected as the recipient of the Best in Category award for POP Materials at the Print Excellence awards hosted by PIASC. “Q3 has been a little bit softer than expected,” he noted, “although we did pick up a new QSR account that we’re extremely excited about.”

Earlier this year, S2K outfitted its Tennessee facility with two Jeti Titan HS UV flatbed printers from Agfa Graphics. They replaced two older devices with the goal of allowing the company to provide customers with what Pulos describes as a “higher-quality” experience from product manufacturing to delivery time. “In 2018, we expect to add three replacement wide-format printers to continue our quest for greater capacity and print quality.”

Also during 2017, the company inked an exclusive partnership with Andy’s Frozen Custard. The chain currently operates 50 stores, and is rapidly expanding. S2K Graphics will be responsible for all new store point-of-purchase merchandising, and in September helped Andy’s management with the opening of three new stores.

For the year ahead, Pulos says he and his colleagues would like to see their company diversify its client base “and work toward creating a more viable long-term business model.” S2K’s newest product, R-N-B (repositionable, no bubbles), is a special graphic film product that is viewed as revolutionary in its ease of use and in the finished look.

“It’s a patent-pending exclusive product offering found only through S2K Graphics that was formulated to combat typical window graphic installation,” Pulos explained. “Whereas traditional window graphics often require two people to properly install them, R-N-B was developed so that retailers need not rely on professional or experienced installation teams to properly apply oversized promotional graphics.” The new window graphic material became available in August.

Pulos said that the product has been a dream of his for many years. “I’ve had the idea for about five years now, and have been actively searching for a graphic film that would do what I had in mind. After extensive research, it was determined that the product didn’t exist, so I created my own special formulation, which is custom made for us and only available through S2K Graphics.”

His goal was to make window graphic installation fun. “I wanted employees to fight over who gets to install the new graphics every time a new set arrives at the store. I believe we’ve achieved that with R-N-B.” R-N-B is also very forgiving, with a built-in stiffness that allows a single person to apply, reposition and reapply graphics up to 5-foot-high without damaging the decals. Added Pulos, “I’m really proud of this product.”

Additionally, the product can be re-used if removed within 30 days of initial installation and properly stored for future re-use. The features increase the percentage of correct installations a multi-site retailer should expect in the field. R-N-B prints are priced comparably to view-thru films, providing retailers with a high return on investment in both labor savings and field results.

Concentrate effort

S2K Graphics’ management remains committed not only to meeting and exceeding client success, but to sustainability. As the company makes clear to potential customers, it performs and manages its daily operations with the environment in mind. For instance, it only produces products and uses raw materials that are sustainably sourced. It ensures that its manufacturing processes are carried out in a sustainable way.

The company also uses a web-to-print workflow system, which allows its designers to work directly with customers to edit the designs and layouts of each project. It also includes automatized email notifications when proofs are ready to view, when comments are communicated, when revisions need to be made, and when approvals are received. Hence, no printed documents are necessary.

S2K has made what Pulos characterizes as a “concentrated effort” to grow the field-service part of its business. “We excel at going out into the field, taking surveys for multi-site retailers, analyzing the data, and making recommendations to help grow a business.”

Its patented POP Placement Program is the company’s signature product for multi-site retailers. It shows them exactly where to place every piece of POP at each location to maximize sales results. The program is currently in operation at more than 5,000 restaurants today. “On the installation side, we installed graphics at more than 7,000 fast-food restaurants in the second quarter, which was quite an accomplishment for our team.”

Indeed, it is a team for whom accomplishment has become business as usual.

S2K Graphics recognized as one of the Top 50 P.O.P. Companies for the Sixth Consecutive Year

Creative Magazine honors S2K Graphics for its accomplishments in the point-of-purchase industry


S2K Graphics, a division of The Franke Group and a nationally recognized leader in point-of-purchase (P.O.P.) merchandising, was nationally recognized for its sixth consecutive year as a “Top 50 P.O.P. Company” by Creative Magazine, an outlet targeted to sales and marketing executives.

S2K Graphics, which has provided Fortune 100 companies with an array of unique P.O.P. merchandising elements for nearly 30 years, was selected for its 2017 P.O.P. sales volume and P.O.P. offerings. S2K Graphics also provided information on its most successful P.O.P. campaign of 2017 —  its new readerboard graphic kits, which include bright and colorful graphics as an alternative to traditional black tile letters, helping clients capitalize on P.O.P. opportunities. More than 60 percent of the McDonald’s market in Nashville purchased kits in 2017. For its contribution to new P.O.P. products introduced in 2017, S2K Graphics highlighted its proprietary R-N-B (repositionable, no bubbles) window decal material, for which the company was recently presented an “Award of Excellence” by Printing Industries Association of Southern California (PIASC).

“Once again, the S2K Graphics team is honored to be included in Creative Magazine’s Top 50 P.O.P. Companies,” said Dan Pulos, president and founder of S2K Graphics. “We were proud to include our R-N-B window decal material and readerboard graphic kits as examples of S2K Graphics’ innovative P.O.P. materials that have resonated powerfully with our customers, delivering quality return on investment.”

S2K Graphics produces a variety of P.O.P. displays for national accounts — including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper and other market-leading brands — and is one of 11 California companies recognized in Creative Magazine’s Top 50 list this year.

With plants in Los Angeles and Nashville, as well as a sales presence in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Nashville and San Francisco, S2K Graphics continues to chart new territory in P.O.P. research and development. The P.O.P. industry leader is currently in the middle of a nationwide window wrap installation comprised of 12,000 locations for a national quick-service restaurant (QSR) client.

For Creative Magazine’s full 2018 list of the Top 50 P.O.P. Companies, visit


S2K Graphics Signs on as Exclusive POP Partner for Andy’s Frozen Custard

S2K Graphics was recently selected by Andy’s Frozen Custard as the chain’s exclusive POP partner as the franchise continues to expand into new regions.

Andy’s Frozen Custard—the largest privately owned frozen-custard-only QSR-plus in the country—recently opened its 55th store and plans on opening one to two stores per month over the course of the next year. The popular custard chain is well known for providing a quality product, excellent customer service and community involvement. Most importantly, the franchise is committed to making sure that its valued customers have the same memories and experiences no matter which location they attend.

“We were looking for a communicative partner who could not only keep up with our demand as a rapidly growing company, but also help us with both short- and long-term needs,” said Stevie Stryker, southern region marketing specialist for Andy’s Frozen Custard. “For us it was important to choose a company that could not only provide us POP materials that stay true to our standard signage but also offer us flexibility and innovative options as we continue to grow. We’re thrilled to be working with S2K Graphics as they help us convey our messaging throughout our stores.”

Stryker reached out to S2K Graphics after research led her to a press release announcing S2K Graphics’ inclusion in Creative Magazine’s “Top 50 POP Companies” list. After the initial call—in which S2K Graphics shared information about its quality, affordability and expertise with large national chains—S2K Graphics sent Andy’s Frozen Custard a sample poster and lawn sign, and paperwork was signed.

“The quality of our products ultimately brought this exciting partnership to fruition,” said Dan Pulos, founder and president of S2K Graphics. “We’re so pleased to begin this journey with Andy’s Frozen Custard, outfitting their new stores with eye-catching POP elements to communicate their seasonal promotional messages. On a related note, the last time I was in Nashville to visit our production facility, I traveled an hour outside of the city to a local Andy’s Frozen Custard and I have to say it was hands down the best dessert I’d had all year.  I’m a big fan!”

In September, S2K Graphics shipped out its first batch of POP to the chain, aiding them in the opening of three new locations. 

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S2K Graphics Closes Readerboard Graphics Sale with McDonald’s Nashville Market

S2K Graphics, a division of The Franke Group, officially debuted its Readerboard Graphic product with new features, including brighter and bolder graphics, and improved durability, placing more than 60 units into McDonald’s Nashville restaurants.

S2K Graphics founder and owner, Dan Pulos, created the bright and colorful Readerboard Graphics as an alternative to traditional readerboards with black tile letters to help clients capitalize on P.O.P. opportunities.

“Readerboards provide quick-service restaurants with the highest communication impact for their brick-and-mortar locations,” Pulos said. “They increase visibility of in-store promotions, drawing in street traffic, which can equal thousands of impressions every day. After testing our product at various national locations, results have shown that our use of bright and colorful graphics lifted product sales by 50 percent in the locations we tested. Additionally, the product had a payback in less than a week during testing, increasing sales and restaurant guest counts.”

The purchase, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the McDonald’s market in Nashville, came on the heels of the successful, recent wind tunnel testing to assess durability and shape retention qualities under extreme weather conditions. After testing the graphics in 90 mph high-speed winds in 30-, 60- and 90-degree angles, the results established that the graphics passed the durability test and did not detach under these conditions.

S2K Graphics’ Readerboard Graphics have specially formulated materials designed to fit easily in existing readerboard systems and withstand the rigors of hostile outdoor environments 15-20 feet in the air. They are cost-efficient, easy to install, and can be customized with any promotional offer or product feature.

S2K Graphics’ Dimensional Window Graphics Sustain 90 MPH Winds

S2K Graphics, an affiliate of Franke Group, recently tested its Dimensional Window Graphics in a San Diego-based low-speed wind tunnel off of Pacific Coast Highway to assess durability and shape retention qualities when faced with wind and extreme weather conditions.

In order to evaluate the Window Graphics’ performance in these conditions, the S2K Graphics team performed two sets of testing at speeds of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90 mph, with rotations at 30-, 60- and 90-degree angles. The first set of testing included a pre-mounted graphic, a standard mount that one of S2K Graphics’ professional installers would have installed. The second replicated a “Dirty Install,” recreating an installation that would most likely have been done by a customer, instead of professional installer. Each test was four to six minutes long, at temperatures of 70-74 degrees.

The graphics were pre-mounted on an acrylic base with similar adhesion qualities to glass windows, and were then attached using S2K Graphics’ standard decals and tapes that are sent to clients, with no manipulations made.

The results from both set of tests showed that S2K Graphics’ Dimensional Window Graphics can successfully withstand winds up to 90 mph without damage, highlighting the product’s durability and tolerance to non-desirable and windy weather conditions.

“While conducting the wind tunnel testing, I was amazed by both the durability and resilience of the 3-D graphics,” says Brandon Ledford, S2K Graphics’ operations manager. “After exposing the graphics to high winds, they sustained no damage and also successfully returned to their 3-D shape after completion.”

The patent-pending Dimensional Window Graphics are printed on 2 mm Coroplast — a high-quality, printable surface with excellent adhesion quality and waterproof, stain resistant qualities. The graphics can be used in conjunction with S2K Graphics’ Window Wrap Program — available in one-size-fits-all, multi-size and custom — and have been designed for easy installation and removal, are cost-effective, and have been proven to produce a 23.6 percent increase in sales over standard decals.

S2K Graphics Announces Team Expansion

S2K Graphics, an affiliate of Franke Group, has announced Kim Castano as its marketing specialist. In this role, Castano will be responsible for developing and driving social media content for its various platforms, working collaboratively with the sales team to develop marketing collateral and ensuring that the graphics company maintains consistency in its branding as an industry leader.

Castano has accumulated a well-rounded portfolio of marketing and business experience cultivated through her education from California State University, Los Angeles — where she received a bachelor’s degree in business administration — and her previous marketing roles in the fashion, health and wellness, financial tech, and legal industries. Her ability to navigate a variety of niche industry needs from a marketing perspective make her a valuable addition to the S2K Graphics team.

“Kim’s passion for identifying new strategies and her eye for detail have been immensely valuable in our marketing efforts,” says Dan Pulos, founder and general manager of S2K Graphics. “Her motivation to continue to grow as a marketing professional — bringing new ideas to the conversation — has brought a fresh perspective, and we’re pleased to have Kim on board.”

In addition to her day-to-day tasks, Castano will also aid in developing short- and long-term marketing strategies to complement S2K’s planned expansion into new territories as the company continues to grow locally and nationally. “I was immediately drawn to S2K after my first interview with Dan,” Castano says. “The company has a family feel, and with that, a real dedication to working together to produce high-quality products that are innovative and game-changing in the industry.”

The company also announced Leah Barash as its new senior account executive. In this capacity, Barash will focus on national sales of the company’s innovative merchandising solutions, creative design, manufacturing and fulfillment services.

Barash’s expertise extends from a sales professional background with nearly two decades of well-rounded, comprehensive agency, corporate and vendor experience.

“I feel so lucky to have been given such an amazing opportunity to work with S2K Graphics to help them achieve further success,” says Barash. “They have impressive client retention, and everyone at the company has been here for 10 to 20 years or more, which is indicative of a strong, cohesive team.  All the stars have aligned for me in this role. The people and my boss are fantastic, and their products are top notch and innovative.”

Barash will work on generating business from new industries and territories as S2K continues its growth and expansion.  Barash will focus on the introduction of S2K’s new, innovative products that disrupt the marketplace and drive higher client return on investment (ROI) in P.O.P.

“Leah is a capable, qualified and amiable professional whose demeanor, passion for sales and successful long-standing partnerships caught my attention immediately,” says Pulos. “The entire staff at S2K Graphics enthusiastically welcomes her to our team and I look forward to all she will accomplish with us.”

Barash credits her skill for relationship development to her upbringing as an “Army brat.” The daughter of a US Army Attache, Barash and her family lived in Bangkok, Thailand during her childhood and moved around regularly. The constant introduction to new cultures and types of personalities shaped her ability to relate to a variety of clients and identification of their unique and specific needs.

S2K Graphics Recognized for Restaurant Technology Innovation

QSR Magazine names S2K Graphics as an Applied Technology Award winner.

Chatsworth, California (Feb. 3, 2016) –– S2K Graphics, a renowned leader in point-of-purchase (P.O.P.) design and print innovation, has been nationally recognized as a Crew-Facing Tech winner in Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR) Magazine’s 2016 Applied Technology Awards. The awards, which were last hosted in 2010, recognize companies that demonstrate the latest innovations in both crew-facing and customer-facing restaurant technology.

S2K Graphics was selected for its patented P.O.P. Placement Software Program, which is used in thousands of McDonald’s locations across the U.S. The program works by first creating full-color, realistic renderings of each individual restaurant. Based upon these renderings and consumer traffic patterns, both inside and outside of the restaurant, the program then prioritizes the franchisors’ P.O.P. merchandising elements. These elements, from posters, decals and banners to kiosks and drive-thru elements, are then optimally placed into the restaurant renderings to ensure that franchisors maximize their return on investment (ROI) through proper P.O.P. placement at every restaurant.


In the magazine’s feature on the awards, QSR spoke to the P.O.P. Placement Software Program’s ability to improve P.O.P. execution, lessen installation times and reduce merchandising clutter in restaurants.

“We are extremely proud of our product and the benefits it provides to our customers,” said Dan Pulos, S2K Graphics founder and president. “At S2K, we continue to invest in new equipment and develop new technologies, not only to ensure that we provide the most innovative, sales-driving products to our customers, but also to improve the effectiveness of the P.O.P. once its delivered to each store.”