Signal of Fremont: A Small-Town Journey to Success

Written by:

Abigail Korinek

Sitting on the banks of the Platte River, just outside Omaha, is Fremont, Nebraska. With a population of just over 27,000, Fremont is a perfect example of small-town Nebraska life, and is home to Shane and Jodi Wimer, owners of Signal of Fremont and winners of Signal’s Franchise of the Month for January 2024. 

In 2005, the couple founded an independent security business in Fremont. The couple saw success in their new venture and enjoyed building new relationships in their community. As the years went on, however, they also experienced the challenges that go along with being a small business owner. 

While Shane continued to work full-time as a police officer in Fremont, he also handled everything external, including sales and operations. Jodi took care of all the internal tasks, from hiring to payroll and taxes. The pair knew that, although things were going well, they would need to find more support if they wanted to continue to grow.  

When Shane stumbled across an ad for Signal online, they saw it as their sign to make a change. The ad spoke to everything they wanted for their company and, they felt, was very similar to how they were running their business. From the colors and uniforms to the way they portrayed their officers as an approachable, yet authoritative presence, they saw their brand mirroring that of Signal’s. Almost immediately after the transition, they saw the impact Signal had on their business.  

“The new business married really well with the old,” Shane said. "They had the tools that helped our business grow and we also had a larger brand presence. It helped us legitimize and turned us into a real company, while before we were really a mom and pop.” 

That was in 2009, and since then, the Wimer’s have been a part of every stage of Signal’s evolution. Today, the Wimers have a territory that stretches south to the Platte River outside Omaha and north to the South Dakota border. The territory encompasses hundreds of small towns and spans 5,000 square miles, but, with a population of only around 200,000 is one of the lowest density regions in the Signal Network. Their territory is unique to Signal, and they’ll tell you that there is a special quality to the towns in their area that you won’t find in larger cities. 

“Making relationships is a huge part of our business,” Shane said. "That’s really easy to do in a territory like ours. We know everyone on a first name basis and get to have a lot of one-on-one relationships. Everything is word of mouth around here. How you perform is very important because word travels fast; it holds you accountable.” 

“These aren’t city folks,” Jodi added. “They’re small-town folk and they know a lot about everybody. They’ve been here forever; they might work at the plant and so did their dad and their uncle and so on. It’s a great place to operate.” 

On the other hand, there are challenges that come along with operating such a large, yet sparsely populated, territory. While small towns are great for relationship development, there aren’t many opportunities for patrol contracts, the foundation of Signal’s business. To make up for this, the Wimers dove headfirst into finding dedicated sites they can service. The majority of their business is now made up of larger food processing plants and manufacturing facilities. 

In addition to the lack of patrol opportunities, travel time from their office in Fremont to Norfolk, site of one of their newest and largest contracts, is an hour and a half one way. This poses a major challenge for a couple that prides themselves on being engaged with all their sites and building a tight-knit team.  

Shane often makes the three hour round trip to Norfolk to support the team, but the cost of fuel and non-billable time on the road is something they take into consideration when planning their schedules. When new officers start in Norfolk, Jodi said she often meets them halfway between the two towns to give them uniforms to make the trip worth it. 

The vastness of their territory has not had an impact on their team’s dynamic. In fact, it’s been the opposite. Shane and Jodi make a concerted effort to get to know each and every one of their team members, and their employee retention reflects that. They are personally involved with the hiring process and have met every single employee. Both Jodi and Shane care deeply about the success of their employees, even if they don’t stay with Signal forever. 

“When we hire someone, we get to know them personally,” Jodi said. “We have a goal to help them however we can. We ask them what their goals are, knowing that they may not be here for a lifetime, but we want to know how we can help them right now. Building that relationship is really key to keeping them around.” 

The Wimer’s franchise is also a family business, with their two sons, daughter and son-in-law all having worked for them. The couple says that working with family provides an additional layer of support for their business. 

“Everyone has that desire to do their best,” Jodi said. "We all want Signal to grow and do well and all our kids, even though they’ve moved and do their own things, ask how it's going, how Signal’s doing. We’re really blessed to have our family behind us.” 

As they approach their 15-year anniversary with Signal, they have no plans to slow down the business. After 20 years with the Fremont police department, Shane will retire this year and start working full time with Signal. They also want to push their business and reach $3.5 million in revenue as well as saturate more of their territory. Although this goal could seem intimidating, the Wimers are excited for what the future holds. 

“We love being a part of the Signal Team,” Jodi said. “The relationships have kept us going, and everyone wants us to be successful. We’re just really blessed.” 

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