Contract Sales and Operations, 316 Steele St., has become the newest member of the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce, according to a post at the Chamber’s website.

Owner Eric Dean and his staff of four bring over a combined 80 years of commercial sign and outdoor advertising experience, many years working under Gerald “Jag” Haegele, a community champion known for his love of Algoma.

Dean, a native of a small town in Massachusetts, chose to open his own company in the wake of structural changes at his former employer, stating his main reason was “to keep jobs in Algoma” and preserve the history and quality of the outdoor advertising world that Algoma is known for.

A design engineer who fell into advertising by accident, Dean is pushing ahead to expand product lines and services. CSO recently became the area authorized reseller for Watchfire, a highly competitive worldwide digital sign company with the elite distinction of housing all aspects of design and manufacturing in Danville, Illinois.

CSO performs service work for other sign companies as well as the more traditional creative services and sign manufacturing. CSO’s focus on customer service is designed to help the customer from the envisioning stage to final assembly and maintenance. Taking note of specific needs in a rural community, CSO will begin to offer small run print and promotional items with their newly acquired heat press.

Located in the historic Busch building at 316 Steele Street in Algoma, Dean stresses that although they are small and local, they are not limited in resources, including “the people that work here, couldn’t have done it without them, the value is in the people and their knowledge and know-how.”