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Counselor is published 13 times a year and is
the "voice" of the promotional products industry.

2012 Counselor Road Tour

Milk Bones in Bellevue

Meet The Folks At This Dog-Friendly Distributor

Sunrise IdentitySunrise Identity has obviously gone to the dogs. It's a Saturday morning, so few employees or actual canines are in site, but the signs of man's best friend are everywhere. A well chewed dog bed takes up at least half of an office a cube. At least a dozen tennis balls are strewn about the floor. And a giant, ripped open box of Milk Bones sits atop a refrigerator.

Mark Lynch, the company's Chief Operating Office (and top cat herder, according to the company's website), is happy to explain. Apparently, Sunrise's open-door dogs policy (Wednesdays are "weiner dog Wednesdays"), along with a flexible work structure which allows its 60 employees to attend children's school events or get in a mid-day workout, is all part of a grand plan to help employees keep their creative juices flowing.

Not your average promotional products distributor, Sunrise definitely counts on employees' creativity as it positions itself more like a full-scale marketing agency than a seller of ad specialties.

Indeed, "more and more of our business is about solving issues than selling stuff," says Lynch. Case in point: One of the 15-year-old company's first big clients, Starbucks, first came to Sunrise to help it create a website. "That's not what we regularly did, but we found ourselves growing with our customers' demands," he says. Then, it asked Sunrise to create a company store and later, an employee recognition program for its 140,000 workers.

Other behemoth firms, like T-Mobile, have asked Sunrise to help it track its inventory. "A lot of what we do is not what we got in the business to do, but it's great," Lynch adds.

And employees are more than happy to put in the extra effort, since the company rewards them with competitive salaries and flexibility, according to Lynch.

As he walks through Sunrise's headquarters, he points out posters touting an employee triathlon team the company is sponsoring, and talks about how he rarely missed his daughter's fast-pitch softball games when she was involved in the sport. "Anything your family is involved in, you pretty much get a free pass here," he says. "We just want everyone to get the job done."

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