From shining shoes to taking on odd jobs in his youth, Pinnington did everything he could to help his family survive. He said the military is the best thing that ever happened to him because it helped him organize his natural drive and prepared him to build his career into something better.
“After the military, I went into bodyguarding in London, Los Angeles, then Las Vegas, where I went into multi-level marketing,” said Pinnington. “I needed marketing materials right away and couldn’t find anyone to deliver printing when I needed it. That was in 2008, during the recession. I realized there was a niche to fill because there were probably other people frustrated and looking for a printer. I decided to go into same-day printing because everyone in Vegas needs something now.”
In the beginning, without a shop or printer, Pinnington went to work building a customer base. He identified businesses that needed printing, wrote up orders, partnered with established companies to do the printing, then personally hand-delivered rush jobs himself. When the opportunity arose, he leased a space and launched with just one employee, growing to a team of five today.
The company holds several certifications including Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Airport Concessions DBE (ACDBE), Small Business Enterprise (SBE), and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). Several organizations including local chambers of commerce, the Small Business Administration, and noted publications have recognized Pinnington with more than a dozen honors and awards for small business and entrepreneurial excellence. Three years ago he launched a second company, AA Custom T-shirts, offering screen-printing, direct garment, and embroidery.
“We went through a couple of years of headaches because it is hard work. If you want to be successful you’ve got to work hard,” he explained.
Pinnington learned early on that, aside from delivering excellent service, the most important part of building a business is relationships. He grew his company by networking everywhere, starting early each morning, and late into the evening.
While networking he discovered Clark County’s small business training program, enrolled, and found it to be a valuable resource for making new connections. For more than a decade, the County’s small business training programs have included mentoring and relationship-building activities designed to help suppliers grow their businesses and compete for government contracts.
“It got me in the door of doing business with Clark County and taught me how to try to get business with the County, I can approach them without feeling intimidated,” Pinnington explained.
He added, “The program is good for any small business looking for knowledge and the connections you need to grow a business. There were struggles I had, that other businesses in the program had experienced, and hearing from those business owners helped me. We were able to get knowledge from people who are actually running a business.”
Asked about the best business advice he has ever received, Pinnington said it is the advice that has helped his company continue to do well throughout the pandemic.
“What I would say is, make sure you have an accountant to make sure your work is in order. It will make your life easier when you need to apply for financial assistance and hard times hit. Know what your limitations are and partner with people who specialize in other areas like accounting, so you can focus on your strengths. Be in a position to survive if you need financial help during the next crisis. I am happy that I can continue to help my employees.”
Pinnington said he still gets notifications of business opportunities from the County and his company just landed a big order from someone who learned about him through a County small business database.
The County's current small business training program, SBOP, has paused classes until further notice to ensure adequate resources are directed toward meeting critical COVID-related needs in our community. The Purchasing and Contracts team remains committed to helping businesses that have questions about working with the County. Please email your questions to countypurchasing@ClarkCountyNV.gov or call (702) 455-2897.