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It's a sign of the times: Bradford business owner uses billboard to spread cheer, positivity during pandemic

The man behind Bradford’s first digital billboard says he was always taught to help others facing difficult situations
Mark Snaper of Eye Candy Ads. Submitted.

Bradford business owner Mark Snaper is passionate about helping others and enjoys giving back to the community through the use of his digital billboard sign on the east end of town.

Over the past year, he has developed several free initiatives for residents of Bradford to take advantage or including birthday messages, a youth entrepreneur program and various colouring contests. 

The 32-year-old from Richmond Hill has always had connections to the Bradford community as his father has owned the building at 121 Bridge Street since 1992.  

Snaper describes being born into a very motivated and ‘forward-looking family’. His father practiced law and his mother was a graduate from the Royal Conservatory of Music and is an award-winning piano and theory teacher.

“I learned from both my parents that it was up to [us] to help… another person who was facing difficult situations,” he said. “I volunteered to go with my father on his Heart and Stroke Foundation canvasing, [and] I also joined a number of youth programs which had, as their perspective, charitable and well-meaning causes.”

From an early age, he was always curious about the world and over the years has travelled to over 40 different countries. Throughout his travels, he attended many music festivals. He also met his current girlfriend, who is from Norway.

At age 21, Snaper graduated from Seneca College and became a real estate agent. But he always had a passion for marketing and advertising.

“I started researching the advertising markets and attended a local advertising tradeshow which sparked my interest in making it a full-time career,” explains Snaper. “My father was interested in establishing a connection between my dream and the building that he owned in Bradford. [So], I applied for a building permit and an approval for construction for the first third-party digital billboard in Bradford.”

In February of 2020, Snaper launched his new billboard advertising business, “Eye Candy Ads”.  Last year he was nominated by the Bradford Board of Trade (BBT) for six different awards including the Business Excellence Award, Community Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, Start Up Business Award, and People’s Choice Award.

Snaper has been a business man since he was just 10 years old, selling Pokemon cards to friends.

“I would love to trade them, sell them and buy them with friends and different people I met,” remembers Snaper. “My father took notice and lent me the money to purchase my own stand at a local cards show where I learned the ins and outs of being that young entrepreneur that I consider myself today!”

“To date, we have had over 150 [birthday] submissions which have been up on the digital billboard and we received countless applause,” notes Snaper.

Snaper has also donated sign space to help local teen Daleyn MacIsaac to help in her seatch for a kidney donor.

“I would like to thank the many sponsors who have not only taken the time, but have also made the effort to host these various campaigns that draw attention to what I consider very important causes," he said.

Snaper is in the midst of obtaining approval from the town to install another digital billboard in Bradford.

“I am looking forward to engaging my future customers with opportunities of low-cost, custom designed advertisements for them to grow and prosper in the coming years,” he says.

“I want to thank everybody that put their faith in me and used me for their advertising campaigns because if it wasn’t for the merchants and professionals in Bradford, my dream of establishing a media company would have not been possible,” Snaper says. “I would like to thank the online paper for their support and the Town of Bradford Council members for giving me the opportunity to make all of the above possible.”

He adds, “my philosophy was always live life from the inside out. To translate that, what I am saying is I live from my heart and my thoughts of kindness and charity towards the benefit of others.”