The CBS TV program Undercover Boss probably had some extra eyes watching in the St. Louis market Friday night. It was a chance to see how several local people, including the store manager of Creve Coeur's FASTSIGNS, fared in the national limelight.
FASTSIGNS CEO Catherine Monson took on the challenge of going undercover in an attempt to learn how the company treats employees and franchises. Her first stop was St. Louis, where she met Jenn Helferstay, who runs the sign and graphics manufacturer's Creve Coeur franchise.
Helferstay believed Monson, who went by another name on the broadcast, was being filmed for a reality program called Second Chances, and at least as it was presented on the show, Monson might not have earned a second chance based on that first impression. Before learning her true identity, Helferstay described Monson on the show as something of a "prima donna," who was distracted by a cat while measuring a potential job.
The pair then took measurements for the Manchester Road location of The Boxing Gym. Helferstay revealed that she'd come to the area to attend Lindenwood University on a bowling scholarship, she confided that she didn't see enough of her husband because she worked so much, and that she thought the company's email marketing looked like junk mail.
And then they went bowling. On the show, Monson learned that Helferstay's life advice was to "be passionate."
Monson then proceeded to visit several other Fastsigns facilities around the country, where she met other staff who persevered despite a variety of personal challenges.
At the end of the program, Monson brought all of the people she met on her undercover experiment together, under the guise of deciding if their apprentice would get another chance.
"Oh my God," Helferstay said as she learned the gig was up.
“It is very clear that you are driven,” Monson told her, adding that the company would be rolling out a new email marketing product. Monson said that she could learn a few things about work-life balance from Helferstay as well. Monson gave Helfserstay $10,000 to be used for a romantic getaway, along with $20,000 to chase her passions and dreams "even more."
“I’m freakin' excited,” Helferstay said on the show about being valued at such a level.
According to the closing credits, Helferstay and her husband will be spending part of this summer in Alaska.