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From win to West: Auburn man launches design, marketing business


E.J. Onori is the owner and creative director of Digital West Marketing in Auburn.

An Auburn native has turned his first-place finish at a local business competition into a new local marketing and graphic design company.

This summer, E.J. Onori launched Digital West Marketing, a home business that takes his 10 years of experience in graphic design and uses it to tailor marketing solutions to the handful of local clients he now serves. That could mean creating logos, social media strategies, company literature and even the swag his clients hand out at special events, he told The Citizen on Wednesday.

Onori launched Digital West because he believes many small, local businesses could market themselves more efficiently, he said.

"A lot of small businesses don't understand their target audience and market in areas that aren't returning any business to them," he said. "If you buy an ad in a phone book, you're probably not advertising where your customers are looking, so you're kind of spinning your wheels. A lot of people want lawn signs, but the business they want to attract isn't called to action from that."

A 2005 graduate of Auburn High School, Onori went on to earn degrees at Cayuga Community College and Canisius College. His graphic design career began at FASTSIGNS in Syracuse, and then A&M Graphics in Auburn. As he began looking to launch his own business, he participated in the 2018 Cayuga Business Pitch Competition organized by the Auburn chapter of SCORE, the Cayuga Economic Development Agency and the Onondaga Small Business Development Center. Onori's pitch for the business that would become Digital West took first place, and a $1,000 prize.

With more than 6,000 projects in his graphic design portfolio, Onori filed his DBA for Digital West in May. It's a one-man show, and its owner and creative director wants it to stay that way for awhile. That's because Onori wants to be available 24/7, he said, to meet any and all needs of his clients. He currently has about a dozen, and most importantly to him, they're all local. 

"There are a lot of times people don't give enough respect to local stuff," he said.

For more information on Digital West Marketing, visit

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.


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I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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