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Found 3 results

  1. Though most of us on this board here are American, America is also a very powerful idea. Many have fought for it, died for it, and died trying to spread the idea of America around the world, that idea of which is individual Freedom, Liberty, and the "Pursuit of Happiness" It’s an idea where capitalism and entrepreneur-ism thrives, where risk taking can be rewarded and it’s where the individual can make something out of nothing, or start with nothing and build an empire based on their own individual efforts. America is an idea that is duplicated all over the world. I would like to start a new series of threads just like this one, so we'll call this one.....part I SignTech Electrical Advertising I have always said that I truly love this industry and I will never turn my back on it. One of the new found pleasures that comes with our new enterprise here on the Sign Syndicate of electric sign supplies is the part where I get to visit other sign shops. Call me a sign nerd, but I personally like to stroll through sign shops because I like to see the production, the transportation and finished products that are stored in the warehouses. That's probably because I also have a background in Electric Sign Production & Installation One particular national sign company that I visit on occasion is SignTech Electrical Advertising based here in my hometown of San Diego. Even their website name says it all http://www.signtechusa.com/ or Signtech “USA” There are so many sign companies with so many stories that started out with the American idea. This is one of those unique companies with a story, and a story that stand out because it's filled with herritage and tradition that is preserved by those that started it. I got a call one day or maybe it started out as an email, I can’t remember which. In either case the gentlemen on the other end was “Corky” Shauer, owner and founder of Signtech which he started in 1984....But Corky’s roots go much deeper than 1984. In fact, he learned from his father, and now Corky’s son and siblings are now involved (3rd generation) along with a 4th generation now participating in the family business. Corky on his fathers truck to working in his sign shop He introduced himself and let me know he was a member of the Sign Syndicate site for some time and that he needed some assistance with some of the site functionality. I gladly helped him out and before getting off the phone he invited me to stop by the next time I was around his area so he could give me a tour of his new building he was in the process of on his property, I replied that would gladly. On the next delivery that I had to make with his company I stopped in to see him. He introduced me to his son David and we discussed topics like Neon & LED testing, the LED world and the National Sign Company Review Forum. He jokingly inquired if their company had any bad reviews from subs. He took me out in back to their new building where the concrete flooring hasn’t even been layed yet, we had to step between the rebar and I could see all the construction workers looking at us with stressful eyes as we strolled through with no hardhats. I could see their teeth gritting but what were they gonna do or say? It was Corky, and he was going to stroll through HIS new building that was being merged with his existing. The new added building to their lot I’ve met quite a few owners of sign companies, big and small. Some are energetic, some are tired, to some it’s just a business and a way to make a living. Corky is quite different. You would seriously think that he just started this company a couple of years ago. He has the energy of a kid, and he’s very proud of his company and the work that they do. Something he said to me stuck with me. He was showing me around, and I was in awe already as it was. But at one point we were in a their old Neon plant which was in th emidst of being cleared out. There were transformers everywhere of all manufacturers, sizes and makes laying everywhere, total dismay. He had his back to me and I could see that he was looking at the room probably in a way that it once was before the construction and more than likely in full swing & production. He said “you know...I don’t know how my business grew so fast.....it just did”. I’ve always wondered about that transition from a one man operation to becoming a national. It must come fast sometimes. When you see what they do along with Corky’s passion, his energy, and his drive....it’s no wonder his business blew up. Some of Signtech’s biggest accounts are Chase, Wells Fargo along with some of the largest theme parks tourists visit on a regular basis. Sometimes their running three shifts everyday. Those forklifts are always moving without rest. He knows no business is perfect by any means, and he won't tell you his is, but he wants to always get it right and he’s REAL big on quality. There are a lot of aspects that make Signtech real successful but in my visit I saw and observed one of the reasons. A lot of family works there, and it’s not just Corky’s. There is a lot of different families from the fabricators, installers, and sales crew. That tells you something, “tradition”. There are a lot of happy workers at Signtech, and a lot have worked there for a very long time, and some have been in this industry for a very long time. Terry Kitaen Sr. Account Executive (1960's while employed for California Neon Products working on the El Cortez Hotel) New phase almost complete SignTech is very "Old School" with a big mix of "New School" that comes into play with his son David taking on a large part of their new building phase. Which I got more detail on with the second tour I was given. If you ever get the chance to visit their facility, you'll have to see their conference room. It basically hangs above suspended over their fabrication floor where you can see their CNC Water & Router tables in fabrication production mode along with the fabricators creating, and assembling away. As a potential client to be in that room, discussing your project...it's VERY impressive! With their new building which is bottom floor production, 2nd floor office, administration & conference rooms they have probably the cleanest, most immaculate settings I've ever seen. I wish I had taken my own pictures when I was given the tour, these are from facebook. I wish I would have thought about taking some pictures because their restrooms alone are better than any top 5 star hotel or restaurant that I've EVER seen. You would think that there would be a gentlemen by the faucet there to hand you a towel to dry your hands. Hey, you never know.....their not done yet! Another impressive aspect to their newly added building is their stairwell. Stairwell??? I know. But they have a very LARGE stairwell that is basically been turned into a museum filled with the long standing traditions of our trade. Corky & David both have it planned to be filled wall to wall with display cases and since the building is a steel frame the walls will be dressed with the vintage double sided neon signs of days past that will protrude from the walls to the center of the room. They just might give the American Sign Museum a run one day! SignTech is a site to see if you get the lucky opportunity. Maybe I'll get the chance to update this with pictures of my own. Some dream, some contemplate about what they want to do in life, or where they want to go... Corky had a vision and an idea for himself long ago, the most important thing he did....was act on it.
  2. Merita, curvy roadside icon, finds home at Morse Museum http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/os-joy-wallace-dickinson-1116-20141116-column.html hen news broke in late 2012 that Orlando's venerable Merita Bread Bakery would close, reaction ranged from concern for workers losing their jobs to questions about the fate of the huge Merita sign overlooking Interstate 4 — a Central Florida icon since the 1960s. Seen from I-4 near the Kaley exit, the large, curvy red letters spelling "Merita" were long accompanied by the homey smell of baking bread, and by a clock that supplied drivers with the time and temperature, too. It was the perhaps the largest surviving sign designed by the Bob Galler, a true artist of neon who died this past August at 84. It's fitting that, like some of Galler's other creations, the Merita sign will soon reside in the collections of the Charles Hosmer Museum of American Art in Winter Park. If all goes as planned, the sign will be relocated this month to the Morse warehouse, where it will join Galler signs for Ronnie's and Gary's Duck Inn restaurants. Artist of our landscape When Galler retired in late 2006 as design vice president of Orlando's Graphic Systems Inc., he signed off on more than a half-century of shaping Central Florida's visual landscape. By the way, when he designed the Merita sign in the 1960s, it bore a round tick-tock clock at the top, instead of the digital display added later. In addition to his work for Ronnie's and Gary's, Galler's credits include well-known signs for McNamara Pontiac, Church Street Market, NASCAR and Walt Disney World. He devised the 1980s version of Orlando's downtown Christmas star that's still in use as the center of the current decoration. The McKean legacy Galler was great fun to talk with about his work because he genuinely loved it, a trait he shared with the late Hugh McKean, who became interested in commercial signs while director of the Morse — a museum most closely identified with the elegant stained-glass creations of Louis Comfort Tiffany. McKean's last sign acquisition before his death in 1995 was the neon banner that hung above Ronnie's in Orlando until the restaurant closed that same year. In 1990, when McKean saved the large neon sign for Orlando's Orange Court Motor Lodge, he told the Sentinel he'd been acquiring signs since the mid-1970s. Most were modest emblems for Winter Park stores, such as the red wooden sign from Cottrell's, Park Avenue's lost and lamented five-and-dime. The Orange Court sign, glowing with coral, green, and orange neon and 115 blinking incandescent bulbs, was McKean's first sign acquisition beyond Winter Park. Signs of community After McKean's death, the Morse continued to make a home for neon icons that otherwise would probably have been destroyed. In 2001, its collection added the sign for Gary's Duck Inn, the Orange Blossom Trail eatery that served locals and visitors for almost 50 years. "It's part of who we are as a community," museum spokeswoman Catherine Hinman said of the Gary's sign. "We're happy to give it a safe home." Providing that home is no small undertaking. Not only are signs such as Merita immense, but they also require restoration that's hard to come by these days. Technicians and materials are scarce. Still, a future display of the signs remains a "continuing hope as we think of the future of the museum," Director Laurence J. Ruggiero has said. When McKean, himself an artist and a former Rollins College president, began acquiring signs, he acknowledged that some art collectors might not understand the appeal. "When we collected our Tiffany, they didn't accept it either, McKean said in 1990, referring to how unfashionable Tiffany glass was to the art world when he and his wife, Jeannette Genius McKean, began building their collection. "We do what we think an American museum should do," McKean said of the Morse. As for the sign collection, "We think this is lively. It isn't self-conscious. It comes right out of society, right out of our people."
  3. Here's a good story http://www.dailytexanonline.com/2013/08/29/neon-artist-helps-restore-roadhouse-relics-mural
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