How the newest digital printing technology is helping sign shops thrive

A full-service shop, O’Hare Signs produces interior and exterior signage with its Roland DG TrueVIS wide-format
digital printer.

Which digitally printed products that are “hot” right now?

TB: We have been doing a lot of outdoor decoration of building and architectural features, such as walls and art installations. The more people see what we have done, the more we get requests to apply graphics in different places. The sky is the limit and I figure if you can imagine it, we will probably be able to decorate it.

AJ:  Vehicle graphics is one of our more popular products and demand is increasing as businesses seek additional branding and exposure. We provide decals all the way up to full wraps for all vehicle types, including fleet and commercial vehicles, as well as for individuals who want to customize their vehicles. We also get a lot of requests for informational signage like construction signs, information boards, fire department connection (FDC) signs, sandwich boards, and banners. More customers are also asking for interior and exterior wayfinding signs as well as promotional signage.

 

How do you differentiate your company from your competitors?

TB: We have a very healthy competitive scene in Kitchener, Waterloo, and the surrounding area. We all seem to get along and have worked out our own niches, however, sometimes we are pitted against each other and enjoy the contest. As we have invested in our capabilities, staff, and equipment, we seem to have risen over many of our competitors in the “Traditional Sign” category. Our involvement in our community and charitable initiatives also helps to spread the word, along with our presence online and on social media.  

AJ:  There are a ton of sign shops in and around Edmonton. At O’Hare Signs, we strive for excellent quality, and having modern equipment certainly helps with that. Seeing our customers’ companies grow is our goal. We try to provide outstanding customer service to all our clients, be they a large company or someone who just walked in off the street. We always express our gratitude for them choosing us, a small local sign company.

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At the corner of two busy streets in Edmonton, O’Hare Signs is poised for growth.

How has your shop fared during the pandemic?

TB: It was scary for a while but with all the work we did making signs for the city and local businesses as well as sneeze guards and floor graphics, I often said, “The only thing saving us from the pandemic is the pandemic.”  Looking back now, it is hard to remember how uncertain everything seemed. We kept the business open with one employee at a time to answer phones while the rest worked remotely, but we have a great and loyal team and we all pitched in to make it work.

AJ: Our shop actually grew during the pandemic. We saw the opportunity to expand into protective barriers and floor graphics and we boomed. Our existing customers came to us to keep their businesses safe, and we provided them with the products they needed. Word got around about our work, and we gained a ton of new customers and contracts.

 

The future is hard to predict, but what do you think lies ahead for your company?

TB: We are in desperate need of more space, so that is on the horizon. We are also seeing more demand in the digital space for some of our electronic offerings so will be increasing our staffing there. Many municipalities are enacting standards to avoid typical acrylic backlit signs and we are perfectly positioned to capitalize on this trend with our fabrication abilities and print quality.  

Our slogan is, “We Look Good When You Look Good.” We believe we have the staff and state-of-the-art equipment needed to help keep our clients looking good.

AJ:  We want to make O’Hare Sign a one-stop shop for branding and growing a business. O’Hare has already expanded a great deal over the last three years, adding modern digital printing equipment and broadening our range of products. Darrell and I see many areas where O’Hare can continue to grow. One main focus is to increase our connections and customer relationships. The more people see our work, the more people we can help.

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We are up for any challenge. We cannot advance if we are not learning as well, so we encourage new ideas and stay current on the latest technologies and techniques. O’Hare Sign is committed to helping our clients succeed.

Ginny Mumm is a freelance consultant for digital inkjet printer/cutter provider Roland DGA. For more information, visit www.rolanddga.com.

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