By Ginny Mumm
Jodie Parnell, owner of 1 Hour Signs & More in Sudbury, Ont., finds he needs to work hard not only to deliver on the promise embedded in his company’s name, but also to be ready for whatever comes next.
“We’re always aiming for the highest-quality production in the shortest possible amount of time,” he says, “That said, you never know who’s going to walk in the door and what they’ll order.”
Indeed, Parnell’s shop has been visited by clients asking for everything from three-hour car wraps to massive runs of posters to immediate decals and lettering for a 15-m (50-ft) long boat.
“I think the next reality TV series should be Sign Shop,” he laughs.
Ready for anything
Appropriately enough, being prepared is one of Parnell’s guiding principles. He keeps his shop ready for almost anything with a production department anchored by a 1.6-m (64-in.) wide Roland VersaArt RS-640 four-colour piezoelectric ‘eco-solvent’ inkjet printer, two VersaCamm VS-series large-format inkjet printers with integrated contour cutting and two VersaUV LEF 0.5-m (20-in.) wide ‘benchtop’ ultraviolet-curing (UV-curing) light-emitting diode (LED) flatbed printers.
“All of these machines can use the same brand of inks and the same printheads, so we can provide consistent image quality,” says Parnell. “When a client comes in needing 30 to 40 banners, we just set up the machines and let them print away.”
While his business has grown steadily over the years, he has kept overhead costs low, maintaining a staff of only four full-time employees.
“We made the decision to bring in state-of-the-art equipment instead of hiring more people,” says Parnell. “That decision has really worked out well for us. The three wide-format printers can pump out a ton of graphics in an hour.”
From wraps to props
A member of the 1 Hour Signs network, Parnell’s shop serves a variety of small and medium-sized local businesses, educational institutions and civic organizations. His wide-format printing equipment is kept busy every day with wraps for vehicles, walls and windows, along with trade show displays and banners.
“It seems like more and more of our customers start their branding efforts with a wrap,” says Parnell. “Wrapping your windows and walls is a great way to showcase your brand, before moving onto vehicle graphics. And they are so cost-effective compared to other methods of advertising.”
In the last few years, 1 Hour Signs & More has also developed a new area of specialty in producing props for Ontario’s film and television industry. Among other benefits, clients in this burgeoning market value the shop’s ability to print metallic silver inks and a range of gold and bronze tones with its wide-format machines to create eye-catching effects on labels, decals and signage.
Parnell’s shop also specializes in printing trade show graphics, apparel and banners, as well as producing parking, wayfinding and compliance signage. In addition to working from internal and client designs, the company also prints collateral for other local graphic designers.
“Our printers produce clean, bright, vibrant, colourful graphics and all of our customers appreciate the difference,” says Parnell.