By Blair Adams
Businesses come and go. However, when your roots date back a 100 years, you know you have done some things right along the way, and be confident your future, while not assured, is on a very strong footing. This is the case for Vernon, B.C. sign shop Wayside, which has weathered its fair share of storms throughout its storied history.
Sign Media Canada spoke with company owner Neil Perry, about Wayside’s past and what he sees as the future for his business, which has grown to become a nation-wide success.
Sign Media Canada (SMC): What is the history of the shop? When and where was it founded? How did you come up with the name for your business?
Neil Perry (NP): Wayside is currently celebrating 100 years in business. We started 1921 when Wayside Press opened its doors in Vernon. B.C. This kicked off our journey of excellence in client service, craftsmanship, and fine commercial printing. In the beginning, Wayside was solely a commercial printer servicing Vernon. Over the course of the last 100 years, we’ve expanded our business to service clients across Canada. In 2011, Wayside Printing became just ‘Wayside.’ The name change better reflected the new direction of the company. We are constantly looking for new opportunities to expand our services to our clients to meet their ever-changing needs in this modern and dynamic business world. In 2001, we expanded to include signs and displays and we have never looked back.
SMC: What makes your company unique?
NP: We have a high level of in-house expertise across the entire company. In our signage department alone, we have three employees who each previously owned their own sign shops.
Don Sproul owned his shop, Artworx Unlimited, for 18 years. First in Alberta, he then moved to B.C. His projects were primarily sandblasted wood, dimensional signs, vehicle pinstriping, and hand-lettering. In 2014, Wayside acquired Wilde Imagination Sign & Design, and owner Nancy Wilde joined our team. Her shop combined traditional sign making skills with modern signage techniques. In 2018, our current signage manager, Jeffery Hausberger, became part of our sign squad. He came to us all the way from South Africa where he owned his own sign company called Xtreme Inkworx. They did all kinds of things, from interior and exterior signage and vehicle and helicopter branding, to interior decorating and dye sublimation.
Our teams’ unique and diverse skillsets and backgrounds allow us to come up with innovative, customized, and out-of-the-box solutions for our clients. You will often hear, “What if we try this” or “What about that instead,” because we are always looking for the best solution for our clients’ and we stand behind what we do.
SMC: How large is the facility?
NP: Wayside has a total of 70 employees in print, signs, and tech in four locations—two in Vernon, and one each in Kamloops and Salmon Arm. We also have account representatives in Kelowna and Vancouver. Our sign shop currently has 10 employees and is located in Vernon near the main plant. The shop’s total size is 1525 m2 (5000 sf).
SMC: What type of signage does your shop primarily install?
NP: We install everything we do. From small vinyl letters on doors and windows, to signs located four-storeys high on buildings. We have our own boom truck that can reach 10.6 m (35 ft). This allows us to do installs on buildings without having to rent any additional equipment, and we are able to pass those savings along to our clients. Because of this, we have total control over all the projects that come through the shop, from the smallest to the largest job. This helps keep our turnarounds quick and meet our delivery dates. These are the kind of things that are so critical and important to our clients.
SMC: What or who do you attribute your success when it comes to installations/
NP: We have the best two installers in the province, Ian and Jed.