Follow-up: Brian Stoddard
Posted on Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
17,000 sq. ft.
First featured in SignCraft:
In most sign shops, there’s never enough space. Brian Stoddard had been running into that in a big way. His volume increased, he added staff—and eventually filled every inch of his 4000-sq.-ft. shop.
“Finally,” Brian says, “there were 12 of us in there. We were like rats in a maze. We were long overdue for a bigger shop. Before we moved we were losing jobs because we were 8 to 10 weeks out.”
Late last year, Brian moved into a much larger space—17,000 sq. ft. The work is going through the shop more smoothly and backlog is down to about six weeks.
The shop and staff size reflects on the change in Brian’s business since he was featured in the May/June 2006 issue of SignCraft. He’s still taking the same design-oriented approach in his work, but has moved more into electrical signage and bigger projects.
“We do a lot of electrical signs,” he says, “and we combine 3D and LED illumination on a lot of jobs. I’d say 80% of our work involves illumination now. In the past where we may have just done a storefront sign, now we do a complete façade treatment. We want to create a look for them—something unique.
“We just started a new division doing electric sign service and installation, too. It may sound strange, but we don’t have a digital printer. When we need that, we outsource it. A lot of our work doesn’t involve printed graphics—it’s a lot of routing and painting.”
With much more space, Brian has added a heated paint booth and a second welding station. Having the room to spread out is making the shop much more efficient. He’s added a full-time designer and a business development person to help with sales.
“Up until now,” Brian says, “most of our work came from referrals. Our website does a pretty good job, too. Now, though, we want to get more aggressive about bringing in new projects.”
Brian is now 48, which he says is “old enough that it’s not much fun being out in the cold up in a bucket truck anymore.” Most of his time is spent in design, sales and keeping the shop running smoothly. He’s looking forward to continuing to grow the business.
“We plan to stay with what we do best,” he says, “which is high-end design and fabrication. It’s an interesting part of the sign market, and it fits us well. We’re busy—and having fun doing it.”