Denver, North Carolina
Posted on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
Jake Lettering & Design
1200 sq. ft.
Jake and Janet Flurer
Roland TruVIS VG-540 printer/cutter
And on Facebook as Jake Lettering
When I was in high school back in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, I had an art teacher who also happened to letter helmets for race car drivers, including Mario Andretti. I would hang out after school and watch him. He gave me a few brushes and got me started.
I graduated from high school in 1977 and I started doing race cars. John Gregory had a shop there building race cars and gave me my first car to letter. Soon I was doing three cars a week.
A few years later, I added a vinyl cutter and started doing more sign work along with the race cars and pinstriping. Eventually I opened a sign shop.
I was in business in Nazareth until 2007, doing commercial signs and truck lettering along with my race car work. During that time, I also got deeply involved with racing radio-controlled cars. Janet, my wife, and I traveled to the races and would come to North Carolina three times a year for them. I was racing for a company out of California that was eventually bought by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. I got to know Tony, who also lived in North Carolina.
In 2007, we were ready to leave Pennsylvania. We liked the North Carolina weather, and our health insurance was less expensive here. That was a factor, since Janet has MS. We sold the business and moved to Denver, North Carolina.
I worked at a shop for a couple years, then we opened our own shop. At 1200 sq. ft., it’s a bit small, but we make it work. We do a mix of commercial signs, vehicles and some pinstriping. We do a fair amount of printing for our corporate customers.
We also do a lot of work for police departments. They like our designs, and some of that may come from doing race cars all these years. You learn how to make a car look like it’s going fast when it’s sitting still.
Janet does a lot of the application and printing projects—right now she’s running the laminator. I deal with most of the customers, and do the design work, lettering and striping. She also takes care of all the book work and ordering materials. That really lightens the load and lets me focus on getting the work out.
I’ve always liked the flexibility that I have in the sign business. If I want to take the afternoon to play some golf, I can—then I’ll work that night to get the signs done. I really enjoy the RC car racing, and I do wraps for RC cars and award plaques for the events.
There are a lot of street rod shops here, and a lot of very good street rod builders. I do plenty of pinstriping on street rods. I also do vintage wooden speedboats for a company nearby that restores them. It’s mostly gold leaf work on these beautiful mahogany boats.
It’s a good mix of interesting sign work and pinstriping—along with RC car racing and golf. We have good customers and get to do some nice work, plus we can break it up by doing some of the fun stuff. It works well.