Geraldton, Western Australia
Posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2018
Suncity Signs & Graphics
2100 sq. ft.
3 full-time, 2 part-time
Roland VS 640i, printer, Sign Easy 1600mm laminator, Mimaki CG60SL plotter, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW and Roland VersaWorks
and on Facebook at
Suncity Signs & Graphics sits about 250 miles north of Perth on the western-most coast of Western Australia, which is known for its beautiful beaches and spectacular landscapes. It’s not known for dense population—most of its one million square miles are sparsely populated. Shane Kenny’s shop has served the coastal town of Geraldton, which has about 40,000 residents, for the past seven years. Here’s what he told SignCraft about his business in a recent interview:
I think I saw my first SignCraft at about age 14. I got into the industry and completed my four- year apprenticeship in 2000. Wraps weren’t really a thing in our area back then. It was mostly cut vinyl, and there was still quite a bit of painting being done. Today there aren’t too many traditional signwriters who are still doing that in our area. Most of those guys have retired. I’m trained as a signwriter, but I don’t do enough of it to be what I would call a professional signwriter.
I worked outside the sign industry for a few years, then returned. Suncity Signs & Graphics was a part-time business from 2010 to 2013, then a full-time operation ever since. I started the business out of my shed at home then moved to our current location just over two years ago—and haven’t looked back.
It’s me; Nathan Brown, who is head designer and installer; Dylan Hallas, our second-year apprentice; Kaye Teede, who runs the office part-time; and Debra, my wife and “head bean-counter” as we like to call her. Debra is a Chartered Accountant, which comes in handy!
We have a front office that is 40-by-14-ft. The shop area is 40-by-40-ft. It works pretty well.
Most of our work comes from Geraldton and some very small surrounding country towns. The area we serve, however, covers roughly the same area as the states of California and Nevada and Oregon combined— but with a much, much smaller population.
We have become well known for vehicle signage. We do cut graphics, partial and full wraps, fleet graphics, trucking companies, race cars and sprint cars. We still do a lot of flat substrate type signage and shop fronts, though. Logo design and branding have also become a large part of our work.
We don’t do much by way of 3D signs or handcrafted letters—as much as we’d like to. We just don’t have a market for it here. I do a few hand-painted jobs every year, and they are usually on the larger side.
Our work seems to do the advertising for us. We don’t do much by way of paid advertising—we mainly use Facebook and Instagram. We’ve yet to finish our website. (One day, though!)
Cash flow, hands down, is still the biggest problem we have—like many small businesses. We’ve implemented a lot of things to counter this problem, such as getting deposits and having the payment terms for larger companies signed off on before the job begins. Even so, it sometimes still happens.
I’d like to see more quality work come out of our shop rather than quantity, more mind- blowing logo design and headturning vehicle wraps rather than safety signs or the like. Hiring another skilled designer or sign maker would be great, but that is very hard to do in our area.