Bob and Teresa Kaschak: The evolution of a custom sign business
Posted on Monday, April 24th, 2023
For the Kaschaks, their sign business has been a three-decade work-in-progress. It has evolved from a part-time basement sign shop to a full-time custom sign business in a 2,000-sq.-ft. shop that they designed and built out. It shares the same property as their home in the Adirondack Mountains in northernmost reaches of New York State.
Bob started making signs in the early nineties. Carving redwood signs was a natural step from his lifelong interest in woodworking, and one sign led to another. Soon he was in the sign business, alongside his daytime career as a jet engine engineer. Before long, he quit to make signs full time. He and his work were featured in the September/October 2005 issue
Over the years, Teresa did the bookkeeping and helped out when she could. In 2021, she joined Bob full time in the sign business.
“It’s working better with two of us here full time,” she says. “When I was working my corporate job, it was sometimes hard for us to keep up with everything. Now we have the capacity to grow. As married business partners, it was important for us to identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I’ve spent my working life in accounting and human resources, so it’s natural that I do the books, field calls, set appointments, prepare quotes and invoices, and communicate with clients.
“I don’t attend the initial client meetings – this is not my strength. I tend to get too excited. Bob is an attentive listener and a natural educator. This is his strength, so he focuses on sales. He does most, but not all, of the design work and the more creative detail work and gilding of gold leaf.
“We both paint and create tool paths for the router as well as many other shared responsibilities. I joke on installation days that having upper arm strength wasn’t a prerequisite of this marriage, but here I am.”
The new shop
Name: Artisan Sign and Design
Location: Peru, New York
Shop size: 2000 sq. ft.
5×10 ShopBot CNC router
On Facebook as ArtisanSignandDesign
In 2017 they were outgrowing their basement-and-garage shop and wanted to add equipment. They found a piece of property that had a home and a 36-by-56-ft. steel building on it. It was just a shell—open to the rafters and a dirt floor. They bought it.
“We built the shop out just the way we wanted it.” Bob said. “We cleaned it out, poured a floor and insulated it very well. We have a 15-by-19-ft. office and paint room where I can do spray painting. I only spray latex paints but it’s good to have a room for that, separate from the shop.