It always gets a little slow as the new year rolls into our tourist town, with many business owners opting to close until spring, or at least modify their schedule to coincide with the weekend visitors. With those schedule changes comes an unfortunate lull in many businesses owners self investment strategies. Some visionary business people recognize the opportunity to get our full attention in the off-season without having to compete with their peers that put off new signs until 'the season' is around the corner in May and June. We're pleased to have those customers- they have saved money for their new sign project, and have timed it very well- more on those cool projects in the coming weeks.

Today, I'm reviewing some of the projects we've kept busy with behind the scenes. Signs you'll never see on an Estes Park storefront, or even in this state. These are some of the projects that have served us well since their development many years ago- and we're happy to say they are all still generating off-season income to keep us a viable year round business.

One of my favorites is the Smokey Bear Fire Danger sign that we have shipped across the country over the last 15 years, since recreating a favorite sign of mine since childhood. I grew up around Conifer, Colorado- and if you know that area, near Indian Hills- where someone created a Smokey sign that had a moveable arm. The fire department would move the arm every week to show the current fire danger, and it always caught my eye when we would drive by. That idea- keeping a regular passer-by's attention was worth pursuing- so when I grew up (did I ever?), and had a sign shop, I created a new-fangled version (to quote Al McLaren my middle school math teacher). This new fangled version is made out of a super-strong aluminum composite panel, and is 'legitimate'. That means we pay the Forest Service to use an image that we created from an old Smokey poster to give our signs realistic life. If you Google Smokey Bear Fire Danger sign, we'll be there, and happy to say that we've been an affordable choice for this important message all over this great country. Mostly government agencies buying Smokey signs, with the occasional homeowners association. It's a small market, but it's working!

Many years ago while working with Toby Hale at the Estes Park Senior Center to create a viable fund raiser for their fledgling senior gathering spot, and help solve a house number problem I was acutely aware of from my ambulance staff perspective, we created a sign that could be marketed to every homeowner in the Estes Valley. It was a sign that would help identify homes, and raise a few dollars for the seniors. It would also take me out of selling to the customer directly, and by supplying the seniors with marketing materials and signs, seemed to be a pretty good relationship. Now so many years later, the seniors still order signs almost every week, and although the sign money didn't build the new center on 4th street, it might have helped in other areas. After seeing how well that program worked for the fund raising agency (the seniors) and us, we have sold signs through our House Number Fund Raiser across the country including as far East as Newton New Hampshire, and as far West as Hot Springs, Arizona (I guess this is a Colorado and East kind of thing). Most of the reflective blue, green and red house numbers you see in our area came out of our shop at some time in the last 18 years. [order a sign by calling the Senior Center, or by visiting our website]

These are just 2 of the projects that keep us busy when the local phone line isn't ringing- more to tell next time! Now, it's time to organize and stow the Christmas lights from the yard for next year. Oh, the exciting plans for next year are already underway, and they involve a certain sign shop creating display items with the CNC router, Lincoln welder and more- with only 51 weeks to go...