Signs of the Times - July 2012 - (Page 50)

An Electric-Sign Industry Snapshot A trio of companies answer similar questions So are things getting better?companies: Lynn Rogers, whom you ask. So we asked the presidents/CEOsFederal It probably depends on of three prominent electric-sign Rogers Sign Co. (Milton, DE); Kevin Stotmeister, Heath Sign Co. (Oceanside, CA); and Paul Gable, Gable Signs & Graphics, Inc. (Baltimore). We isolated some factors that influence activity and presented all three with virtually the same questions. Next month, we will present a similar feature after we talk with some non-electric, sign companies. ■ Lynn Rogers • Rogers Sign Co. • Milton, DE What performance indicators do you see that suggest improvement in the economy ? Comparing now to this time in 2011, the economy has improved. But I believe several more years are needed for the economy to fully recover. Single-family housing construction grew in Fall 2011, and building permits are up 30% in lower Delaware. Abundant subdivision home and lot inventory is slowly selling as property values often are down 50%. Consequently, very few new subdivisions have started construction, but developers have begun the several-year process of due diligence and engineering on potential new subdivisions. The commercial-sign industry has taken off in a big way in 2012. What began in mid-2011 now has reached a fever pitch. Major retailers with capital-improvement projects on hold for several years have moved forward, and new commercial construction is occurring statewide. Credit has been a big problem for would-be purchasers. To what extent has leasing and/or private financing alleviated the situation? Many people ruined their credit ratings during the downturn. Many companies chose the cardinal sin 50 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / JULY 2012 / of paying their bills and meeting payroll by using job deposits to keep going. I call that “the flush mode”. You’re inside holding on to the seat, trying to keep from spiraling down the pipe. Banks have adopted much-higher equity ratings for lending money for infrastructure or new construction. Businesses that retained good credit turned to leasing. Some companies even panicked and turned to private funding at high interest as a quick fix, which may put them under. Leasing at low interest has been good for investing in new sign technology. My father used to tell me: “Son, you are not in business, you are in overhead. It’s your job to not get in Over Your Head.” How true! What technological innovations do you see that will benefit the on-premise sign industry the most? Number one is electronic message centers, where permitted. End users that invest in EMCs and use them to their fullest potential see a minimum 20% increase in gross receipts. LED illumination in the traditional electric-sign cabinets, either new or retrofitted from fluorescent, saves significant energy for retailers, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Replacing neon border tubing with LEDs also provides substantial ROI, in energy savings as well as service calls. Nearly all

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - July 2012

Signs of the Times - June 2012
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Vehicle Graphics Contest Extension
New Products
The American Sign Museum Opens!
An Electric-Sign Company Snapshot
By Print or by Paint
Extreme Installs
Lessons for the Boss
The Value of Signs
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - July 2012