Source: Chesterfield Observer Advertorial March 2020
In America’s great retail landscape, signs are ubiquitous. Some get lost in the commercial clutter, while others emerge as guiding lights, stars that shine through the darkness and beckon potential customers.
Across the James River, around the sweeping bend that takes southbound travels from Powhatan to Chesterfield along state Route 288, a softly illuminated “Vue” peeks out from a line of trees.
The Vue at Westchester, an upscale apartment complex with angled roof tops and seemingly endless windows sits atop a hill that overlooks 288. Clean white letters spelling “The Vue” are stacked vertically on the north side of one building, a border twist that hints at fashion and sleek environs.
Done right, a good sign becomes an identity that positions a business for success, explains Allen Twedt, managing partner at Superior Signs, the company that conceived, branded and fabricated the signage for The Vue at Westchester, which took about a year to complete.
“It doesn’t start with the sign,” says Twedt, a 41-year veteran in the business. “It starts with a conversation. We seek to discover how small business owners, nonprofit organizations, places of worship, and large corporations are trying to connect with their customers. Those conversations reveal a story, and each one is unique.”
Chesterfield-based Superior Signs has been helping businesses turn their brands into beacons – from the largest banks and retailers in the mid-Atlantic to the mom-and-pop restaurants just down the road – for more than 40 years.
Superior Sign’s founding partner, David Goad, got his start hand-lettering sings in his garage when he wasn’t motoring around Southside Speedway in his Late Model racecar. Goad started painting signs for Ukrop’s Super Markets in the 1980s, and the local grocer became his main sponsor in the racing circuit. Given that relations, Superior Signs fabricated and installed signage for the majority of all the Ukrop’s locations as the business exploded across metro Richmond.
Today, Superior Signs is one of the largest custom sign fabricators in the mid-Atlantic region. Their clients include cutting-edge shops and retailers, places like Sedona. Taphouse, Lazy Daisy, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, The Veil Brewing Co. and Burger Bach, along with larger corporations like Patient First and HCA Hospitals and longtime local businesses such as Puritan Cleaners, Virginia Credit Union, Pearson Auto Group and The Wilton Companies.
The company does small, single-location jobs – such as Extra Billy’s Smokehouse & Brewery in Midlothian – to large-scale production, including 185 branches for Atlantic Union Bank throughout Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina, and the recent Peebles conversion to Gordman’s, which includes more than 100 retail locations from Delaware to South Carolina. From storefronts to skyscrapers, from hand-lettering to high resolution LED displays, Superior Sign is a full-service design, manufacturing, installation, and service sign company, and its production facility on Willis Road features some of the most technically-skilled and innovative sign makers in the industry.
And Superior Signs is growing stronger by the day. In 2015, longtime sign-maker Henry Moore, who started Moore Sign Corporation in 1970 and later Holiday Signs in 1984, along with his son David Moore, and Allen Twedt, joined Goad at Superior Signs. Between them, the partners have more than 150 years of experience in the sign business.
Their Chesterfield connections run deep. They prefer to hire local – most of their 40-plus employees live in the county – and when they decide to build a new 18,000-square-foot building a couple of years ago, they purchased four acres next to Superior Sign’s original shop on Willis Road. It was important to the company, says Twedt, to invest in northern Jefferson Davis Highway.
“We love being in Chesterfield and are excited about the plans to improve the Jefferson Davis corridor, “ Twedt says. “Most of our team lives in Chesterfield and we have created high-paying jobs with excellent benefits. We believe in supporting local businesses and adding dollars to the local tax base to better support our community.”
A great business can often be judged by its customer, especially the customer who keeps coming back – like Chesterfield developer George Emerson, who hired Superior Signs to do two of his more recent apartment projects: The Vue at Westchester, and The Jane at Moore’s Lake on Jeff Davis just down the road.
“Henry Moore has done signs for me for more than 30 years,” Emerson says of Superior Signs’ veteran partner. “He puts his heart into every sign he builds.”
As in all industries, the technology is fast-moving and the options are seemingly endless. But some things remain the same.
“How many people do you have driving or passing by your door every day?” Posits Twedt. “How do you reach those people? The best way is with creative signage done right.”
It’s a simple, tried and true formula. One that Superior Signs has perfected.
“Behind every great sign is a great story,” Twedt says. “What’s your story?”