Western Sign Co. Evolves Over Time Over 5 Decades
FAIRFIELD – If you’ve been a longtime Fairfield resident then you know there are a handful of local businesses that have truly stood the test of time.
Dave’s Giant Hamburgers, Joe’s Buffet and EDCO Transmissions are a few that come to mind.
What you may not realize, however, is that nestled behind Allan Witt Park, just one block from West Texas Street, Western Sign Co. has served the community for over 50 years and is the creator of many of the iconic storefront signs. we have come to know over the years.
Western Sign Co., located at the corner of Woolner Avenue and Enterprise Drive, is the epitome of America’s small business success story.
Founded in 1971 by Rudy Urban, a creative and outgoing immigrant from Weisbaden, Germany, the company’s history is as heartwarming as it is impressive.
Urban, already a Fairfield entrepreneur in the late 1960s with two downtown businesses, Rudy’s Wigs and Urban’s Books & Cards, began making after-hours posters in the back of the wig store.
He began to have an increasing number of customers who wanted to buy his handwritten designs. In no time he opened Western Sign Co. and began a career that would span the next 40 years.
Rudy’s easy-going way of dealing with people, combined with his artistic talents, has enabled a company to find clients through word of mouth and keep them coming back again and again.
Urban’s only daughter, Holly, started working at the sign store in 1986. Working side by side with her father, she has learned over the years the intricacies of sign layout and design. Quickly learning to use sign design software became his strong suit as his father’s hand-drawing skills began to fade amid new developments in computer graphics and vinyl lettering in the industry. the late 1980s.
As time went on, Holly had a family of her own and now a third generation began to grow up at the Sign Shop.
Holly’s son Kyle started helping his grandfather set up signs from a young age and quickly developed a knack for the design and manufacturing process in the sign industry. Even as a young adult, Kyle started working at Western Sign Co. and began to feel that no matter what happened in the years to come, he wanted Western Sign Co. to stay in the family for many years to come. many generations.
When Rudy neared retirement, in the fall of 2011, Kyle Urban bought the business from his grandfather and he and his mother, Holly, began to refresh the already thriving business, but with a new lease of life. ‘spirit.
The industry had changed a lot over the past 40 years, and a lot at Western Sign Co. needed a fresh start with a younger outlook.
The mother-son duo decided to embrace more modern sign-making methods, including new printers and new equipment. From the way they handled their bookkeeping to computer-aided design capabilities, they slowly began to update the inner workings of the way they conducted their day-to-day operations.
They have always maintained the work ethic and one-on-one relationship building that Rudy had instilled in his daughter and grandson over the years.
Some of the changes shocked Rudy at first, but over the years Kyle and Holly are now receiving kudos from their retired mentor for their business acumen. He comes to visit him almost every day and occasionally meets an old friend or longtime customer of Western Sign Co. who is always delighted to see him at the store.
Over the years he joked that you wouldn’t get rich being a sign guy, but you can still be proud of the work you do. Kyle and Holly agree with him on this point.
“It’s a lasting legacy of our family and our business that we can drive anywhere in town and see our signs still in place for decades,” said young Urban.
Every project is undertaken with a desire not only to please their clients, but also to meet the high expectations Kyle and Holly set for their own work.
“We are proud of each and every one of our clients’ projects and we appreciate the opportunity they have given us to bring their signage work to Western Signs,” said Kyle Urban.
They pride themselves on providing high quality, attractive signs that help new and established businesses draw attention to themselves. As Rudy always used to say, “A business without a sign is a sign of a non-business.”
Kyle noted that they pride themselves on using only the highest quality materials available in the industry and only use products backed by the manufacturer.
One of the things Western Sign Co. is good at is making the process of designing, manufacturing and installing commercial signs as easy as possible. They are good at demystifying the entire process, including obtaining planning and building permits, which can seem quite intimidating to the average retail customer.
Over the years, the company has accumulated a considerable number of loyal and loyal customers.
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” Holly said proudly. “We are grateful to the people we work with every day. They are the glue that holds our business together and keeps us coming back stronger year after year. “
This year marks Western Sign Co.’s 50th anniversary and they have no plans to slow down anytime soon.
Western Sign Co.
• Address: 1755 Woolner Ave.
• Telephone: 707-422-6011
• Website: www.westernsignco.com