It is testament to the quality of workmanship created by BWG business stalwart eSigns Canada that approximately 30 to 40 per cent (if not more!!) of all the retail and institutional signage developed over the past decade throughout the municipality of Bradford West Gwillimbury was designed, printed/built and installed by this family owned and operated local printing firm.
A number of key municipal buildings, including the BWG library, as well as countless local businesses of all shapes and sizes, have the handiwork of eSigns Canada adorning the inside and/or outside of their operations (many examples are available to view at the company’s website, www.esignscanada.ca), offering those who pass by enticing, eye-catching designs.
The firm also boasts a number of regional and national accounts, with projects extending in a horseshoe shape around the top of the GTA.
Founder and President Gary Brickell said that what is now eSigns Canada has changed and evolved since its humble beginnings back in 1985, at his then-home in Newmarket. But those changes have been the result of foresight, wise investments and a focus on retaining the core values of the business, which is keeping it in the family, finding a niche that they can excel in, and seeking quality of business over unrestricted growth of business.
The company’s prosperity is based on staying ahead of the curve technologically and offering excellence in both the products offered and the service provided. Brickell said unlike many other companies who are driven by the harsh demands of quarter-to-quarter profits and locked in growth projections, eSigns is more than willing to presciently and effectively reinvest the fruits of their hard work into the best new processes and production equipment to allow them to work even more dynamically and efficiently. The better they can operate, the more business they can attract without having to constantly increase their square footage or employment roster.
After becoming fascinated with the first digital/electronic sign-making equipment, Brickell purchased some in 1985, and set up in Newmarket. Realizing there was an untapped market for the latest in sign-making technology, what was then called Instant Custom Signs began soon became a burgeoning business throughout the region.
“We soon expanded to a chain of printing storefronts based on the model we developed at home. We became the first real franchise of print shops in the country. There really wasn’t anything like it until we came along,” he said, adding that at one point there were seven locations, employing 35 people.
“After I sold the business, many of those stores stayed in business, but under different names.”
By 1992, Brickell’s business model pivoted somewhat, as the company became a de facto school of sign making and entrepreneurship, under the banner Sign Master Training, which would train would-be sign shop owners on the latest equipment and techniques. More than 200 business owners learned the tricks of the trade, including how to stay current with technology and also how to keep the overhead low, from Brickell and his team (which is comprised solely of family members, including son Jesse who is the master sign maker, son-in-law Gary Muncey, who is the lead designer, as well as a daughter-in-law and granddaughter.)
In 2001, the Brickell family pulled up stakes and moved to a lush farmstead just north of the urban portion of BWG and built a large house that also encompassed the sign equipment shop. As it did for many other businesses, the tragedy of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and the ensuing economic uncertainty, caused Brickell to pause and rethink how he wanted to operate his sign enterprise.
Talking it over with family, they collectively decided that there was no appetite for re-opening a printing training centre, and that the most logical course of action would be that they would go back to their roots and get back to the basics of being a full-service signage company.
Staying true the tenets of offering excellence and dynamism within their product lines, as well as superlative work and customer service, eSigns has blossomed and continues to expand not only its customer base throughout the BWG area, but increasingly further afield. By staying in touch with the most up-to-date technology and techniques, the physical size of the operation has not needed to change, while they continue to explore new clientele and new ways of helping those clients get their message or information out to the general public.
At present, eSigns Canada’s services include storefront signage, including complete makeovers (they also offer assistance with overall design and branding), prestige signs, indoor/outdoor window graphics, post-and-panel standalone signs, LED displays, vehicle wraps, billboards and banners, arena signage (including on the boards of the rink), real estate development signage, and architectural/wayfinding signage. Brickell said they welcome the opportunity to work on these sorts of projects or anything else that a customer could some up with.
“We most recently worked with the guys who owned the former Don Cherry’s [in BWG as well as a second outlet in Barrie] with their rebranding and signage, which is now called Perfect SZN. It was a real nice challenge because we wanted to do something unique with the main sign so that it was kind of backlit to really make the new logo stand out,” Brickell said, adding that eSigns loves those sorts of challenges, especially when it works out well and makes the customers happy, as it did with Perfect SZN.
Over the past five or six years, Brickell and eSigns has been delving into the world of 3D holographic signs, seeing that as the next form of ‘signage’ to become popular.
“If you remember the second Back to the Future movie, there were examples of holographic storefronts and even the big shark coming out of the movie theatre. That’s the kind of thing that we’re looking at right now. We have always been at the forefront of electronic signage, back to when it was a series of red dots, up to the high-resolution signs you see today, where you can operate and program them remotely” he said, adding, tongue-in-cheek, that sign-making is the “second oldest profession”, citing the earliest cave drawings as forms of communication through signs.
“All you have to do is look around and see how important it is for a business to have a sign that really grabs your attention, to attract people, and to set yourself apart from the competition. That’s why we have always stayed current with new technology,” so that we can provide the best advantage for our customers, Brickell added.
For more information about eSigns Canada, visit, www.esignscanada.ca, or call 705-775-9112.