Art Sign Works "Seals" the Deal with Government-Office Signage

Former garage shop grows into 11-person, 7,500-sq.-ft. entity
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Art Sign Works (Murrieta, CA) began as Paul Williamson’s garage enterprise in neighboring Fallbrook; two years later, business had grown such that he moved into his current, 11-person, 7,500-sq.-ft shop. Christie Valenzuela, his daughter and the shop’s lead salesperson, said HDU signage and metal-coated plaques represent approximately 80% of the shop’s business, which sells to both wholesale and retail clients, with most being garnered through the shop’s website.
For most past work, Art Sign Works used 15-lb. Coastal Enterprises’ PrecisionBoard HDU, but it’s recently upgraded to 20-and 30-lb. material. The shop typically fortifies its single-sided, 1.5-in.-thick and double-sided, 2-in.-thick signs by installing flat-bar, metal frames around the perimeter, or steel-tube backing for larger jobs. For wall-mounted signs, the shop installs L-brackets or Z-clips.
Art Sign Works begins by carving signs on its ShopBot 5 x 10-ft. CNC router with Alpha HSD spindles that range from 1/16 to 1¾ in. thick, a V-shaped, double-flute-plunger and ball-nose bits. After fabricators rout the faces, they impart more detail by sandblasting with 60-80-grit aluminum oxide at 120psi; with metal-coated faces, they raise the grit and lower the blasting psi.
As the featured sign attests, Art Sign Works frequently works directly with government organizations for HDU-sign and wall-plaque projects. Valenzuela said, “We enjoy working with various government agencies, and value their business, but they present issues commercial businesses don’t. We often encounter cash-flow issues with government contracts. We aren’t paid up front, and contracting offers often demand that all specs be met on a contract that could be a 50-page document. We also sometimes have to pay bid and performance bonds in advance, and have to write detailed technical, management and cost proposals.”
Despite government work’s hurdles, she said it’s grown to encompass up to 40% of their business.