Flexible LED: A Green Alternative to Neon



Part Two- Green Options for Neon: Flexible LED and Capital Ale House Branding





Energy efficiency is an important element of sustainable design. When considering signage for new buildings or renovating signs at older ones, always take into account the extreme energy efficiency of LED.

  • 94% energy savings over traditional neon.



  • Bright and colorful lighting- a requirement of urban retailers;
  • Old generation neon lighting effectively replaced by LED;
  • LED technology fully capable of balancing both attention and energy efficiency.



In addition to lighting up channel letters and logos of many brands, LED lighting can also be incorporated into strip lighting, www.holidaysigns.com-chesterfield-va-fairfax-roanoke-waynesboro-LED-signage-signssimilar to the old open tube neon designs. Flexible LED is a sustainable alternative to inefficient neon tube technology for detail and accent lighting, offering tremendous energy and maintenance cost savings while achieving the same aesthetic results.



When Capital Ale House opened its new Harrisonburg, Virginia location, they chose Holiday Signs to renovate the signage. In addition to new awnings, wall signs and parking lot signs, the existing oval shaped electric sign was refaced and retrofitted with flexible strip LED.


www.holidaysigns.com-harrisonburg-virginia-capital-ale-house-neon-LED“The LED lighting around our Capital Ale House brand draws the attention we needed like the old style neon, yet uses much less power to operate,” said Matt Simmons, President of Capital Ale House.


Implementing and promoting the earth-friendly benefits of low-energy sign lighting is a great starting point for an overall effective green marketing plan.


Contact: Mark Hackley, Account Executive





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Large Sign Structures

November 2013-Technically Challenging-Hotel John Marshall 2 header


Signage Renovation at The Hotel John Marshall, Richmond, VA

Many times a building becwww.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-high-rise-signsomes a landmark because of the large sign structures on top.  In Richmond, Virginia, that’s the case with the Hotel John Marshall. Several years ago, the once grand sixteen story icon had all but faded into the background of Richmond’s historic downtown in dire need of a sign restoration. In 2011, Holiday Signs got the chance to help revive it by restoring its vintage roof marquee using energy efficient signage components.

When the hotel first opened in 1929, it was the largest hotel in Virginia offering all the amenities of luxury hotels of that era. Named after Virginia’s longest serving Supreme Court Chief Justice, its marble and gold lobby, cathedral doorways and spacious stairways lured in many famous guests throughout the years. After the recent $70 million renovation, the refurbished historic hotel now houses multiple floors of residential apartments with retail and office space on the lower levels.

The sign was a historic landmark. It needed work to restore it back to its original vitality. Built years ago and abandoned in 1988, it became a ghostly reminder of its neglected past. It was rusting away. The lighting in the 34 large, 7 foot tall letters was the old incandescent bulb type. There were some 1,400 light bulbs per side which were major energy hogs always in need of maintenance. They regularly burned out and there was a big safety concern involved with changing them.

hotelJM day nightWhen the new owners took on redevelopment in 2009, they needed to make substantial energy improvements to obtain HUD funding. Holiday Signs was chosen as the best firm qualified for the sign restoration. We worked for Choate Interiors, a part of Choate Construction, the General Contractor. Even with the developer’s 3-year relationship with another sign company, we got the www.holidaysigns.com-hotel-john-marshalljob because of our technical expertise. From an owner’s point of view, we wanted to make the investment in the sign renovation economic over the lifetime of the sign: both initial cost, and operating costs of energy and maintenance. We also had to make sure the new cost-efficient signage was historically accurate.

Our creative solution replaced old incandescent bulbs with low-voltage LED lighting that looked historically correct by usingwww.holidaysigns.com-virginia-hotel-led-signs modern digital printing technology. We recommended closed face letters with printed covers that would make them look like the old open-faced bulb letters while offering the LED lighting components protection from the elements of the harsh rooftop environment. We demonstrated prototypes and then met with the Chief Architect for the National Park Service (since the hotel overlooks Richmond’s Slave Trail it is under NPS jurisdiction), and representatives from the City of Richmond and the General Contractor to tweak the digitally printed bulb designs and LED lighting placement to where all parties were satisfied with the effect.

By utilizing LED, power consumption for illumination was reduced by 70%. As an added value service, we worked with Dominion Power to get the General Contractor a substantial rebate for the huge energy reduction. Today, the renovated energy efficient signage casts an accurate image of Richmond’s bygone era while utilizing many of the benefits of modern-day sign and lighting technology in its day to day operation.

www.holidaysigns-richmond-downtown-Hotel John Marshall


     Residences at the John Marshall Website

     Photography Provided by Jim Smith/ Flying Dog Photography,



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  For New Sign and Signage Restoration Inquiries, Contact: Mark Hackley, Account Executive, mhackley@holidaysigns.com


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Restoration of an Historic Richmond Theater Marquee

How Digital Messaging Can Help Shopping Centers Lure and Retain Tenants

An Important Wayfinding Term to Learn and Remember

See How One Virginia Mixed-Use Development Makes a Huge First Impression

What is Risk-Free Digital Messaging?

The Value of Sign Prototypes and Getting Things Right on the Ground



November 2013-Technically Challenging-Hotel John Marshall 2 size fixed


  • Technically Challenging

Virginia Iconic Signs

Why Use Sign Prototypes?

Case Study: Hotel John Marshall

Historic Restoration Case Study

Powerful Entrance to a Virginia Mixed Use Development



  • Branding & Wayfinding

What is the Cocooning Effect?

Shopping Center Repositioning

Roanoke Airport’s new Wayfinding System

Re-Branding a Retirement Community

Turning Eyeballs into Smiles



  • Digital Messaging

Case Study: Towne Center West’s Digital Advertising Sign

Case Study: Green Top Sporting Goods’ Electronic Message Center on I-95

Using Co-op Dollars to Fund Digital Signage

Using Digital Signs to Connect with the Community

10 Reasons to Upgrade to On-Premise Digital Advertising



  • General Signage

6 Reasons to Retrofit Neon to LED

Consideration of Sunlight and Shadow in Signage Design

Consideration of Viewing Angle in Signage Design

Sign Illumination Choices

How Can Specialty Sign Lighting Techniques Position Your Brand?







Part 3- Blast Your Message to the Masses: Green Top Sporting Goods, Ashland, VA



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If you have ever asked the question: “Are digital signs effective?” then read on…

Green Top Sporting Goods has been a destination for hunting and fishing enthusiasts since 1947.   Incredibly, with several national big box competitors in the marketplace, they flourished; outgrowing their former site and moving to a location five times larger, which ironically was formerly occupied by their national rival, Gander Mountain.  Holiday Signs was chosen to brand their new store with an eye-catching custom sign package.   


Location, Location, Location

Most retailers don’t realize the value of the customers who pass by their front door everyday.   Customers want convenience and special offers and are more likely to stop if they are in the area; especially if you give them a reason.  Electronic Message Centers (EMCs) have come a long way over the years and now the technology can provide full color high quality images; much better than the oldwww.holidaysigns.com-virginia-interstate-signage-advertising fashioned time and temperature displays.    They are also the most effective method of advertising with a cost per thousand many times lower than other advertising methods. 


Green Top is located just off I-95 and with excellent visibility from both the North and South bound lanes; their store is seen by more than 130,000 vehicles EVERY day.


“It was all about the traffic count,” agreed Bob Strepka, Director of Marketing and Advertising for Green Top Sporting Goods of Ashland.


Maximizing Attention without Overpowering the Brand

Green Top was considering adding an Electronic Message Center (EMC) but didn’t want to overpowewww.holidaysigns.com-richmond-fredericksburg-ashland-washington-virginia-dc-digital-signsr their new identification signage.   They were familiar with the successes of businesses utilizing them and knew adding one to their sign package would drive additional business to their store.   


A much smaller unit was originally considered, but after careful consideration and a series of renderings, they decided to maximize the code allowance.  Fortunately the timber frame architecture of their building gave them the perfect location to incorporate an EMC.   


Business has been exceptional.  “People are coming into the store as a direct result of seeing the EMC,” Strepka said.


Ease of Use

“We didn’t spend a lot of effort in getting it up and running,” Strepka said. “We’re still experimenting with designs and working with www.holidaysigns.com-large-exterior-advertising-signs-digital-electronic-LED-Virginia-USAvendors on getting new content.”  When asked how co-op advertising plays into their scheme, Bob replied, “Do we consider having conversations with vendors about co-op opportunities on our sign? You bet.”


Positive considerations for a larger digital sign:  

  • maximized what was allowed by code
  • fit nicely into building’s architecture
  • complimented existing branding signage


Contact Holiday Signs at:

(804) 796-9443


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Are Digital Signs Effective

Contributed by Jonathan Dabney,

Edited by Allen Twedt; Project Managers



Contact a Sales Team member about a new DIGITAL SIGN!!








You own and operate a store or two in Virginia. One of your toughest challenges is developing a steady flow of customers year round. You’re hoping your newly restructured marketing mix does the job in getting more bodies into the aisles.

Your radio advertising’s morning drive campaign just broadcast two 30-second ads. One of the employees caught the end of one on her way into work.

In a Facebook post, your friend’s wife mentioned she saw your newspaper ad for the first time on the back of one of her coupons. It’s been running six months. As you were responding to her post you happened to see one of those banner ads you run for your store on the side bar.

An older couple from church called to say they enjoyed your 60-second TV ad they saw a few times last month after the 11 o’ clock news. They thought it was cute.

Word of mouth awareness about your store is getting around and lots of people recognize your name and a little bit about your products, but few know in detail what you offer or your exact location. You’ve been in business almost twentyCulligan-Daktronics-LED-Message-Signs years!

Meanwhile, your stores’ brand new electronic message displays are working hard; working hard to capture the attention of all the people who pass your stores each day: broadcasting your story; advertising your promotions; leading buyers into the stores. You discovered from Holiday Signs that digital signs really work and should be part of your successful new marketing strategy.

As you turn off the coffee pot in the break room, you see reflections of the ever-changing full color LED lights from the display against the wall. You know that even though you’ve trimmed back advertising in other media this year, your messages are out there where it counts. Twenty-four hours a day right at your front door!


Contact a Project Manager about Digital Advertising at your Location!



Holiday Signs is Hiring!

Osbornemetalsportfolio 118Immediate opening at Virginia’s Premier Sign Company. Need custom sheet metal architectural metal fabricator with sign building experience. Must be a team player, drug-free, and compensation is based on experience.

Great job security, wage, and benefit package for the right candidate. Qualified individual will be able to routinely meet production schedule in medium paced production environment.

Fax resume to 804-796-9454, email to HR001@holidaysigns.com, or apply in person at 11930 Old Stage Rd., Chester, VA.

College Signage-Is Your Good Brand Shining Bright All Over Campus or Just on the Website?

www.holidaysigns-richmond-virginia-civil-war-historical-park-signageSometimes you wonder why some meant-to-be permanent signs are made of painted wood or PVC. Would you buy a car made of plywood or PVC? But sometimes even painted metal signs can fail before their time when improper coatings are used. The fabrication and paint shop at Holiday Signs understands proper surface preparation, correct primers, finish coats, drying time needed between coats, etc.  We recently upgraded some deteriorating wayfinding signs for Eastern Mennonite University. The previous campus sign system consisted of old metal signs that were chalking and fading and they just didn’t convey the organization’s brand. Prospective students and their parents www.holidaysigns.com-harrisonburg-virginia-custom-sign-companies-best-sign-company-college-signage-wayfinding-bannerscould see and feel a great brand when researching the college on-line, but had the potential to lose that warm and fuzzy feeling when on the real-life campus. A big part of that branding confusion was due to campus signage in need of a makeover.



After several meetings with the marketing and facilities directors, we helped jump-start the project and implemented a program of new traffic directional pylons around campus. After that we helped initiate prototype building identification signs, which were simple painted post and panel type markers. Working with their graphic designer, we then upgraded their campus light pole banners and have helped with large banners for their athletic department. Occasionally the college has a special project that we become involved with. I remember a project for a garden space where we provided historical markers, all with the consistent brand of the rest of their new signage system. We recently presented some good ideas to implement digital messaging at their student center and always enjoy working with all of the good people at the university. The new signage is constructed of painted aluminum and finished with exactly the same type of rugged paint as the automotive finish on a new car. I am very confident they will be around for a long time before needing an upgrade.

Eastern Mennonite is just one of our many educational clients. We help many colleges and universities in Virginia and North Carolina including Shenandoah   University, Ferrum College, Lord Fairfax Community College, the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, The University of Mary Washington, The College of William and Mary and many other state and private schools. Holiday Signs is part of the collaborative business program of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV). 


Contact Mark Hackley, Account Executive at Holiday Signs: (540)416-3154






Many of the Previous PVC Type Signs Were Covered in Mold and Mildew, Negative Branding Elements Which the New Glossy Painted Aluminum Signs Will Not Allow to Collect.


Opting For Green Technology-Part 1: Buy Local to Reduce Carbon Footprint



Part One- Sustainability Considerations in the Early Stages of a Sign’s Life-Cycle


Normally when you think of sustainability and signs, electric power reduction in lighting first comes to mind. Over and above the usual LED lighting upgrades and considerations of solar power supply www-holidaysigns.com-richmond-fishersville-waynesboro-harrisonburg-roanoke-signs-sustainability-green-LEDalternatives, there are two basic elements of green signage that most buyers overlook:

  • buying local;
  • reducing the number of trips made to the site during signage production and installation.


One may never know how much dealing locally shrinks the carbon footprint! I’ve seen many sign buyers opt for products made out of state. Not only does this add cost and www.holidaysigns.com-fishersville-virginia-augusta-health-LED-awnings-backlit-hospital-wayfinding-signsincrease their chances for product damage and potential work delays, but it’s wasting valuable energy resources.

We encourage customers to let us facilitate creative ways to eliminate trips during the fabrication and installation process. Some greener suggestions could include:

  • manufacturing pre-assembled signs in our shop with faux brick, or stucco components rather than on-site excavation, masonry and stucco work;
  • engineering provisions for efficient sign maintenance (another keywww.holidaysigns.com-norfolk-portsmouth-virginiabeach-tidewater-newportnews-hampton-va-signage-LED-sustainable-architecture aspect of future cost control and energy reduction.)

If you consider simple sustainability options like fuel reduction in the early project stages, you’re well on your way to a greener sign project.


Don’t miss Part 2- Green Options for Neon Tube Lighting: Flexible LED


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Click Here for a Printable PDF


 February 2014-Branding- Opting for Green Sign Technology

Civil War, Color Blindness and Sign Branding

www.holidaysigns-richmond-virginia-civil-war-historical-park-signageSo how does a meeting last night in Harrisonburg, Virginia about Civil War literature connect in with sign colors? Let me explain. I often attend the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Round Table (an informal group of people sharing a common interest in Civil War topics who meet on the second Monday of every other month at 7:30pm at the Rockingham County Administrative complex on Gay Street in Harrisonburg, VA.) I usually go to the meetings with my ophthalmologist friend, Dr. Jim from Westminster Presbyterian Church, who became interested in Civil War history because of his direct ancestors who fought and died in that conflict. Jim goes to every meeting he can all over the place from Richmond to Fredericksburg to Winchester. He has been to Gettysburg more times than I’ve written blogs, and I think his interest in the war will increase after he retires from his medical practice for which I provided a nice pylon sign years ago.

www.holidaysigns.com-richmond-virginia-channel-letters-color-blindness-brandingSo after last night’s talk featuring Walt Whitman’s “Drum Taps” and Stephen Crane’s “The Red Badge of Courage,” Dr. Jim and I somehow got into a conversation about color blindness and how many people are affected by the condition. One common color vision defect is called the red-green deficiency, which is mostly a genetic issue and is present in about 8 percent of males and 0.5 percent of females. People with this condition have a difficult time discriminating red and green hues due to the absence of red or green retinal photoreceptors. On my drive home, I passed the new CVS store in our town and noticed the storefront channel letter branding signage is bright red, so I wondered about sign design implications relating to people with color blindness. Lo and behold when I www.holidaysigns.com-pamplin-park-signs-displays-museum-wayfindinggot home and opened Wikipedia there was a whole section on this exact topic. It is so important for an organization’s signage to be consistent from store to store. I guess 8.5 percent of the people in my town may have problems discerning the exact branding color of CVS but since their signs are consistently the same design from store to store, it would be easy for all customers to recognize the CVS brand…color blind or not.

Back to the Civil War, Holiday Signs has helped many of Virginia’s Battlefield Parks and Museums with quality signage, including Pamplin Historical Park in Richmond and The Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox. If you’re interested in history, I hope you will visit some of the six Civil War National Battlefield Parks and other Civil War battle and historical sites located around Virginia, especially during this special Sesquicentennial period that lasts through 2015. Our speaker told the group last night that when writing his novel about the Civil War in 1895, Stephen Crane used the word red throughout his book to emphasize the bloodshed, injuries, and explosive blasts of war. One good thing about the black and white photography of the day and color blindness is that the tragedies often associated with that particular color during war are a little less graphic.


Co-Op Ads VA Go Digital & Let Others Pay For It!



Part 2- Co-Op Ads VA

We love the opportunity to help retailers sell their products and services with digital signs. Manufacturers also love to help push their products and offer creative programs to reimburse retailers for promoting their brand. Co-op ads VA


Holiday Signs recently provided this large digital sign shown promoting the Ruger brand at the Green Top Sporting Goods store in Ashland, VA that hovers over the heavily traveled Interstate 95.


Cooperative advertising programs make it possible for single or multi-location retailers to lease or purchase powerful digital signage systems that transformwww.holidaysigns-richmond-va-cooperative-advertising-digital-signage-signs-manufacturers traffic into customers and help grow sales. When funded by co-op ad dollars, an on-premise digital sign becomes a way:

  •     retailers can maintain a high profile in their community without spending lots of their own money;
  •     manufacturers and retailers can share the cost of advertising at a local level where both benefit  from increased sales;
  •     retailers can offset the sign cost from manufacturer’s reimbursements and incremental sales earned from the sign’s effectiveness.



Wow! Can co-op advertising really pay for my sign?
Yes! Every year in the US over $50 billion is used for ad subsidies and an estimated $12.8 billion goes unused.  Co-op dollars from manufacturers can be used directly for digital sign advertising.

What are other advantages of co-op advertising?

  • Co-op advertising increases the reach and frequency of not only the advertised brands, but also of the store’s name and local brand;
  • Using co-op advertising on national brand merchandise associates the retailer with the manufacturer’s national advertising campaigns and identifies them as the local source for the national brand;
  • Co-op advertised brands help sell other products once the consumer is in the store.




Co-op funds generally accrue on a calendar-year basis and don’t roll over. If a retailer does not use all of their accrued co-op funds, they are essentially throwing away money. Now is a good time to contact the manufacturers you sell the most product for to see for yourself how easy it is to fund a new digital sign and increase sales!


Inquire about co-op ads VA






If you liked this you may also like:

Benefits of Electronic Messaging-PART 1-Connecting with the Community

6 Good Reasons to Replace Neon Lighting with LED

How Small Features Can Get Big Attention from Retailer Signs

Options for Electric Signs



Mark Hackley at 540-416-3154



Signs for Wavers


Use Signs for Wavers

24/7 Digital Signage Better Value Than 8/5 Wavers

Recently I asked a young guy at my church what he did for a living and he told me that he was a waver at Little Caesar’s. So I looked up the word “waver” on Wikipedia to see if they have possibly included a definition for those costumed guys and gals that march up and down America’s street corners waving signs for “Pizza” or “Tax Service”.  So far the only definition I found is for a town in the Dutch province of North Holland near Amsterdam.

Ever wonder how cold they must get out there waving those signs and plastic torches in the bitter, freezing January weather environment of Virginia? Today’s “real-feel” temps were fifteen below zero, yet wavers were out there drumming up the attention of impulse buyers needing a quick fix from Little Caesar’s or help with their income taxes.

www.holidaysigns.com-Chester-Virginia-VA-Digital-Signs-Advertising-Richmond-Sign-Code-Ordinance-EMC's-Marketing-Daktronics-WatchfireSurprisingly funds needed to keep these enthusiastic characters at their posts usually costs more than the monthly investment required for a full-color electronic message center! Plus digital signs erected at busy corners can’t get injured or killed as they roll through their series of eye-catching promotions that reach thousands of people a day. Why not use signs for wavers??

The fact that wavers are out there working year after year demonstrates the effectiveness of putting salesmen on the street, but digital signage offers so much more functionality:

  • Extremely low cost per thousand advertising impressions;
  • An unlimited number of message changes without the labor and physical challenges associated with wavers or copy changes on traditional reader boards;
  • Variable messages that allow you the flexibility to communicate timely information as well as public service information or other items of public interest;
  • These signs can quickly “brand” your business site in the community (you can take stock in that);
  • Act as your “Salesman on the Street” attracting new customers to your business location and they don’t call in sick or take vacations;
  • Ability to schedule content and operate multiple signs at multiple locations from a central computer.

As people consider all the advantages of digital LED signs, wavers may soon become obsolete!

  • Could installing an electronic message system at your business make better sense than other options for your marketing mix? We can help you determine if you have the right locationwww.holidaysigns.com-richmond-va-digital-message-signage and traffic count to make purchasing one a no-brainer.

Most times a business can slightly reduce its old-style, less effective advertising expenses and add bright and effective digital media for the same cost or less.

  • Would a comparison of your current ad budget versus a budget with electronic messaging be helpful? We can help you look at that.


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Many thanks to Anthony B., the statue-of-liberty-guy (A.K.A. Waver).

Richmond, Va sign contractor, erector, installers, maintenance, designers, fabricators, companies, shops,

vendors, suppliers, painters, Daktronics, Watchfire, dealers, sign equipment leasing, message boards