Sign Maintenance- How Long Should You Wait?


Part 1- Paint:

How Long Should You Wait?



It’s your image, so you can wait as long as you like. But do you really want to project a deteriorating look to your customers and prospects? Only the truly faithful may continue to do business with you if they compare you with others who actually take care of their buildings and grounds and signage.

How long should paint last? That depends on the quality of the paint which determines how well it can withstand the many environmental factors that affect paint durability in Virginia: humidity, salt air, road salt and temperature extremes, to name a few. Making an investment in high-quality paint will delay any paint failures on your signs.


3 common paint failures:

  • Peeling
  • Cracking
  • Chalking


The reasons a paint coating peels can stem from three main factors: poor surface preparation, inadequate curing conditions (cold or excessive moisture for instance), and inferior paint.


Cracking paint can be caused by many factors. Some of the most common reasons include not allowing enough dry time between coats, incorrect proportions of hardener mixtures, applications of heavy coats, or prolonged extreme sun exposure that breaks down finish over time.


Chalking occurs when the paint’s binder or pigment breaks down. Holiday Signs uses highly durable automotive-grade paint systems that utilize top-grade pigments to hinder the deteriorating effects of light. Lower-end coatings use lower-end pigments, which leads to chalking and color difference much sooner than you’d experience with high-end finish systems. any of your existing signs display hints of peeling, cracking or chalking, you shouldn’t delay in contacting a professional sign company for repair or replacement. Visually attractive branding is a must in any successful marketing program. It pays to allocate a little extra up front for quality materials the next time you need to make a lasting impression with exterior signage! 


Holiday Signs Service

(804) 796-9443


Our Service Area


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Here are some more signage tips:



 Paint Color Chips and Charts and Signage Design Tools for Architects & Sign Designers



Sign Installation Contractors-Virginia

Who can refurbish my corporate signage in Virginia?

Top sign companies serving Richmond, Virginia  VA
































































New Branding Takes Flight- Richmond Executive Airport

New Branding Takes Flight

Case Study- Richmond Executive Airport

Airport branding before renovations.



Several years ago my brother lost his job building airplanes at Piper Aircraft in Florida because of the trend in declining recreational air travel. Recognizing that a slow economy is the same culprit for declining recreational flyers in Virginia, (and that it could be a long-term trend), Chesterfield County Airport recently underwent a complete branding overhaul to reach a new target – executive business travelers.

Emphasizing its central location, a short distance from downtown Richmond and other growing economic areas south of town, Chesterfield County Airport re-branded itself as “Richmond Executive Airport” and hired Holiday Signs to update its signage.

The new look at “Richmond Executive Airport”.



Renovating the airport with a longer runway and better branding are two investments in the area’s economic development that will reap dividends down the road by bringing in more corporate flyers.

Airport managers and the Department of Economic Development worked together on the final logo redesign.Richmond Exec Air- BLOG BLURB May 2014-Branding-Richmond Executive Airport

Holiday Signs literally built brand awareness fabricating and installing the custom electric back-lit channel letters. Crisp, blue LED back-lighting highlights the new stylized logo at night and reflects off architectural features of the building making for an interesting effect as travelers come and go, boasting the airport’s new identity around the clock.

The airport is located at the interchange of Routes 10 and 288 in Chesterfield County, Virginia and is designated by the FAA as an official general aviation reliever for Richmond International Airport (RIC).

The name change will help establish the airport as the new executive gateway for Richmond business travelers and was part of a multi-million dollar project.  Read more about the project here.


Click to see promotional video of the new branding signs in production




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We Work In Your Town- Signs in Yorktown VA

May 2014- We Work in Your Town- Yorktown headerYORKTOWN AREA…

Holiday Signs is Central Virginia’s premier custom electric sign company and, just in case you haven’t noticed, we work in your town too!

We’ve been turning traffic into customers for over 40 years and look forward to the chance to help your organization attract attention in your part of Virginia.



May 2014- We Work in Your Town- Yorktown


Contact: Sales

(800) 229-9443


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See stories about other projects we’ve done around Yorktown:



Historic Sign Renovation Case Study

Branding an Anniversary

Turning Eyeballs into Smiles

Connecting with the Community




Other Links:



York County Chamber


Williamsburg Chamber


Williamsburg Economic Development


York County Economic Development


Historic Yorktown,Jamestown,Colonial Williamsburg


Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate (HRACRE)


Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association (VHTA)


Signs in Yorktown VA



Church Signs- Part 1, Using Digital Messaging to Drive Visitors to Events


Electronic Message Center Case Study: New Life Community Church

Adding to the Flock

“Our electronic message sign has driven lots of people in for events,” said Jeff Benz, the Worship Pastor at New Life Community Church in Louisa, Virginia.

New Life Community Church is a customer of Holiday Signs and has been using their sign to attract visitors and new members for many years now.  Jeff said it’s been out on the main road doing its job since before the big earthquake of 2011.

Survived A Big Shake Up

“We were having a meeting in the conference room when all of a sudden people on both sides of the table were going up and down like a see-saw,” Jeff told me as he remembered the magnitude 5.8 quake with its epicenter in Louisa County only a few miles away.  I noticed the sign is still in great shape and told Jeff that our signs are always built tough and able to withstand even a few earthquakes now and then.

The Only Advertising They Need

Jeff told me visitors stop in all the time as a result of the sign.

“We use it for advertising all our events and could forego all other advertising if we wanted because the sign is so effective,” he 

The current sign has a box cabinet on top with the church brand that lights up at night. Under the top sign is a 2-sided monochrome Daktronics digital display. Both signs are installed on two brick columns that raise the viewing angle above the level of the inclined roadway for optimal attention.

The church has grown over the past several years so Jeff and his staff may contemplate moving in the future, leaving them options to either take the sign with them or add it to the potential real estate value should they decide to sell.  Depending on whether a new tenant would want the sign, Jeff said they would strongly consider upgrading to a full-color display at the new site, making an even brighter way to highlight events. 






Click Here to See Other Church Sign Ideas


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Historic Sign Renovation Case Study

Branding an Anniversary

Turning Eyeballs into Smiles

Connecting with the Community




Cost to Operate Electronic Signs is the Cost to Operate Electronic Signs? signs


People interested in digital messaging often ask, “What’s the cost to operate electronic signs?”
That’s a very valid question.  People investing tens of thousands of dollars in digital signage need a basis to formulate an accurate operating budget.  So is there an easy way to estimate the annual cost of operating a digital sign?

The answer is yes, once you determine what type of equipment is right for your custom situation.  The trick is figuring out what’s right:

  • Size of display (Determined by viewing distance, speed of passing viewers, and local codes)
  • Monochrome or full-color (Determined by content type and personal preference)
  • Pixel pitch (Determined by viewing distance and speed of passing viewers)
  • Expected Hours of Operation per Day (Determined by personal preference and sometimes code)

  People considering digital signage should consult with a knowledgeable local electric sign company to help them with proper equipment selection. Once you know the specs, it’s just a matter of plugging in the sign’s power requirements, your estimated usage, and local cost per kilowatt hour to come up with an operating cost.

  The leading US brands of digital signs are Daktronics, Watchfire, Optec, and Formetco. Daktronics has an “Operating Cost Calculator” tool that inputs the max wattage of your particular equipment but takes into consideration power reduction for content usage and day/night brightness fluctuations. This simply means that some of your message content will use less than 100% of the available LED’s so the sign never operates on max power. (An example is black backgrounds use less power than white or colored ones.) Likewise, night and cloudy-day messages consume less power than messages in full sun with Daktronics equipment due to their automatic dimming features.

  Competitive second-tier brands of digital signs may not have built-in dimming features that maintain sign appearance and reduce APR 2015-What is the Operating Cost of Digital Signs?power consumption using internal timers or light sensors. The difference in power cost in an offshore model running 24 hours at 100% because it has no dimmer, versus a market leader brand running at 25% at night can make a big difference in operating costs.
  For a good operating cost example, let’s consider a 2-sided Daktronics 3500 Series Full-Color (RGB) Model, 8′ wide X 4′ tall, with a 24 x 64 matrix (34MM pixel pitch resolution), 1,860 max total watts. Using this configuration and an average electric utility cost of 8 cents per kilowatt hour (a good average commercial utility cost for Central Virginia), the estimated daily cost of power is 63 cents, and the estimated annual power cost using the calculator tool is $225.37. Take the same 8′ wide X 4′ tall sign, but boost the matrix size to 64 X 144 (16 MM pixel pitch) and wattage to 3,620, and the power cost doubles. Considering an average LED pole-light in a parking lot costs about $240* to operate year round, 12-hours a day, the operating cost of an average 32 square foot, double sided RGB digital sign would be about the equivalent of adding a parking lot light or two at your site, depending on the resolution you need. (*Source: Lighting Research Center)

  I hope this information was helpful as you investigate the costs of owning and operating your own on-premise digital advertising sign. Our project managers have access to many tools that can help you determine the right sign for your site with a cost estimate, return on investment and utility cost forecast.

Mark Hackley, Account Executive

Holiday Signs


Here are some other sign-related articles you may like:

 Customer Spotlights…

Lifepoint Church    New Life Church    Grace Church

Capital Ale House    Virginia Diner

Lucy Corr Village     Augusta Health Pharmacy & Lab

Mobility Supercenter       Puritan Cleaners       Green Top Sporting Goods

Pioneer Bank      Connects Credit Union

ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers      Virginia Repertory Theater      Altria Theater

Shenandoah University      Ferrum College's-LED-channel-letters-digital-signs-shopping-center-marquees-strip-mall-box-cabinets

 Rockwood Square Shopping Center    Towne Center West     MWV Corporate Headquarters

reader appreciation 2 9automotive

Electronic Message Centers


(Click on a city below to see some of our work in your area!)

Charlottesville       Chesapeake       Fredericksburg        Harrisonburg       

Leesburg         Lynchburg       Newport News       Richmond      Roanoke     

South Boston/Halifax      Staunton/Waynesboro      Yorktown       

Thanks to everyone who’s been involved with the many interesting sign projects we have been challenged to tackle over the years!

Contact us at (804) 796-9443

What Do Message Centers Cost? Do Message Centers Cost?

Article by Mark Hackley, Holiday Signs Contact:

APR 2015-How Much Does a Digital Sign Cost

What do message centers cost? Dave Elmore, owner of Bookkeeping and Management Systems in Central Virginia, says he has over 300 business clients and not a single one has a line item for signage. Similarly most of our customers have foggy ideas about budgeting for electric signs, especially signs with high-tech electronic message centers, so we tend to put quotation marks around the word “budget” when approaching the subject.

To determine sign budgets, sign buyers need to answer: “What type of sign is needed to project our positive image and broadcast ongoing messages that people will see and read?” From this starting point, sign specifications are worked out and the word “budget” begins to lose its quotation marks advancing toward real numbers.

To get started in figuring out sign project cost, customers need help with answering five basic questions pertaining to designing signs with message centers:

1) What is your desired image?

2) Will you use images/graphics/or just text?

3) What fits best with the building & neighborhood?

4) What size should it be, determined by viewing distance & sight lines?

5) What type of communication technology do you want?

These are the variables that drive price and, once determined, can get you close to what a new electronic sign should cost. Then you can budget for it, and if appropriate, let any groups or departments who have to help pay for it know how much and why.

The chart below shows the cost drivers that help begin to answer the question, “How much does a digital sign cost?” Just like features listed on the price tag of a new car, different bells and whistles of signs add cost. For example, a small simple pole sign with a direct-wired 20mm monochrome message center would be less expensive than a larger full color 12mm sign with an architecturally customized base and decorative top. Lower cost solutions generally fall in the $15,000-$25,000 range, while higher cost solutions typically run over $55,000. Then there are many projects that fall in the middle range of $25,000-$55,000. Some of our clients purchase digital signs outright while others choose leasing as a way to finance them.

Message centers should be viewed as revenue generators versus just marketing expenses. Since most applications of digital signs produce revenue, one should consider the positive impact on operating budgets. Because it’s so effective, on-premise digital sign advertising may end up replacing, reducing, or avoiding other ad expenses altogether, perhaps even shrinking How Much Does a Digital Sign Cost roi calcadvertising budgets from where they were prior to sign installation.

We have seen some companies divide sign purchases across multiple budgets. One client splits the cost of a new digital message sign between its facilities and marketing budgets to make it work. Many retail customers who advertise across multiple media channels sometimes place digital sign purchases in their operating versus capital budgets, making purchases possible by reallocating funds from other lackluster advertising categories for better results. A good example: clients who have reallocated Yellow Pages and other non-productive advertising dollars into new digital signage for much greater ROI.

If an actual budget number is known and discussed as a max spend early on, our project managers usually tailor the best solution based on someone’s budget restrictions, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the best solution for the site. Don’t just look at equipment cost alone when shopping for digital signs. It’s more about what type of equipment and supporting signage and structural design fit best, based on the above factors. Plus don’t forget to calculate the revenue stream resulting from the sign’s normal operations! We think the best approach to purchasing a sign is making a comprehensive assessment of all the factors, designing the signage based on that assessment, and coming up with price parameters to provide the best solution possible.


Want us to assess your site for digital signage? Contact us anytime.




APR 2015-How Much Does a Digital Sign Cost footer


Customer Spotlights…

Lifepoint Church New Life Church Grace Church

Capital Ale House Virginia Diner

Lucy Corr Village Augusta Health Pharmacy & Lab

Mobility Supercenter Puritan Cleaners Green Top Sporting Goods

Pioneer Bank Connects Credit Union

ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers Virginia Repertory Theater Altria Theater

Shenandoah University Ferrum College's-LED-channel-letters-digital-signs-shopping-center-marquees-strip-mall-box-cabinets

Rockwood Square Shopping Center Towne Center West MWV Corporate Headquarters

reader appreciation 2 9automotive

Electronic Message Centers


(Click on a city below to see some of our work in your area!)

Charlottesville Chesapeake Fredericksburg Harrisonburg

Leesburg Lynchburg Newport News Richmond Roanoke

South Boston/Halifax Staunton/Waynesboro Yorktown

Thanks to everyone who’s been involved with the many interesting sign projects we have been challenged to tackle over the years!

Contact us at (804) 796-9443




Here are some great articles of interest:


  • 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?



Inside Story on Lobby Signs


Using Interior Lobby Walls to Promote Your Brand




Over ninety percent of our projects concern outdoor signs, but many times an organization will utilize us for interior graphics as well. We often design and fabricate entire wayfinding systems for buildings, but many times we simply help companies by branding interior spaces.

In a recent project for Hammond Townsend, PLC, a law firm based in Fishersville, Virginia, we helped brand entry ways at three offices in Fishersville, Harrisonburg and Roanoke. Prior to the project, visual branding was not used as customers entered the lobby areas. An effective and inexpensive way to increase corporate brand recognition is to reproduce the company logo in three dimensional interior graphics.

In the case of Hammond Townsend:

  • Client had its previously cream color entry walls all painted the same deep blue color and used silver colored wall letters.
  • All graphics were fabricated from black acrylic with a brushed aluminum laminate on the faces.
  • To add dimension, spacers were added to the backs of the letters that lifted the logos off the wall to cast deeper shadows.

Laminated interior lettering and logos can be custom fabricated from many material options including aluminum and brass. Solid bronze, brass, and aluminum graphics are also used in many cases. There are also LED illuminated letter options where a company’s brand can be emphasized by using special halo-type lighting effects. Other options include etched glass and acrylic, gold leaf, copper, patina metal finishes, and many other special materials for customized looks. 


Contact: Mark Hackley, Account Executive 540-416-3154



Communicate with Custom Awnings and Stay Within Code



One way retailers can add pizzazz to their storefront and boost attention to their brand is to add custom awnings to their building.  But many times local codes can make effective design options a challenge.


Augusta Health, an independently operated community hospital in the Shenandoah Valley, uses awnings to help identify its off-campus retail locations.  In addition to providing custom electric signage, we help them maximize attention with custom awnings.

Some of their facilities lie in zoning districts that prohibit awnings with illuminated backgrounds, but allow lettering to be illuminated at night. In these cases, we are able to provide awnings using Sunbrella opaque burgundy fabric with di-electrically welded white graphics. (Di-electric welding, or RF welding, is a process where an electromagnetic field works to combine the atomic and molecular structures of two fabrics together.) Opaque awning material is cut out for lettering then underlayed with a different translucent material to allow the wording to light up at night.



Capital Ale House has six restaurant locations in Virginia. When they opened their newest location in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the owner wanted to utilize the existing awnings to help brand the new store and maximize attention at the highly visible corner location.

The existing awnings were worn and matched the previous tenant’s brand. The owner chose Sunbrella opaque black awnings to match his new branding, however a new city ordinance required a greater ground clearance for awnings than what existed. In addition to updating the custom electric sign and awning fabric, part of the project included provisions for moving the awning framework up a level to meet code.

Adding or updating custom awnings and electric signs can help get the attention your business deserves. Make sure you partner with a sign company that understands the importance of branding and how to maximize code allowances to turn traffic into customers.   


May 2014-Branding-Awnings



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Case Study: Covering All Viewing Angles

Case Study: Maximizing Code Allowances for Signage

Case Study: Restoring A Historic Landmark Sign

Case Study: Pioneer Bank, Ruckersville, VA





Two Commercial Development Degree Programs in Virginia

 Comparing Development Degree Programs:

George Mason University and Johns Hopkins University


I attended NAIOP’s annual Northern Virginia Bus Tour yesterday in McLean, Virginia. Many leading area developers were there along with firms involved with planning, development, construction and management of commercial properties.

Two presenters were involved in the creation of future developers. Representatives from two universities had booths at the pre-tour trade show: George Mason and Johns Hopkins. They were both highlighting their degree programs in the field of commercial development.  Here are descriptions from their websites about each.

George Mason MS in Real Estate Development offers:

  • A carefully designed curriculum providing the practical skills needed to understand, structure and lead successful real estate development projects.
  • A cross-disciplinary program drawing on the expertise of faculty members within the School of Management, School of Public Policy, and Volgenau School of Engineering.
  • A rich environment within which to study real estate development (including on-site case studies of major projects throughout the National Capital Region, classroom meetings with accomplished area professionals, and workshops with leading regional development practitioners).
  • A forum for professional development presenting you with unique opportunities to connect with the Northern Virginia–metropolitan Washington, D.C., real estate development community through Mason’s Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship.

Information from website:

Johns Hopkins’ Edward St. John Real Estate Program, MS in Real Estate and Infrastructure:

  • Prepares individuals for leadership careers in real estate, urban development, and infrastructure through rigorous and intensive interdisciplinary graduate real estate studies.
  • Conducts research projects and sponsors special seminars addressing relevant issues for the professional real estate and infrastructure community.
  • Provides continuing professional education programs for real estate and infrastructure professionals who wish to advance or enhance their careers through noncredit courses, conferences, and workshops.
  • Offers scholarship opportunities for qualified students.

Information from online brochure:


(Bottom-center photo courtesy NAIOP Northern Virginia)


Here are examples how Holiday Signs is involved with the commercial development industry in VA, MD, DC, NC: