How to Restore Old Theater Marquees?

How to Restore Old Theater Marquees?

How Signage Restores the Glamour of Virginia’s Downtowns

October 2013- Technically ChallengingNEON NICHE

  Historic marquee sign restoration at theaters is one of the few remaining applications for neon lighting and signs, which is gradually being replaced by greener LED lighting technology. “This could be the last big neon job we’ll do,” said Bob Morin, owner of Holiday Signs of Chester, Virginia. Bob was referring to his project for the Virginia Repertory Theater, located in downtown Richmond.

  The Virginia Repertory Theater got its start in 1911 as the November Theater and passed through many hands on the way to its current ownership. It was shut down during the decline of American downtowns which left many areas of Richmond abandoned and empty. Several community theaters in town were underfunded and this project was the result of consolidation of a few of them. Holiday Signs worked with Kjellstrom & Lee and Commonwealth Architects on the job. Competitive pricing and experience with historically-true renovations were the main reasons why Holiday Signs was awarded the contract.


  The biggest challenge of the project involved accurately restoring the theater’s signage to its original glory. The theater was still using the old, dilapidated marquee. It was rusted and falling apart. Part of the requirements of receiving HUD funding for renovations was that restorations had to be historically accurate. The general contractor had stripped the old skin down to the bare structure and getting a good fit for the radius surface of the marquee was difficult. The building’s framing was hand built back in the days when lumber sizes varied from board to board. There were many inconsistencies and over the course of a century, many things were out of line. “It’s hard to build a sign of that size with a radius working in modern conditions, but even harder as a renovation,” explained Wade Gentry, production manager at Holiday Signs.

  Another challenge was related to the urban setting of the theater. Sight lines and viewing considerations for downtown signageOctober 2013- Technically Challenging projects differ from projects in other areas where there is much more room and distance around the sign to the viewer. Because urban signs are in closer quarters, there has to be more attention to detail. The marquee and sign above was only part of the entire project. In addition to the marquee, there was also a large flag-mounted sign, signs for the neighboring theater space and donor recognition signage.

  Lighting involved with the sign renovation was extensive. The curved surface reader-board originally had skeleton neon tubing all around it which was brought back to life in the restoration process. The lighting under the canopy of the marquee had 500′ of light bulbs and the new entrance way to the theater has been described as both “quaint” and “cool” at the same time. Phil Whiteway, the theater’s managing director, loves the sign. “It lights up West Broad Street like a beacon of vitality,” he said. “We’re really happy with the outcome of the whole project! The name change was very important to us and the sign was laudable and a very important element of our re-branding and historic renovation.”


October 2013- Technically Challenging October 2013- Technically Challenging October 2013- Technically Challenging















Case Study: Renaming a Historic Richmond Theater:

From the Mosque to the Landmark to the Altria Theater…


  On February 21, 2014, the historic “Landmark Theater” got its new “Altria Theater” name in lights in a theater marquee upgrade. For more than 85 years this iconic performing arts building in Richmond, Virginia has hosted musical performances from Elvis Presley to The Lion King.  

  Utilizing a generous $10 million gift from the Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris, Holiday Signs designed, fabricated and installed a new 30 feet wide, 3.5 feet tall and 18 feet deep marquee which includes a full-color digital display and LED chaser bulbs.  Richmond’s mayor, Dwight Jones said this is a historic day for Richmond and lovers of the arts and culture. He said, “This will be an important anchor for the Richmond Arts District.”


  “The choices were to go back with the old style manual display or go digital,” said architect, Bruce Herrmann of Wilson Butler Architects of Boston. “We are thrilled to have chosen digital.” he explained.

  The new marquee will now feature the theater’s attractions in a full-color digital display containing 100,000+ vibrant

  Utilizing Altria’s corporate logo as their palette, Holiday Signs was able to custom match to their multi-colored logo and incorporate it into the diamond patterned decorative band wrapping the entire structure.  The canopy was custom fabricated and painted to match the historic ornamentation of the period.


  “The most challenging aspect of the project was handling all the details with respect to warming up to what both the donors and the architect wanted,” commented Colin Robinson, Senior Project Manager with Gilbane Building Company, the project’s General Contractor.

  “This was a design-assist project with things completely changing up to a week before final sign fabrication. Holiday Signs did an excellent job in rolling with the punches and provided everything as needed,” Robinson said.



  “The sign is beautiful,” extolled Charlie Agee, Director of Corporate Contributions and Community Relations for Altria. “It’s even better than we could have imagined. There were major winter storms dogging our schedule, but Holiday Signs was able to get the job completed in time for our grand unveiling ceremony,” he commended.

  Custom sign fabrication takes a great deal of expertise, especially when tasked with fabricating and installing signage that must accurately represent a particular period. Performing arts venues are now embracing the need for timely message updates.  Electronic Message Centers provide venues with the ability to easily update their coming attractions. As experts in this field, Holiday Signs understands the needs of our clients as we are able to balance stakeholder concepts with architectural aesthetics, historic accuracy and district code limitations.



Contact: Holiday Signs Design & Sales Team

(800) 229-9443


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How to Rebrand a Shopping Center? How to Rebrand a Shopping Center?

October 2013 Digital Messaging-Shopping Center EMC's JD final photosGLAMOUR LOST?

  If your shopping center’s signs have been around more than ten years, this article may help you ponder a sign renovation project. Replacing or upgrading signage at shopping centers is a good way to turn humdrum entrances and storefronts into dazzling attractions. Styles change and weather just does what it does to deteriorate their former glow over time. Even if your current sign system hasn’t been around too long, it always makes sense to renovate if the change will have a profound influence on attracting more business.


  The typical shopping center signage package consists of:

  • Free-standing project ID signage: The free-standing signs at the center entrance(s) is/are usually the large pylon or monument type. To renovate a pylon, the outer shell is stripped off to the steel and concrete structure and, if in good shape, a new sign is slipped over the old bones. The average cost to renovate a free-standing sign within our service area varies but examples below can give you a better feel for the average cost ranges of typical projects. Adding a digital component increases the investment and potential for better communications and more business for tenants. Renovating monuments usually costs less than pylons. 
sign renovation examples rockwood before after pylon
A total investment of about $73,000 renovated two entrance pylons and a row of tenant wall signs at Rockwood Square, providing a modernized look that gets the attention of both customers and prospective tenants. Prior to the makeover, the center had a high vacancy rate, but after all the renovations it is now 98% full, much of which is attributed to new signs!


June 2014- Branding- Shopping Center Repositioning brook hill
These dated Brookhill Azalea center entrances were transformed into fresh, new multi-tenant identification signs that compliment each other and inspire customers to shop. The new signs allow tenants to broadcast 24-hr customized digital messages to potential shoppers passing by for an investment of about $55,000 a sign.


  • Pad site signage: Many shopping center properties with pad sites can have both free-standing signs and building-mounted signs at tenant pad site locations. Renovating signage at these sites ranges depending on what’s involved. Custom awnings, multiple sets of building-mounted channel letters, over-sized pylons, digital messaging, and parking lot directionals all add cost.
Augusta Health, of rapidly expanding Fishersville, Virginia, occupies a former Blockbuster Video building that they had us transform into a new outpatient clinic in Staunton, Va. We replaced the channel lettering and stripped the old blue awning fabric and replaced it with new maroon awnings with back-lit graphics advertising the clinic’s range of services. The total cost was less than $25,000 and work was fast-tracked to successfully meet their grand opening deadline.


  • Individual tenant store signs: Most retail center tenants use wall-mounted signs at their storefronts. The most popular tenant storefront sign type is channel letters. Store branding can also be conveyed using box signs, and then there are many other creative options including flush or three dimensional spot-lit signage, graphics painted directly on the wall, and custom awnings.
Channel letter signs are the most frequently used signage by shopping center tenants. There are many lighting options for various effects and letters can be individually mounted or attached to raceways that are usually painted to match the wall color. Channel letters are a very economical way to promote a store’s brand and merchandise. Contact us for quotes.


sign renovation examples-rockwood tenant signs
One way to improve an overall look is to keep tenant signs consistent and uniform regarding colors and layout. The new sign backgrounds are opaque, so at night all that is seen is the copy and the lighted sconces giving the retail center a classy look compared to the old hodge-podge image portrayed by standard illuminated white-background box signs.



  Here is a summary of the primary factors that drive the cost of shopping center sign renovations:


  • Quantity of signs
  • Size/Design/Height
  • Use of digital sign equipment
  • Condition of structure and foundation
  • Custom embellishments to be used


  • Quantity of signs
  • Size/Design/Height
  • Box Sign versus Channel Letter construction
  • Form of Lighting: Internally-Lit, Face-Lit, Halo-Lit, Non-Lit
  • Embellishments


Two Real-Life Retail Center Renovation Success Stories…



  Prior to its makeover, Rockwood Square Shopping Center had a high vacancy rate, but after all the renovations it is now 98% full, much of which is attributed to the new signs according to Gary Modjeska of AREA Properties. “Signs were a very, very important part of the repositioning of the property,” he said.

  Since the property was not a high end center, the client wanted signage that would not be too expensive for potential tenants. Gary worked with Holiday Signs to come up with a new design for the center’s signs. Before renovations, the center had plain, rectangular-shaped box signs with flat faces and poor hodge-podge designs. The client originally planned to replace everything with channel letters but asked us what we thought. We suggested nice design for box signs that would include some architectural amenities, and if there was a tenant change all that would need to be done is swap out a new face, keeping a new tenant’s costs down in the future versus them having to come up with money for a new set of channel letters.

  The Holiday Signs design team utilized an interesting lighting sconce detail for the box signs and the main pylons that tied all thesconce detail signage together. The detail also appears on the under-canopy signs as well. The owner liked the idea of keeping all the tenant signs consistent and uniform regarding colors and layout. Sign backgrounds are opaque, so at night all that is seen is the copy and the lighted sconces giving the retail center a classy look versus what they had before with standard illuminated white-background box signs. Adding simple architectural details and keeping all signs consistent in design supports a unified theme that is attractive to customers and has helped the center grow and thrive again after the re-imaging.

  By utilizing box cabinet signs for the center’s tenants versus channel letters, it makes them all consistent, easier to change, and less expensive than custom channel letters. If not a high end property, lower upfront costs attract and keep more long-term tenants, and there are many creative options to keep costs down while promoting a consistent and eye-catching sign design.


  Holiday Signs added two large full-color Electronic Message Centers (EMC’s) to an existing double-faced entrance pylon at Towne Center West of Richmond. It’s located next to a 1.3 million square foot Super Regional Center, so competition for shoppers is intense.

IMG_0357  Prior to adding the EMC’s, most of the inline tenants had limited visibility to the 25,000+ cars that pass by the center each day. They spent countless advertising dollars to draw customers into their shops, but only produced limited results. Anxious to increase their tenants’ visibility and draw in new customers, the developer hired Holiday Signs to help.

  Holiday Signs specializes in helping developers and shopping center management revitalize the signage for their centers. Many times we recommend updating signage with new designs, graphics, tenant panels or fresh paint but in this case the main identification sign was only a few years old. A thorough analysis suggested the addition of two new EMC’s to the existing pylon would give the tenants their much needed visibility.

  Once the EMCs were in place and the messages started rolling, tenants began to see an immediate increase in traffic to their stores.



Interested in cost ranges for various sign projects? Then, read these:

How Much Does a Digital Sign Cost?

What’s the Maintenance Cost of Digital Signs?

What’s the Operating Cost of Digital Signs?

What’s the Cost to Add Message Boards to Signs?

What’s the Cost to Upgrade Message Boards?

What’s the Average Sign Project Lead Time?

What’s the Typical Cost of Sign Renovation?





How to Buy an Electric Sign?'s-sign-company

How to Buy an Electric Sign?

Part 1: Deciding What’s Right when Choosing Signage


  On any given day, our project managers are working on a variety of sign types.  I walked through our Chester shop and among the many projects in production, I noticed a set of custom channel letters for a church, an internally illuminated pylon sign for a shopping center, a wall cabinet sign for a hair salon, and a fairly large electronic message center for a hospital all being assembled.

  The processes by which these various sign types were specified for particular projects is complex, and in my mind, not part of the typical selling approach of the average sign shop in Virginia.

  There are 4 basic questions we ask customers in the preliminary design stage of a sign. Leaving any unanswered can lead to ineffective sign solutions:

  • What is your desired image?
  • What is your “budget”?
  • What fits best with the building, the neighborhood, and the local code?
  • How do you determine placement and size considering viewing distance & sight lines? 


  The response to the first question concerning overall image has to be extremely unique. After all, shouldn’t your site stand out over everyone else on the block?  Keeping in mind that you only get one chance to make a first impression, it’s important to spend extra time pondering an effective sign design.September 2014- General Signage- Our Approach to Selling Signs, Part 1 blog blurb

  Quite often in small organizations, the owner, general manager, pastor, or whoever is in charge of the site being branded, is the brand and the signage could be designed to reflect his tastes and personality. In larger, more structured organizations, the brand may be more thought out.  For example if an organization’s branding statement is, “We are part of our community,” then perhaps a sign matching the style of the community that integrates a digital component able to post community events under a fresh and inviting sign with the company’s logo would be the best answer to: “What is your desired image?” 

  Sometimes it’s initially difficult for our clients to perceive the sign type that’s best for them. When contemplating new digital signs, we frequently ask customers to list a few nearby signs they like and a few they dislike, and reasons why. Exercises like this help our project managers brainstorm sign designs that will fit their client’s tastes.

Part 2: The Budgeting Process

  Dave Elmore, the owner of Bookkeeping and Management Systems in central Virginia, says he has over 300 business clients and not a single client has a line item for signage. We often put quotation marks around “budget” when discussing the word since, more times than not, our customers have only vague ideas of what an effective custom electric sign costs. And especially one equipped with a high-tech electronic message center! The most important question sign buyers need to answer before they come up with a budget is: “What is needed to get the job done?” From this starting point one can determine the specifications for the most effective budgeting for digital signs. 

   Once the customer has an idea of what would get the job done, cost can be determined. 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.

   Also, since most applications of digital signs produce revenue, you should consider the positive impact on operating budgets. Daniel Dern representing TechDecisions, addressing the business needs of management in corporate, education and worship markets, was correct when he said, “Depending on the nature of the project, the deployment of new digital signage may end up replacing, reducing, or avoiding other expenses, perhaps even costing less than previous activities, or even be a revenue generator. Or the signage may have less tangible but still valuable benefits in ways that can’t be measured in ROI.”

  We have seen companies divide sign purchases across multiple budgets. A hospital client for instance considered splitting 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 a purchase possible by reallocating funds from other lackluster advertising categories for better results. A good example is how clients have reallocated Yellow Pages and other non-productive advertising dollars into new digital signage for much greater ROI.

    If an actual budget number is discussed as a max spend, 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 signage. It’s more about what type of equipment and supporting signage and structural design fit best, based on image, visibility, usage, and many other factors. 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.

Part 3: Environment

October 2014- Branding- Our Approach to Selling Signs Part 3 photo group 1

  Environmental graphic design is a unique field within our industry – sign designers, landscapers, engineers, architects, welders, painters, masons, carpenters, installers – that collaborate to create amazing sign projects that work in generating business while blending in with the environment. Well-designed signs have the power to move people to appreciate a business and even change a person’s behavior. A person previously prone to passing a certain business is suddenly inspired to turn in!

  So how do you stand out and blend in at the same time? Decisions, decisions…

  It’s not too hard to stand out. I’ve met a few marketing consultants who are occasional fish-tie wearers when they need a gimmick to be remembered.  And we too have actually built a huge bass fish sign for a commercial client wanting to make a statement at the entrance to their development, so I’m not knocking the big fish idea. It’s just that generally speaking, most people aren’t so flashy and usually for good reason. The hard part is coming up with good sign solutions that blend corporate statements into surrounding environments.

October 2014- Branding- Our Approach to Selling Signs Part 3 group 2

  A business site has to secure a strong, competitive position in order to prevail. Your building location, and how you promote it, is crucial to the ultimate success of your business. Signs make lasting impressions that work; whether they are positive or negative is up to you.

  You just can’t just throw any old sign system together and expect results. A sign purchase is important and should be well-planned. I recommend working with a reputable, established sign company whose project managers understand your unique site branding and advertising goals and the many variables working against you in reaching them.

October 2014- Branding- Our Approach to Selling Signs Part 3 group 3

  Here are some basic questions your sign consultant needs to ask specifically about your site:

  • What fits best with the building or neighborhood?

    Are elements of the building’s architecture reflected in signage design and embellishments?
        -Colors: Historic, Colonial, Architectural, Natural?
        -Building Materials: Brick, Stone, Concrete, Stucco, Painted Metal?
        -Pitch of roof: Flat, Peaked, Slanted, Domed?
        -Special Features: Columns, Quoins, Cornices, Window Design Elements

  • What fits best in both daytime and nighttime viewing? 

    What type of lighting will work best for consistent 24-hour branding?
        -Spot Lighting?
        -Day/Night Films?
        -Dimensional Letters and Shadowing Factors?
        -Reflective Films?
        -Back-Lighting Options?
        -Digital Signage Options?

  • What works throughout all seasons?
  • What does code recommend and allow?

Part 4: Sign Viewing Distance & Sight Lines


  There are reasons for selecting certain sign products, and the best solutions can only be accurately estimated once you determine what’s best for your particular site.  Our approach to selling signs is a process. Throughout what usually ends up being a series of meetings, our project managers educate customers about effective sign design, asking important questions to “scientifically” develop each sign proposal.

  Two important sign design considerations in choosing the right sign for your site are:

  • What’s the best height relative to the roadway elevation and obstructions?
  • What’s the optimum sign viewing distance from the road?


1. Determine Obstructions

  First, you need to determine any viewing obstructions that could prompt raising the overall height of your sign. Crowded visual environments detract passers by from reading low-to-the-ground signs, so elevating signs can enhance their visibility in certain areas. Sometimes, simply because of a low grade, you have to elevate a sign just to get it in the pNovember 2014-Technically Challenging- Part 4 Our Approach to Sales Blog Blurbroper sign viewing zone for motorists. In cases where signage fronts interstates or other high speed thoroughfares, the higher the sign the better for maximum exposure.

2. Chart your Visibility Zone

  Once you determine the right height, you need to map out your “sign visibility zone.” The optimum visibility zone is in the area where the line of sight drawn at 45 degrees from the sign in each viewing direction intersects the center of the roadway extending back to a place on the highway within the driver’s cone of vision without visual obstruction to a point where the sign can be designed to maximize the local code. 

3. Design Your Sign

  After you have figured out the maximum line of sight, you need to plan the minimum letter height for readability from that distance. (As a general rule of thumb, calculate about 1 inch of letter height for every 36 feet of sight distance based on average letter contrast and 20/20 vision on a clear day.) Keep in mind that LED-lit signs actually have a greater visibility distance at night and LED message signs have better readability 24 hours a day because of the sign brightness. In addition to sign height and letter height, other factors like viewer reaction time, viewer reaction distance, color contrast, and negative space also play a part in the overall scientific sign design for optimum visibility.  Now you can design an effective sign sized correctly, designed for best contrast and readability, maximizing code to do the best job of turning traffic into customers.

Part 5: Sign Prototypes & Demonstrations OF A PROCESS

  The following examples are how we have used sign prototypes and demonstrations and involve some of the most technically challenging situations and why they were a necessity. But even when selling the more typical sign projects like electronic message centers for a church, or a set of channel letters on the front wall of a local retailer, there are benefits of smaller scale demos and mock-ups.

  Here are three reasons for considering sign prototypes and demonstrations:



  The location and entrance of a client’s medical complex was hidden from the main highway. They needed help with signage that directed people to their site for services. Because of the elevation of the property and high speed of passing traffic, a sign raised substantially off the ground was their best bet.

  Utilizing a weather balloon, we aided our designers and client in gaining a clear picture of just how the sign would appear from the roadway. Our customized demonstration indicated the best heights and bearing points necessary to reach the most traffic.


  When owners of an historic Virginia hotel began redevelopment, they needed to make substantial energy improvements to obtain HUD funding.  We had to make sure the proposed new energy-efficient signage was historically accurate.

  The old landmark sign was rusting away. The lighting once used to illuminate its gigantic letters was the old incandescent type. There were some 1,400 light bulbs per side that regularly burned out and there was always a big safety concern involved with changing them.

  Our creative solution replaced old incandescent bulbs with low-voltage LED lighting that looked historically correct by using modern digital printing technology. We demonstrated prototypes prior to final manufacture. Collaborating with the owners, architect and general contractor we tweaked the digitally printed bulb designs and LED lighting placement to where all parties were satisfied with the effect.


  Cost containment is a big benefit of using prototypes for signs, especially for high-rise applications. From our experience, we know it’s best to get it right on the ground before committing to build the whole thing.

  We provided a Gen 1 Prototype based on the original design specifications. After critically viewing the first version of the illuminated corporate logo from the ground, a team of senior executives immediately wanted it taken down and redesigned. Both the lighting and framework were redesigned and a Gen 2 Prototype was prepared. Before this could be approved for production, a final Gen 3 Prototype was ordered because the client re-designed their logo.

  Even with the extra cost in the early design stages, utilizing prototypes trimmed more than 50% off material, labor and fuel costs that would have been incurred had the three design changes been worked out later in a high-rise environment.

December 2014-Technically Challenging- Part 5 Our Approach to Sales-Generic Sales Copy 2 blog blurb


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Restoration of a Historic Virginia Theater Marquee

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Increasing Shopping Center Tenant Visibility



How to Get an Electric Sign Permit?

November 2013-General Signage-Permitting-Pioneer BankHow to Get an Electric Sign Permit?

  If you are going to install a new sign, you will generally need a sign permit. Licensed electric sign companies who build and install electric signs generally handle the permitting as part of the project. Since the average fee to secure a sign permit is around $400-500, you can save money by getting the permit yourself.

  It’s important to think from a permitting point of view from the start of any new sign project. Zoning codes and local ordinances need to be understood before a sign design is started. If not, you could end up spending extra for design changes. Most localities have sign quantity and area allowances based on street or building frontage. The language in most sign codes is so much area for so much frontage, or so many signs per each road frontage, etc.

  There are some types of signs and sign maintenance activities in which permits are sometimes not needed. These things include sign face changes, routine lighting maintenance, repainting the sign structure, temporary signs and banners, historical markers, and interior signs to name a few.


   In 2012 Holiday Signs created customized branding for a new branch of Pioneer Bank in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Stanley-based company expanded into Ruckersville and called on us again for signage. The bank’s new site had outstanding visibility since it was positioned at the entrance to a new Wal-Mart Super-Center in a fast growing area of Greene County; so how to get sign permits that were generous to business marketers out of the County’s zoning ordinance for sign allowances was an important matter.

PROVIDING BRAND PUNCHNovember 2013-General Signage-Permitting-Pioneer Bank

  PW Campbell was the General Contractor for the construction of the new branch. Our contract for the signs was with Pioneer, but all coordination was through PW Campbell. The bank and the general contractor contacted us saying they had talked with the county and were only allowed one building mounted sign. Understanding the significant value of bright and eye-catching signage for customers with highly visible locations, Holiday Signs always digs deep into finding ways to get the most “punch” for our clients. By right, customers are often allowed more signage than they realize. In some instances, where restrictive codes limit customers’ visibility, we can serve as their consultant requesting special code variances on their behalf. Sometimes we are also able to suggest simple sign design ideas that can help raise attention when signs are limited in size and quantity by local codes.


  After further research into the Greene County Zoning Ordinance, we were able to get Pioneer Bank three times as much sign area above what they had originally perceived they were allowed. This was a huge achievement because instead of only being able to utilize one small building-mounted logo on one side of the Backup_of_Blog Blurbs 11-13heavily traveled corner, they could now promote three new logos offering 24-hour identity and branding. One logo could face the sizable volume of traffic turning off Route 29, and the other two could face the critical Wal-Mart entrance road. 

  Pioneer’s Ruckersville Branch opened with prominent signs on three sides of the building, achieving maximum exposure for the bank’s new location.


  Depending on the locality, permits can take time, and it needs to be factored into sign lead-time estimates. We generally allow for 1-2 weeks for localities to approve permits, varying slightly by locality. Usually the more dense the population the longer the permitting will take. So obtaining sign permits in Northern Virginia (Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Stafford, etc) generally takes longer than say Chesterfield, Hopewell, Colonial Heights, etc.



SIGNAGE BEFORE & AFTER- See how enhancing a sign’s structure can gain more attention and stay within code:


  Code allowances related to sign area usually involve the calculations of the area of the sign graphics as opposed to the sign’s structural elements. Therefore it’s possible to add mass to new or existing signs and still stay within the local building codes.

  Such was the case with the new signage we designed, fabricated and installed for Floor & Decor in Richmond, in partnership with the developer, S.L.Nusbaum Realty Company. The retail chain’s new Richmond location that occupied a former K-Mart across from the Reynolds Development used to be the big retail hotspot in the area but had been vacant for at least three years prior to Floor & Decor’s move into the building this year.

  Prominent, eye-catching signage was essential because of their prime location at the busy corner of W. Broad Street and Glenside Drive, and also because Wal-Mart’s new Reynolds Crossing store nearby would soon be drawing even more traffic in front of their store. Plus, Floor & Decor was a new player in the Richmond area, so they needed effective branding of the building and site to help get their name out quickly to potential customers.



The old K-Mart pylon sign was a single pole type with a sign on top. Holiday Signs removed the old sign and replaced it with a two-pole pylon with decorative pole covers on a large base to offer more visual mass. Also, due to the growing traffic count at the corner, the new pole structure was engineered for adding an electronic message center at a later date, with steel framework in place to accommodate a new digital sign once the other half of the building is leased.
There was also a smaller sign located at another entrance that needed visual enhancement. We raised the small sign by constructing a large masonry base to make it more visible to traffic passing by on Broad Street. “It was an exciting project,” said Carter Thompson, Holiday Signs’ project manager who handled all the signage details. “They all love the signs,” Carter said.


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How to Make an Eye Catching Entrance Sign

Eye Catching Entrance Signs headerHow to Make an Eye Catching Entrance Sign

   Harpers Mill Subdivision wanted a bold entrance. As with any new construction project, the first hurdle is being able to envision the end result as you stare at a pile of ungraded earth. An important element of iconic entrance sign projects is being able to effectively coordinate things between the developer, the architect, the county, the utility companies and various trades and professions.

   Holiday Signs consulted with a surveyor to get the foundation placed exactly right and, working from his reference points, the huge limestone structure was placed just where it needed to be.

Eye Catching Entrance Signs pic 1
   “Figuring out where to put the foundation in the midst of a big dirt pile and power line takes planning,” said Henry Moore, Project Manager at Holiday Signs.
   The finished signage boasts a waterfall and fountain. Many of the limestone blocks weighed 400 pounds and the end column with the community’s brand was 20′ high.  
   “The biggest challenge on larger projects like this is getting the concrete foundation right the first time to make sure all the subsequent pieces will fit together. The end product has to convey what the original design concept was all about. As project manager, you have to be able to look at all the parts and pieces in advance to make sure they will all go together as planned. If you miss one part, you have to do a lot of manipulation to make it all come together,” Henry said.

   Collaborating with the developers of Reynolds Crossing, a retail and medical office park off I-64, we created a unique entrance sign. The finished sign, taking the form of a large modern sculpture, conveys the corporate brand and took the ideas and workmanship of a talented staff to complete. A small-scale prototype was produced prior to manufacture so both customer and craftsmen understood the ultimate outcome. Being able to manufacture the complex compound curves of the sign’s design elements without a flaw was truly an art that few area sign companies can achieve.

Eye Catching Entrance Signs pic 2

The iconic Reynolds Crossing sign in Richmond:

  •     Impacts passengers of 36,000 vehicles daily
  •     Impresses millions over its lifetime due to its enduring and eye-catching design

   Signs as part of a company’s regional branding efforts can become icons very quickly. With over 8 million sets of eyeballs right here in Virginia it pays to think big! And iconic branding makes a difference. Scientific studies show that the few select brands considered iconic enjoy a 58% top-of-mind awareness for customers versus a 36% awareness for those considered just strong brands.

  •     Iconic Brands become “super-familiar” versus just “familiar”
  •     “Super-familiar” brands are more likely to be considered for purchase over competing “familiar” brands

   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.

Eye Catching Entrance Signs
   “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.


  •     Provides bright and colorful lighting- a requirement of bright, inviting entrances;
  •     Just as bright as old generation neon or fluorescent lights, yet more economical;
  •     Easy to incorporate into customized signage for eye-catching effects.

Eye Catching Entrance Signs text box

 The Winding Brook Development, located on I-95 in Hanover County, is becoming a retail hot spot.  Holiday Signs provided an eye-catching entrance monument there several years ago as the new retail center developed. The twenty-seven foot high sign touts a fourteen foot high fiberglass fish promoting the cornerstone tenant, Bass Pro Shops.

Eye Catching Entrance Signs fish
    Two large metal signs mounted to its stone base identify the development as Winding Brook, and along with the big fish sculpture, create an unforgettable icon that provides:

  •     Immediate Customer Attraction
  •     Long-Term Brand-Building Results



The Holiday Signs Project Management Team with questions!


Any of these signage designs look familiar?

(Click on pictures for individual case study articles.)

mwv Augusta Health EMC Theater 2-21-14 041Floor & Decor RichmondJanuary 2015-Technically Challenging- VCU GYM pic Airport Wayfinding Photo4




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

Charlottesville       Chesapeake       Fredericksburg        Harrisonburg      

Leesburg         Lynchburg       Newport News       Roanoke     

South Boston/Halifax      Staunton/Waynesboro      VA Beach    Yorktown     


What is the Cocooning Effect?

Shopping Center Repositioning

Re-Branding a Retirement Community

Turning Eyeballs into Smiles

Green Marketing

Site Lighting and Your Brand

Flexible LED Case Study

Custom Awnings

Richmond Executive Airport

Branding Grace Church

Shopping Center Makeovers Boosting Economic Development

Branding an Anniversary at Kings Dominion


Holiday Signs – 11930 Old Stage Rd. – Chester, Virginia 23836 – (804) 796-9443


Thanks for Visiting!!  Please visit again soon!


Eye Catching Entrance Signs footer

Sign Project Testimonials


Project 1- Village Bank, Richmond, Virginia

 bank-case-study-richmond-virginiaFAST-PACED BRANDING
  Village Bank is a community bank that has grown to 15 branches since its start in 1999. With their rapid expansion, including their merger with River City Bank, they have an ongoing need for signage. When they changed their corporate identity, they chose Holiday Signs to translate that image into a new signage program.

  •     Community bank with 15 branches and growing
  •     Needed signage to implement their new logo
  •     Required wide range of indoor & outdoor signage

  “Every time we open a branch, we need a complete sign package,” said Raymond E. (Buddy) Sanders, Sr. Vice-President and COO of Village Bank.

  “Exterior, interior, ATM’s, freestanding, and building mounted…each location requires a wide variety of signage. We needed somebody who could do it all and grow with us too,” he said.




  “Holiday did a great job of turning our registered logo brand into signage and they have a good understanding of exactly what we need when we open a new branch or operations center. Village Bank has rapidly expanded our branch network and we need to have partners we can count on to help us continue that growth.”

  “When it comes to signage, Holiday Signs is our partner,” Buddy said with a smile.




Project 2- American Family Fitness


   There are many options for electric signs and many a Virginia retail company relies on Holiday Signs for guidance in choosing the right options for their unique marketing needs.

  American Family Fitness is Central Virginia’s premier chain of health and fitness clubs. Since their facilities are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they wanted to ensure that their bold, family-friendly image was easily recognizable day and night. To keep their image modern and vibrant, they’ve gone through several re-imagings over the last ten years, each time requiring new signage at all of their locations.


  “Holiday Signs has been through three brand changes with us,” said Brian Evans, President of American Family Fitness.

  “They really understand what we need to be successful,” Brian said. “We require both interior and exterior signage and it’s helpful for us to get it all at one place. And because we are open 24 hours a day, we rely on Holiday to make sure that all of our signs are lit and looking good around the clock,” he continued.

  “Our signage program is a big part of our success, and it’s nice to have a partner that we can count on to do a good job in a timely manner and at a fair price.”


American Family Fitness SIGNAGE

Project 3- The Wilton Companies

The Wilton Companies pic 1

  How quickly do people recognize your brand from the street? Also, how many of them remember you after they pass your site? It’s important not to forget your brick and mortar branding as you focus on customer’s on-line experiences with your business.

  The Wilton Companies is a dynamic, full-service real estate firm that owns, develops and manages a diversified portfolio of over 3 million square feet of commercial property in Richmond, Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region.  They wanted to create an image that not only showed how large and wide-ranging their real estate holdings were, but would also visually tie their properties together.

  •     Over 3 million square feet of commercial real estate
  •     Needed more than signs to unify their brand
  •     Wanted a signage partner to grow with them

The Wilton Companies pic 2

  “Even though we have many diverse properties, we wanted each one to be readily recognizable as a Wilton property,” said Rich Johnson, President and CEO of The Wilton Companies.

  “Holiday Signs was instrumental in implementing our new logo into signage. When we came back and told them about our green accent color band idea, they did a great job of finding ways to bring it to life on many different kinds of buildings.”


  “We’re a growing company,” Johnson adds, “and we need a sign company that we can depend on now and in the future. HolidayThe Wilton Companies pic 3 Signs fits that bill. Their attention to detail and their understanding of our needs has gone a long way to building a successful relationship.”

 The Wilton Companies text box







Project 4- Successful Re-imaging Project in Richmond, Virginia

sign reimaging project program vaHUGE UNDERTAKING
  Pearson Auto Group is a collection of signature auto dealerships in Central Virginia whose product lines include Infiniti, Lincoln Mercury, Honda, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Dodge and Toyota. They were interested in elevating the Pearson brand in the minds of their customers. They instituted a large scale re-imaging project that included new showrooms, storefronts and signage at all eight of their locations.


  •     Regional group representing several national brands
  •     Wanted to elevate the “Pearson Signature” brand
  •     Integrated a single image over multiple locations

successful reimaging project signage car dealers va md nc dc

  “We wanted to put the Pearson name on equal footing with the national brands that we sell,” said Frank Pearson, President of the Pearson Auto Group.

  “Holiday Signs worked with us as a general contractor of signage, more or less. They waded through all the sign ordinances, worked with our general contractors and coordinated with the national sign companies to maintain brand standards. With all the problems inherent with a project of this magnitude, it was helpful to be able to turn the signage part of our re-imaging over to Holiday. They took care of everything and the new signs look great.”

  “Now our brand is getting exposure,” Pearson continues, “and our customers appreciate the connection between each of our locations. Holiday Signs played a big part in helping us reach that goal.”




Project 5 – Kings Dominion

Kings Dominion Success Story-Signage for Theme Parks
Holiday Signs helps this Virginia Theme Park attract & entertain visitors with custom electric signs.


  Kings Dominion is Central Virginia’s most exciting theme park, with over 50 rides, live family entertainment, a 19-acre water park and the largest collection of roller coasters on the East Coast.  They are constantly adding new attractions and upgrading existing ones and signage for these attractions is a big part of the park experience.

  “We’re in the entertainment business and our signs have to make a big splash,” says Steve Blissert, Manager of Signage & Graphics at Kings Dominion.


  “Holiday Signs does a great job of taking our conceptual 2-D art and it into spectacular 3-D sign installations,” he said, “and they almost always have to do it on a very tight time schedule.”

  “Holiday Signs is well-versed in working with lots of different sign materials and fabrication techniques, which is great for us because of the wide variety of signage needs that we have throughout the park.”

  Signage for theme parks is one of several industry niches that Holiday Signs has worked into over the years. Custom theater signage, and historic theater marquee restoration is another entertainment related specialty.

Contact Holiday Signs About a Custom Sign Project



Project 6- Uppy’s Convenience Stores


  Uppy’s is a chain of convenience stores based in Richmond, Virginia. They faced a big challenge when two super-regional convenience store chains moved into the area and drastically changed their marketplace.

  Uppy’s made the decision to improve their stores to maintain and even grow their market share in this more competitive environment.

  “We had to upgrade our image to keep up with the new competition,” said Steve Uphof, Owner of Uppy’s Convenience Stores. “We reached out to Holiday Signs for help. They came up with a great sign package that made Uppy’s very inviting, both inside and out,” he said.

Uppy's text boxMADE THINGS WORK
   “They did a super job of coordinating with the national sign vendors too. Whatever we needed, whether it was for a large exterior gas sign or interior neon, Holiday figured it out and made it work. We continue to rely on them for signage as we add more stores.”

benefits-of-upgrading-electric-signs-convenience-storesUppys convenience store sign upgrade project


Other Branding Case Studies: an Anniversary



June 2014 Branding- Grace Church pdf

Branding Grace for All a Historic Theater