Small, large, family-owned and franchise businesses fill Mokena’s streets. When you pass a business, you automatically read the name on the sign and decide if you’d like to stop. Without the sign, how would you differentiate one building from the next?
That’s where Signs Now in Mokena comes in. Signs Now, located at 9981 190th Street, Suite K, creates signs and marketing tactics for local businesses and clients all over the country. The company is part of a franchise that began in the 1980s, and Fred Osborne opened shop in Mokena at Route 45 and Willow Lane in January 2000.
They moved to their current location this June.
“We began with no clientele or anything, and at the time, there were four or five sign shops close by,” Osborne said.
Osborne worked as a Will County cop for almost 29 years before retiring. One of his coworkers worked on signs in his basement as a side job and told Osborne that it wasn’t a bad business to get into.
“I have a graphics background, I used to be a printer right out of high school and I like building things with my hands,” Osborne said. “A sign business seemed like an opportunity to combine the graphics and building skills.”
Osborne chose to open in Mokena because he’s lived here since 1968 and didn’t want a far commute. Plus, Mokena was a fast-growing community at the time.
Osborne said that while the business began working with just small signs and banners, they’ve continued to grow and add new product lines. From tiny sticker decals to large electrical signs, and everything in between, Signs Now does it.
This includes carved signs to hang on buildings, digital graphics, 3D signs and letters, custom dry erase boards with charts or graphs, electrical signs, monument signs, post and panel signs, political signs, channel letters, LED boards, vehicle graphics and wraps and tradeshow signs, with a description of each on the Signs Now website.
“We do lots of digital print stuff that we can do as cheaply as single color signs that other companies do, because we keep our technology updated,” Osborne said.
Osborne said that vehicle wraps and graphics are most in demand right now. He explained that while you might pay $2,000 to $5,000 a year for a one-year Yellow Pages ad, you pay around $2,500 to $3,000 for a vehicle wrap that lasts you at least five years.
“If the vehicle is out and about a good amount, it’ll be seen by up to 50,000 people a day, so when they need your product, they know where to go,” Osborne said.
If you drive around Mokena, you’ll see some of Osborne’s local work. To name just a few, check out the signs at , , , and WineStyles in Frankfort.
Osborne’s business has also done business in Mokena’s neighboring towns, West Chicago, South Elgin, Yorkville, Michigan, Colorado, Alabama and Kentucky and many more areas. Osborne said he’s licensed in at least 25 towns in Illinois. If he works out of state, he can design the graphics in-store and then find another Signs Now location to install the work.
“I work with customers to make sure they get the most bang for their buck, so if they open another location, we’ll work with other sign shops so they don’t pay to redesign everywhere they go,” Osborne said.
However, Osborne explained that Signs Now is more of a marketing company than a sign shop, because signs are a form of marketing. Signs Now also employs two designers that can create business logos, cards, brochures and more.
Signs Now continues to make changes as it grows too. In June of this year, .
“We have a thousand more square feet, it’s an newer facility, it has a better layout and the garage area is larger for doing more vehicle graphics,” Osborne said. “We’re looking to add some equipment that will make us more competitive, and with a larger facility, we can do that.”
Osborne also said that Signs Now has begun to go green and recently purchased an HP latex ink printer that can print 60 inches wide, uses all water-soluble inks and produces a high-quality print that can withstand weathering.
In the next couple of years, Osborne’s son Jon will take over the business.
“It’s been a family business, and he’s worked for me since I opened. He’s my manager now, so in a couple years, I can retire for real,” Osborne said.
If you haven’t checked out Signs Now yet, Osborne recommends you do, because they are very customer conscious and are a one-stop shop for building a business.
“We’re in the business of helping them build their business,” Osborne said of customers. “If we treat them right and help them grown their business, they’ll help us grow our business through referrals.”
Doesn’t get much better than one local business helping another, right? For more information, visit http://www.signsnowmokena.com/ or call 708-478-5751.