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Category: Signs

Collin Street Bakery – Visible From Germany

Very large sign at Collin Street Bakery, Texas

Bonnie and I were headed for Dallas Texas when she noticed the enormous sign for Collin Street Bakery.  Our 25′ motorhome looks like a Tonka Toy below the sign!

Bonnie had been ordering their fruitcake online for decades and wanted to see the store.

The shop shown here is very large with lots of samples and reasonable prices.  There is ample parking for tour buses.

Inside there are photos and some of the history.

The original store was a small bakery based on a fruitcake recipe from Germany.  There are photos of delivering by horse and buggy and also the small shop with a luxury hotel above the store.

Free Samples

As guests checked out, the shop stuck samples in the luggage.

Some of the guests were the owners and members of the Ringling Circus.

They liked the baked goods so much that they asked for fruitcakes and other goodies to be shipped to Germany and other European countries.  That launched a mail order business.

Today they ship to 50 states and 196 countries.

Learn More About The History of Collin Street Bakery

Amazing Marketing

It amazes me how a few entrepreneurs can take a simple idea and grow it to become a worldwide phenomenon.  Companies like Wallmart, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Cracker Barrel started out small and grew.

Collin Street Bakery saw an opportunity and ran with it using samples, advertising, order catalogues, and more.

And yes, a sign that is big enough to be visible from Germany!

What business would you like to grow?


Are You One Sign Short of a Full Business?

Your business location is doing well, but there is room for business growth?

Could the appearance of your shop from the street and sidewalk be leaving money on the table?

Self Assessment Walk Through Exercise

Here is something you can do in a few minutes to assess how your business is seen by the public.

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer and do the following.

  • Drive towards the business.
    • Can you see where the store is easily?
    • Is there a sign?
    • Does it look shabby, suggesting a neglected business?
    • Does the sign communicate the products and services offered?
    • Are you compelled to stop?  Or drive on to the next business?
  • Park in front of the business:
    • What does the front of the business look like?
    • Does it look professional or shabby?
    • Does it look dark and possible closed or out of business?
    • Is there and OPEN sign?
    • Is there any information about services or specials visible from the sidewalk?
    • Do you feel welcome to enter?
  • Walk into the business.
    • What is your first impression?
    • Does the staff look welcoming?
    • Is the signage helpful?
    • Are the displays attractive?
    • Is this a business you would want to use for yourself?

How Did Your Business Do?

There is always room for improvement and small changes can make a difference.

Here are some common issues that we saw in Texas:

  • Broken or non-functioning signs. 
    West Texas is especially hard on signs.
  • Businesses that have outgrown their signs.
    Valley Pecan on US-287 had some cute hand-painted signs that were funny, but we were quite surprised to find a very fine selection of fudge, wine, art, gifts, and a great deli in addition to the nuts.
    The signs outside did not reflect the quality inside.  The business may have started as a temporary market-stand and grew from there.  We would recommend a nice static sign with their logo and a video message board to communicate the depth and quality of their offerings to the tens of thousands of cars driving by on US-287.
  • Dark storefronts.
    Texas and other southern areas get very hot in the summer and shops often have dark tinted glass.  For some businesses the only way you could tell if the shop was open was to try opening the door.  In the very least a bright lighted OPEN sign would help.  A scrolling LED message board or LED video sign placed in the window can announce to the world that you are open for business and special offers can entice people to enter.

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Free Sign For A Day Program

Video LED SignWe are headed back to Vancouver, British Columbia for March. We are accepting applications for a few business to try a LED message board or a LED video message board for a day, free of charge.  Here is what it would look like:

We do a preliminary free assessment of your public visibility and make some recommendations.

If it looks like a sign could help bring in business, we will work with you to do a one day trial and track the results.

We will discuss what the messages and offers will look like.

We will program the sign and show you how to program it yourself.

We will set up a draw for a free gift basket to encourage customers to fill out a short survey card with a few questions to see if they came in because of the sign.  Also we ask for an email address to add to your mailing list.  If you don’t have a mailing list, we will help you start one.

We will work with your team to do a coordinated promotion with your website and social media platforms.  If you have a limited online presence, we will do some promotion for you and recommend digital marketing strategies for the future.

What is the Catch? What is in it For Us?

We would like to be a long term service provider for your business.

We fully expect that the sign trial will result in a measurable increase in business and you will want to keep the sign. At that point we will discuss the prices for the optimal sign for your business.  We use a supplier in California and will charge their published prices, not an inflated price.

Earned testimonials and referrals greatly appreciated.

We also offer related services on a freelance or retainer basis.  For example, you could retain us to help with any of the following:

  • A more comprehensive strategy for outdoor signage.
  • Programming of the signs.  We can design the presentation for the video LED signs remotely and can send the program for uploading to the sign.
  • We can provide copy suggestions to your staff to program the signs and coordinate with other marketing actions.
  • We can work with you to improve indoor signage and merchandising.
  • We can work with you to help expand your online presence including websites, blog post, social media, sales funnels, and direct response campaigns.

Marketing Math

You don’t make money to buy a sign, you buy a sign to make money.

There are many studies available to confirm that a good sign can increase business immediately.  We are offering the one day free trial so you can measure it for your business.

The general strategy with advertising is that if you  can spend a dollar to make two, your keep scaling up until either:

  1. Sales stop scaling.
    Each additional dollar spent does not result in increased revenue.
  2. Demand exceeds capacity. 
    There is no point in spending money attracting customers that you cannot properly serve.

The good new is that if you find a strategy that works, you can control how fast you scale your business growth by how much investment you put in each month.  That way to you can ramp up your business at a rate that is comfortable for you.

Interested in a Free Trial?

Please contact us to discuss your business goals and a Free Sign For A Day session.

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Why Full Color LED Video Signs Make Sense

The most stunning sign your noticed recently was probably a LED video sign.

The evolution of signs has gone from static sign boards, to more elaborate lighted signs, to monochrome LED message boards, to tri-colour message boards, to full colour message boards, to full color LED video signs.

A few years ago the digital signs were quite ugly and expensive.  You can still see lots of those in place today.

If you saw a spectacular LED video sign it was probably in front of a casino or stadium and was very expense.

Recently the quality has been going up and the prices coming down so that even small businesses can benefit from a full color video sign, from small signs that go on a wall in a window to large signs mounted on poles or stands in front of your business.

A combination of a lighted moulded sign and an electronic massage center can be a very effective combination.

I think the LED Video signs will soon dominate outdoor signage.  Here is why:

  • If you want to change your logo and branding, you can simply reprogram the sign to show the new images. A custom made sign is costly to replace if the design is not working.
  • Announcements and product features can be as tacky or tasteful as you want.
  • Simple video sequences can attract attention and communicate your method better than scrolling text.
  • They look cool and expensive, even if the price was not more than a static sign.

We are researching various LED sign suppliers to recommend.

Five Outdoor Sign Success Factors

Installing an outdoor sign can be one of the best things you can do to boost your visibility and increase business.  It is also a significant investment.

Here a five factors that contribute to getting the best return on your investment.

1. Design

The design of your sign need to reflect the best of your business.  If you already have branding in place, then the sign should echo the branding you have already invested in.

If you do not already have good branding such as a logo, type style, and other design elements in place, it is worth developing those before commiting to a sign.  The design resources can be used on business cards and other marketing mediums as well as the sign.

The sign design needs to be large enough and clear enough to be read at a distance by people in cars who may only have a few seconds to catch your message.

2. Placement

The sign will be most effective if placed where a lot of people can see it.  For most locations with a lot of road traffic, this is usually fairly close to the road and easily read from cars going in both directions.

Sometimes a sign on a wall can also be highly visible and accessible.

An effective strategy is to use both kinds of signs.

Please check with the bylaws department for your city first to make sure you know what kinds of signs and installation is permitted.

3. Durability

Outdoor signs are subject to the ravages of wind, sand, hail, snow, extreme heat, extreme, cold, and drunk drivers. A tough sign will keep working for years and decades to bring customers into your business.

4. Installation

There are signs you may be able to install yourself or with a handyman.  Most outdoor signs do not fall into that category.  I good installation crew will make sure the pole or structure supporting the sign will complement the sign design and keep it secure for years.

In almost all locations you will need a certified electrician to wire up the sign.

5. Support

All signs will need maintenance at some time.  It is worth having a company that will guarantee the sign for a period and service for reasonable fees if needed.  While a sign may use a replacement tube that is fairly standard and easy to obtain, getting up twenty feet in the air to open up the sign in a crosswind is not something you can do on a ladder.

Sometimes it is worth paying more to get complete service and support.

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