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Surviving Campaign Signage

(December 2016) posted on Mon Nov 28, 2016

How can print shops withstand election season – and turn a profit?

By Joe Holt

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Depending on where you live in the country, the view out your window right now might look very different than mine. In Arizona, we’re just beginning to put on light jackets in the morning for our daily commute. But in Maine, there’s a good chance that more than a few people are digging out their cars from the latest snowfall. Regardless of your locale, for a time, the view out both our windows was most likely the same – a sea of red, white and blue election signs.

The 2016 presidential, state and local elections are done and in the books. Whichever way you lean politically, you were probably happy to see the many campaign signs dotting yards, streets and telephone poles across your city come down. The variety of sign shapes and sizes, and their many colors, names, slogans and promises, can be an eyesore, but according to a report released last year by a host of professors from Columbia, Binghamton and Old Dominion Universities, they do make a difference in an election, which is great news to the print shops producing them all across the country.

But as more and more campaign signs are produced each year for everything from local school board elections to state-wide propositions, how do signshops cope with fast turnaround times, tight budgets, cash-strapped candidates and campaign managers who need inventory produced yesterday? How do they stay competitive and nimble, and not lose their shirt in the 24/7 lead-up to voting day? To the signshops trying to survive until the next Election Day, it’s all about keeping customers happy, making sure they’re meeting demand – and keeping a healthy cash flow.

If the customer ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy
Think back 17 years to 1999. The world was anxiously awaiting the consequences of the infamous Y2K bug, the movie “The Sixth Sense” had everyone seeing dead people and John Elway led the Denver Broncos to a 34-to-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl XXXIII. It’s also the same year Steve Grubbs launched his online signshop, (Davenport, IA).


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