Sign business designs, makes, installs, maintains, variety of styles
BROOMFIELD — Drive along any major street in the Boulder Valley and you’re likely to see the work of BSC Signs.
The company, headquartered in Broomfield and originally named Broomfield Sign Co. Inc., has been making and selling signs in the Denver/Boulder area for more than a decade.
And while many sign companies are struggling, BSC Signs is expanding, recently opening a sales and design office in Boulder.
“Even during the recession, we just got stronger and stronger,” said John Dobie, founder, owner and chief executive of BSC Signs.
Dobie said that last year BSC grew its revenue by more than 60 percent, and he expects to exceed $2 million in sales in 2012.
It’s this success that has allowed Dobie to tackle his latest expansion — a new 500-square-foot sales and design office at 2121 30th St. in Boulder that opened Jan. 3.
“Boulder has a real entrepreneurial spirit,” Dobie said. “We’ve been doing signs there for years, but we wanted more of a physical presence, with the ability to invite people to meet us there instead of asking them to come out to Broomfield.”
The new office, managed by sign industry veteran Jim Murphy, has been dubbed Boulder Sign Co., a division of BSC.
“We’re really excited about the move to Boulder,” Dobie said. “I think it will help us give those clients even better customer service.”
Starting Down Under
Dobie was born in Canada, but he grew up in Australia. Dobie said he “fell in love with signs” while traveling across the United States as part of his work for an Australian company. After the trip, he started his own sign business in Perth, Australia. He moved to Colorado in 1996 and, after working for two years at local sign company Rainbow Signs he founded Broomfield Sign Co. in 1999.
In the beginning, the company produced primarily stone and sandblasted wood signs like the ones that sparked Dobie’s interest during his travels. During the next few years, Dobie expanded his repertoire to include electric, neon, LED and architectural signs. Soon, Dobie was working with clients from throughout Colorado and across the United States.
In 2004, he changed the company’s name to BSC Signs to reflect its new national reach. Recently, the company built and shipped a sign to London, England, for French company Palladium Boots, taking BSC international.
Now, Dobie bills BSC as a “one-stop shop” with a complete range of sign services.
“What makes us different from other sign shops is that we offer a full-service experience from design to production to installation and maintenance,” Dobie said. “That’s a real advantage to our customers.”
Another advantage, according to Dobie, is BSC’s team of 16 employees.
“We’ve really handpicked our people here, and they’re the best in the business,” Dobie said.
Following sign codes
Included in that group is a dedicated permitting technician. BSC is licensed in more than 40 cities and municipalities, “and each one has a different set of codes,” Dobie explained. It’s the permitting technician’s job to keep all of these rules straight, so that clients don’t have to. Dobie says that BSC offers expertise in pulling even the most difficult permits, such as ones involving historical landmarks.
The company handles everything from banners and vinyl signage to directional signs to retail and restaurant signs to electronic message centers in its nearly 9,000-square-foot Broomfield sign shop. Electronic message centers are digital signs that can display changing messages, a rapidly growing segment of Dobie’s business in recent years.
Some of BSC’s local work includes signs for Boulder Ice Cream, Wink Optical, Bova’s Pantry and Bova’s Frozen Custard on The Hill, Shieldmans Mobile Accessories at Twenty Ninth Street retail district, and Bacco Trattoria and Mozzarella Bar. A towering, retro-styled neon marquee sign the company created for the Pasquini’s Pizzeria in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood even landed BSC on the cover of a 2008 issue of Sign Business Magazine, a trade publication for the sign industry. The company also works on projects for city governments and has created and installed 25 signs for Boulder Parks and Recreation.
In addition to its own client work, BSC offers permitting, installation and maintenance services to other local sign shops. It also installs and services signs for numerous national retailers, including The Gap, DSW, Wells Fargo, Curves, AT&T, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Ann Taylor Loft and Wolf Camera. The company is currently working on a project with Puma, a frequent client, for a trade show in Las Vegas.
What’s up next for BSC? Becoming more eco-conscious.
One way the company is “greening” its operation is by using more energy-saving LED bulbs in signs, a move away from energy-intensive neon (which contains mercury — another eco issue), though Dobie said that exposed neon signs, such as the ones the company creates for Pasquini’s, likely will remain popular for their distinctive look. BSC has also initiated a recycling program for metals, plastics and liquid waste. And Dobie said that by next year, “We plan to be completely switched over to more environmentally friendly low-VOC paints.”
“We’ve taken it upon ourselves to become more eco-friendly,” Dobie said. “It’s something we know our clients are going to keep looking for.”
BY VALERIE GLEATON
Download Sign Business Magazine article about BSC and the Pasquini’s sign.