((L-R) Sign Pro of Bend employees Shawna Clair, Jace Tuttle and Gracie Bales, back row; front: Owner Susie Decker | Photo by Kristine Thomas)
Elvis Presley, a six-foot ruler, three ladders, direction dots and more were signs of the creativity of Sign Pro of Bend employees Jace Tuttle, Shawna Clair and Gracie Bales — owner Susie Decker has clearly met her goal to provide a workplace that is productive, efficient and a fun environment, so her employees enjoy coming to work every day. Their goal is to work with their clients to create memorable signs, banners, sandwich boards and more to promote their clients’ products and services.
Sign Pro was founded in 1992 by Decker, Tess Tompos and John Larkin. In December of 2020, Tompos and Larkin retired and sold their shares of the business to Decker.
Sign Pro was originally owned by a local television station where Larkin was the manager. He realized the need for signs and banners for their clients and advertisers. Tompos was hired to be the manager of Sign Pro and Decker to handle sales.
“In 1998, when the television station sold to a company from out of the area, it was the perfect opportunity for the three of us to purchase Sign Pro,” Decker said. “There was still a great need for signage, and we were a solid, growing company in the community.
Looking back, Decker is honored to have worked with Tompos and Larkin to build their small sign shop to one of the top sign companies in Central Oregon.
Decker said while there have been changes in management and technology, one thing remains the same. “At Sign Pro, we are committed to providing our Central Oregon clients with highly personalized products and excellent customer service,” Decker said. “We treat our customers like they are family.”
Even after almost 30 years in the sign business, Decker still feels honored when a customer orders a vehicle graphic, sign or banner. She enjoys seeing her customers’ excitement about their finished product. “I love that we get to help them with the branding of their business.”
Decker said COVID-19 has changed everything from how the business operates to the products being requested. “We are offering a larger variety of products now, from floor graphics to wayfinding signage to help businesses inform their clients of new procedures and processes that are necessary to keep business going,” she said.
Sign Pro continues to create traditional signs such as banners and sandwich boards and has expanded its product line to include ADA signs, three-dimensional signage, custom flags and event signage, just to name a few.
Decker said she has been asked why signs and banners are still relevant in today’s advancing technological arena of advertising and marketing. She explained that many businesses cannot fully advertise and market online.
“Signs and banners are used to highlight products and services and to create brand awareness. They are reusable and create great impact for our clients, not to mention they allow for a high return on investment,” she said. “Vehicle graphics are one of the most effective methods to get your name out in the world to be seen.”
The advancement of full-color digital printing, signs, banners and vehicle graphics are much more exciting and memorable than they were back in 1992. “People are very visual, and our brains will remember a picture or graphic more easily than a printed ad, and signs and banners generally cost less than other types of advertising,” she added.
As she looks ahead, Decker envisions a continued strong growth for Sign Pro by continuing to stay up-to-date with technology and advancements in the industry.
“We will continue to offer excellent customer service and offer a quality product at a fair and reasonable price,” Decker said. “We will continue to take the time to talk with our clients to help them develop their brand awareness.”
Thankful for the support she receives from the business community, Decker said Sign Pro has a tradition of paying it forward. Sleep in Heavenly Peace, The Giving Plate, Bethlehem Inn, Grandma’s House, Quota in Central Oregon and the Bend Spay and Neuter Project are some of the nonprofit organizations Sign Pro supports.
“We have always felt strongly that it is important to give back to the community. The businesses and people here have supported us over the years and it’s our responsibility to help give back as much as possible,” Decker said. “It’s good for the morale of our team, and it’s good for the soul.”