Community Spotlight with
John and Ali of H & H Signs
Steve: Hello and welcome to another Community Spotlight segment, I’m your host, Steve with Burnett Painting. Today, I’m here with H & H Signs, winner of the Better Business of the Month award through the Venice Chamber. Welcome John and Ali.
Ali: I would like to say first of all, thank you for doing this and taking time out of your busy schedule to do the Community Spotlight and let the community know what great businesses we have out there. And we both feel truly honored and grateful that you’ve asked us to be a part of it.
Steve: I appreciate that very much, I’m having a lot of fun. This is great and I enjoy doing this. H & H Signs… John, how did you get your start in this business?
John: Well, fifteen years ago, my son and I moved down here, we all moved down here fromIndiana and he started working for a company that did signs and they were sign brokers. They really didn’t make the signs, they were just sign brokers. He was just about ready to get a large contract with the Orange County School System for ADA Braille signs and he looked at me, and I was a national sales manager traveling all over the place and he said “are you tired of traveling?” and I said “sure”. He said “you know a lot about production.” Not so much, I’m a salesman. He says “let’s start our own company and let’s start making our own signs, I’ve got this contract with the school systems.” So he pulled me into it, I didn’t have to travel anymore and we learned signs from the ground up. We hired one of the best production managers, Kelly, and she is in charge of all the machines in the back. So we started with Braille signs, which has nothing to do with the retail process and we grew into all types of signs and diversified.
Steve: As we can see behind us, on this wall here and another wall, I see them through out your entire shop and office.
John: I moved onto real estate and I brought in my daughter.
Steve: So when did you bring in Ali and how do you get your start into the business?
Ali: I started in about 2003 and I actually started back in the production room, making the signs and then gradually moved my way up to the front and into being his partner and working in the company.
John: I’m into cheap child labor (laughing).
Steve: What do you enjoy most about what you all are doing?
Ali: I enjoy working with the people and helping them make their business successful and getting them noticed, getting them out there and making them look good and growing their businesses as well. And growing the relationships with our customers.
Steve: I think you would both admit that with our changing times and economics, what do you see as trending or coming trends, different trends for your business.
Ali: A lot of people are wanting to do things more on a shoe string at this point. With signs, you can do that to a certain point but we don’t want them to walk out of here with a sign that is not going to last, or won’t be right for their application. So we try to find a very good middle ground to where we stay in their budget and yet they still get a very good quality sign that’s going to work for what they are using it for.
John: I think that is very important. We like to make signs that are going to last, that are durable. We have some things that will last for a very long time. Sometimes, we have to price them the lower sign so that will meet their budget. We will go forward with something that will be effective for them. There are other things; like we know the code well enough that there are certain things they can get by without doing a permit. We aren’t going to put up anything that requires a permit, because we are licensed in the county. There are ways to get around it, things that are still effective.
Steve: You made a good point with permits. Do you find you do more signs for buildings than you do vehicles or do you do vehicles signage as well?
John: This month vehicles. Next month building. It is all over the place, we are so diversified to do all types of signs that anybody walks into the store, we find out what they need and we fill it.
Steve: Would you please describe the funniest or strangest incident?
Ali: Any time we go out to install a sign, whether it is a panel sign or individual letters, you can’t do that without having at least two people yelling out their car window or yelling at you from the bottom of the ladder… “it’s crooked” or “it’s spelled wrong”.
Steve: While they are going by?
Ali: Yeah, yelling out the window. They think it is the funniest thing and we just go “yeah yeah yeah… ha ha ha” .
John: We were putting up a sign at USF inTampa and someone said “it’s spelled it wrong” and we thought yeah yeah yeah and kept putting up all these nice letters on the building. We came back toVenice and they called us up and said “it really is spelled wrong.”
Steve: So one time somebody drove by to yell at ya, and they were right.
Ali: They were right.
Steve: What one sentence would you like people to use when the describe H & H Signs? And what is unique about H & H Signs?
John: I believe that the equipment that we have is kind of unique for the area. We have two computer routers back there, that are C and C machines, if people understand that. C and C machine is a computer router, it’s like a four foot by eight foot table that you put a big sheet on there and it actually routes.
Steve: Oh, so it’s like a carpenter’s router. When you say router, I think about a computer router but it is…
John: Router, engraver. So we have that and it is what we use to make the Braille signs. That does make us unique. But also the router gives us the ability to make very durable signs that will last for 25 years. If someone has a problem, we do a lot of parts and that type of thing. That is kinda unique for us. So what do you think?
Ali: I would like, when this is all said and done, for people to walk away from H & H Signs with a feeling that they got great customer service, had got a good product for what they spent, that they felt comfortable with it, that they feel like we treated them like family and we used integrity and they got the bang for their buck, the whole experience.
Steve: I can testify that for us. We used your services and it turned out fantastic. It is time for our bonus question. So you each get to answer. Point to a card and I’ll read it. Ali first… if you were an animal, which animal would you be?
Ali: Wow, what a great question. I would have to say I would like to be a dolphin, just the speed they have, the freedom that they have. They are just so beautiful and graceful. I think that would be pretty cool.
Steve: I think that would be great. Thanks Ali. John… if you could be a super hero, who would you be and why?
John: I’d be Superman, because he can fly. I’ve always wanted to fly, always wanted to be strong and be a man of steel. He always did good, he was out to make things right which is really good too, to have that kind of power to make things right would be super.
Steve: Well, that’s it. Thank you John, thank you Ali.
Ali: Thank you.
Steve: You’re welcome, my pleasure. This has been another Community Spotlight. I’m your host, Steve with Burnett Painting reminding you and encouraging you to make it a great day with John’s final passing sign… to “have a nice day”. Thank you.
426 East Venice Avenue, Venice, FL