From the Las Vegas strip to Safeway stores across the Valley, Young Electric Sign Co. is in the business of getting attention.
While the firm’s local division may be in a quiet industrial park off Interstate 10 in Chandler, the company also known as Yesco has designed, built and installed high-tech signs for clients including M &I Bank and the Gila River Indian Community’s Wild Horse Pass Casino.
"We’re in the business of promoting our customer, not promoting ourselves," said David Jones, company vice president.
Visitors to Las Vegas surely recognize "Vegas Vic," "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" and the signs that create the "Fremont Street Experience," but may not know that all of those were designed, built and installed by Yesco.
"Almost everything you associate with Vegas is a Yesco product," Jones said.
The local division of the company designed and installed the lighting system that illuminates the Frank Lloyd Wright spire on Scottsdale Road and the Tempe Autoplex sign along Interstate 10.
Founded in 1920 in Ogden, Utah, the firm has grown to 1,200 employees across the West and eight divisions, including one in Chandler.
The local operation is housed in a 55,000-squarefoot building on 6 acres just off Chandler Boulevard, where almost 100 designers, artists, glass blowers, metalworkers and city code and permit specialists create and build signs.
Workers build everything from high-tech signs that use tiny light-emitting diodes to create changing words and messages to signs fabricated in old-school neon to simple hanging banners.
"Our business customer is everything from a mom and pop shop to casinos to big businesses," Jones said.
Jones’ division has just designed signs for M &I bank locations across the Valley using high-tech, computeraided design tools and the skills of precision metalworkers. But it was a challenging task.
Because the letters in the "M&I" logo are connected, designers had to create the pattern and an underlying lighting system that keeps its scale and shape as it wraps around the bank’s signature rotundas.
Engineers had to make sure the whole thing would stay put — through the monsoon, dust storms and months of tripledigit temperatures — once installed.
"The M &I logo itself was roughly 8- to 8 1 /2-feet wide. It doesn’t look that big once it’s up there, but it is," said Kelly Chipman, senior account executive.
Chipman and Jones said that good signs can make or break a business. More than just words advertising a service, signs create a business’ brand and identity.
Marketing studies have shown that "the more prominent signage you have, the more business is in the cash register," Jones said. A McDonald’s marketing study showed that a larger sign created an additional 18 percent in business at a given store.
While Yesco also does signs for McDonald’s, both Jones and Chipman said their clients aren’t just the big guys. Now owned by the third generation of the Young family, their company was once a struggling start-up.
Because of that, the company has signs and financial packages that allow small businesses to have professional identities while freeing up cash for inventories and operating costs.
"A sign is typically the last thing a small business owner will think about, but it’s probably the most important," Chipman said.