About Us

From our President!


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In the year 1978, Sign-Mart opened its doors in a small store on a not so major street in the city of orange, in the County of Orange in Southern California. If this does not give you an idea of where we are located, let me offer you some familiar landmarks. Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, is only 15-minutes west from Sign-Mart’s Orange location. Famous Newport Beach is 20 minutes away, Los Angeles is 30 minutes north and San Diego is 45 minutes south. In other words, we are in the middle of everything. Within 1 hour plus or minus 30 minutes from Sign-Mart, you can be surfing, snow skiing, desert motorcycling or (now, if you have a passport) carousing in Tijuana. Until 1978 I had never been in the sign business, I had never had a brush in my hand nor was I able to layout anything except maybe in the sun. When we started up I was the sales staff and my partner, at the time, was a real life sign painter. He taught our only employee how to layout, design and brush paint banners. Luckily, Scott, our young employee, was not only very talented, but a very fast learner. Scott is now part owner of Sign-Mart and continues to amaze us with his diverse talents and skills. I have continued to handle sales, marketing and the financial aspects of Sign-Mart. Between the two of us and the great employees we have had and continue to have, Sign-Mart continues to advance and grow.

Originally Sign-Mart opened as a retail sign shop. Our main product was hand painted vinyl banners and signs. Our sales counter was about 8 feet long and we had a small section in front of the counter displaying retail stock signs (pre-made) and flags. My intension was to present Sign-Mart, a retail sign shop, as a normal business rather than a “cottage type business”. I wanted our customers to feel comfortable with our products and pricing. Well, they did and by 1985 we had 10 sign painters on staff, sewed our own blank banners, began screen printing signs as well as banners and expanded the retail area of the shop.

1986 was an important year, we attended our first national sign convention. It was held in New Orleans. The convention room was very small… maybe 2000 square feet and had only 4 aisles of displays. Most of the displays were for electrical signs and in the middle of one of the aisles was a crowd of people, around a booth. I wandered over to see what was going on. The crowd was two or three people deep so I could only hear a strange mechanical noise that was coming from something in front of the crowd. So, I politely made my way forward and to my amazement I was face to face with a little machine known as the Gerber 3B. At that moment I realized how Edison must have felt when his first light bulb lit up. I saw the light, only this time it was the light of the future! This machine could turn even me into a sign painter! So, for the price of $6000 I immediately purchased Sign-Mart’s first Gerber 3B. Come to think of it, the Gerber 3B was our first computerized production machine.

By 1987, we had 3 or 4 Gerber 3B’s running and cutting vinyl letters all day long. Sign-Mart’s next equipment purchase soon followed; a 5’x7’ Aristographics flat bed plotter with Signus software. What a machine! If was fast and accurate with 48” wide cutting capability plus all kinds of amazing graphic features. Scott went through the Aristo training and quickly became an expert. Scott and I both realized the significance of this Aristo Plotter for Sign-Marts future. Within a year or so, Sign-Mart setup a 600 watt LMI laser for acrylic cutting and an Ingersoll Rand Water jet for metal and stone cutting. We also added a Dalgreen Engraver. All of these new machines were computer driven and gave us the ability to produce high quality graphics economically. The computer technology revolution had finally reached the sign industry and we were part of it!

During this time Sign-Mart continued to grow and expanded to almost 10,000 square feet. The multi unit building we occupied was now all Sign-Mart except for one small corner unit. The retail section was also growing. It was now 1000 square feet with several aisles of products. We added displays to the walls and standup samples out on the floor. We were selling plastic display products, real estate supplies, U.S. flags, pre-made signs and decals. Our customer base was mainly retail but Sign-Mart had begun to develop a small but loyal wholesale sign trade with blank banners, laser cutting, acrylic letters, screen printing and water jet cutting. Little did I realize that the wholesale business these other sign shops were bringing to us would lead Sign-Mart into a totally different direction within a few years.

As the laser and water jet business grew our need for more cost control and availability of our plastic inventory lead us to open Plastics Plus. This new company was located about a mile away from the Sign-Mart building and distributed acrylic and plastic sheets in all sizes, thicknesses and colors. As time went on we added other products such as: styrene, foam, steel and aluminum substrates.

A couple of years flew by and Sign-Mart had now out grown the initial building that we had occupied. We started the search for bigger and better location to call home. This was no easy task! Everything we were coming across was too expensive. My real estate agent suggested that I remain patient and something would come up. Almost a year later, Hank, my agent finally called me and told me of a building that we had previously looked at, only now, the owner was really “motivated” to sell. The building was located on Fletcher Street in Orange. I was able to get a 30% reduction on the price of the building and Sign-Mart and Plastics Plus had a new home. It was huge, or so we thought, it was a whole 30,000 square feet. It was all ours, our own building. It was a great feeling and a relief to no longer have a landlord to deal with. Whatever it takes… If you can swing it buy your own building!!

As we settled in to our new home, other changes occurred at Sign-Mart. We became an exclusively wholesale sign and supply business. This included: fabrication, products and supplies to the resale sign trade. So, from our new 30,000 square foot home we no longer serviced the retail end of the sign trade. All of our services quickly expanded and within 10 years our growth was amazing. We had merged Sign-Mart and Plastics Plus in the same building. We started our delivery service and soon we had several vans and trucks delivering substrates, blank banners, screen printing, laser cutting, vinyl, sign supplies, digital printing, dimensional lettering, engraving and anything else we sold. Our showroom also expanded not only in size but in products as well. Even though we offered a delivery service many of our customers would drive to our location in Orange from all over Southern California. To pick up their supplies, talk about sign jobs and check out the sign products, tools and materials displayed in our showroom.

Sales began increasing and so did our payroll! By the turn of the century Sign-Mart had been in business a little over twenty years and had increased its business every year. In fact every month was better then the same month from the previous year. Twenty years of continuous growth… Not bad! By the end of 2001 we had acquired 2 more small buildings. We used one for our plastic fabrication and the other for general storage.

After moving into Fletcher in 1993, Scott and I had sworn that Sign-Mart would never move again, well I was about to eat those words! Once again we had out grown our building. In 2002 we sold all three buildings and bought one super sized old building. The building was in an older part of town but still in Orange. The “New” old building is 84,000 square feet and was originally completed in the early 1960’s. Our new building was originally home for a hemp rope manufacturer, for the first 20 years and then a wood working facility until Sign-mart’s purchase in 2002.

Our current building is 84,000 square feet and boy is it big, lots of space. I ride a bicycle all over the building to save time and keep an eye on things. We now have about 90 employees, 10 delivery trucks and thousands of customers all over the United States and beyond. We have 80,000 square feet of fabricating equipment, pallet racks filled with raw materials and inventory. Along with all of the warehouse and fabrication space, we also have a great new showroom. It is 4,000 square feet with an 80 foot sales counter. Check out the video tour of our building. It’s on our home page. The new building is a perfect fit. We are truly in a place that helps us facilitate our customer’s needs. We do everything as before only bigger and better! We are proud of the, Sign-Mart name and our reputation! Our mission statement, we want to be your Best Single Source for supplies, fabrication, services and advice, has always been and will continue to be what Sign-Mart is all about. I invite you to visit us when your in town and enjoy a personal tour of our facility. It is educational as well as fun! It is a great opportunity to see screen printing, laser cutting, dye sublimation printing, digital printing, dimensional letter production, plastic fabrication, ADA engraving and much, much more. All under the Sign-Mart roof!

Lastly, I want to thank all of our customers… whether you are a long time loyal customer or just beginning with Sign-Mart. Your business is very much appreciated, as are your opinions and suggestions. All the Sign-Mart family wishes you good health and prosperity!

All the best!
Gene Sobel