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Signs point way home for Tees business

ByJoan Grant

Jul 15, 2019 #Business, #Signs

A family-run signage and graphics business that recently marked its 40th anniversary has returned to the centre it calls ‘home’ as it expands into new areas.

Sign Art was started by Eddie Guy in 1978 with son Harry Guy and daughter Elsa Weatherhead both following him into the business.   The company recently moved back into UK Steel Enterprise’s Innovation Centre at Redcar taking double the workshop and office space they occupied there two years ago.

Sign Art provides signage and graphics of all types – from design and manufacture to installation and maintenance.  They include signs, banners and displays in wood, metal and other materials including illuminated signs and 3D lettering, all in increasing demand for company headquarters, factories, schools, vehicles, hotels, shops and crematoriums.

Sign Art arrived at the Innovation Centre on the Kirkleatham Business Park in 2011 when UK Steel Enterprise stepped in and found premises for them after the business was made homeless at just six hours notice.

“The team worked miracles and had us up and running within hours,” said Harry Guy.  “The support and facilities here were ideal for a growing business but, unfortunately, the Centre was full when we desperately needed more space a couple of years ago.

“We had to move elsewhere but as we maintain the Centre’s own signage we were here regularly and always looking to return.   We now have a larger workshop and two offices with a great layout that works really well for us.”

The use of architectural films is one area of refurbishment that is growing strongly for Sign Art.

“It’s a fast and highly cost-effective way to give buildings and fittings an up-date and different look without the need for a full scale replacement,” said Harry Guy.  “The self-adhesive films come in hundreds of textures and finishes, such as marble and wood, giving even curved and irregular surfaces a completely smooth finish.    We are using them on walls, partitions, furniture such as reception desks, lifts, cladding and for exteriors too.  The results are impressive and proving very popular.”

Sign Art took on its second apprentice, Catherine Platts, last year and the four-strong team is expected to grow further.

Sue Kirk of UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary, said: “I remember taking the phone call in 2011 when Sign Art suddenly found themselves homeless.  It is a terrible position for any business to be in and, fortunately, we had space available and got them up-and-running very quickly.   We were then sorry to lose them when we didn’t have a larger workshop vacant so it’s really good to have them back home.”