Sometimes a passion can turn into an excellent business opportunity, which is exactly what happened to Gary Hedlin, who owns Show Car Signs, a business that specializes in designing, printing and mounting customized signs for car shows.
“We got started after I made a sign for my truck for car shows, and everyone liked it and asked who did it,” says Hedlin, who was running a sign and banner print shop at the time. “So I set up a site specifically for those signs in 2005, and it took off from there. Now the car show signs are 100 percent of the business.”
The signs are displayed on the ground, on easels or mounted onto a 4-foot brushed-aluminum stand, and the verbiage on the sign describes details like the car’s make, model and year, horsepower, wheel types, suspension, vehicle upgrades and other tidbits to help the car stand out in the competition.
Hedlin custom designs each sign — no templates allowed — and prints them on LexJet TOUGHcoat Aquavinyl PSA using his Canon imagePROGRAF iPF8400 44-inch printer, then finishes them with LexJet Performance Gloss Vinyl Laminate 3 mil. The Aquavinyl is adhered to a 3 mil PVC board and finished with a plastic edge cap to protect the sides.
“Most makers of car show boards use foam board to mount their signs,” Hedlin says. The laminate and PVC board create more durable, longer lasting signs. The LexJet products are key to the success of the niche business he’s created.
“We chose these products because we’ve used them in the past and have always had great results,” he says, noting also that the cost and product availability play into his decision. “I like knowing I can get a roll the next day.”
Hedlin says he and many of his customers will have their vehicles and custom signs at the March 3-5 Chicago World of Wheels, so look for his handy work if you checking out the show.