Local Partnerships Show “Signs of Excellence” When it Comes to Pittsburgh Innovation and Growth

“Standard Bank needed a way to keep customers and employees safe during the pandemic, but supplies were in high demand. We asked Signs of Excellence if they could fabricate protective shields for our offices. Without hesitation, they immediately provided us with a custom design, fair price, and high-quality product. Their ‘can do’ attitude and expertise was a win-win for everyone. Supporting local businesses always yields the best results and fosters innovation and growth for the local economy.” — George Arendas, CVP, Manager of Community Banking  

Standard Bank’s interview with Ken Kelsey, Operations Manager at Signs of Excellence, dives deeper into how their business changed in 2020.

Q: What type of business is “Signs of Excellence?” Signs of Excellence is a woman-owned, family corporation established in 2006. We are a member of Sign World, the largest organization of independent sign producers in the Americas with nearly 300 operating business locations. We are conveniently located off of Route 22 in Murrysville, Pa. As an independent contractor, our product offerings are much more expansive than most sign franchise companies. We design, manufacture, and install our products ranging from ADA signage, cabinet signs, monument signs, vehicle graphics, channel letters, and sandblasted and CNC-routed signs.

Q: When Standard Bank came to you with their need for shields during the pandemic, how did you react? At the start of the pandemic in March of 2020, we were very concerned how our business would be affected; we anticipated that layoffs would be necessary. Fortunately, that did not happen, and we actually continued operating at a higher level than the previous year. One of the major opportunities arising out of the pandemic was an urgent need for plexiglass virus shields. Standard Bank, a long-term customer, was the first to give us a call and inquire if we could design and produce free-standing virus shields. This question was of great interest as we knew our experienced staff and sophisticated sign-making equipment could make the product; however, we had not previously produced virus shields. Standard Bank sent us a picture of what they had in mind, and within 24 hours, we were able to design and produce custom shields in various sizes to fit the teller openings at Standard Bank’s multiple locations.

Q: How as this adaption and “can do” attitude helped your business through the pandemic? With the opportunity provided to us by Standard Bank, not only did this new product assist Signs of Excellence to avoid a layoff, but also assisted us in developing an entirely new product line that would drive business into the future. We produced shields for dozens of local banks and businesses throughout the pandemic. Our quick development of the shield product supported our application to be confirmed as an essential business. As an essential business, we have been able to continue operations throughout the pandemic and keep our staff gainfully employed.

Q: How has your ability to innovate on a dime affect the company long term? Since becoming designated as an essential business, we have expanded our new product to include floor-standing and hanging shields for other essential businesses, doctors, libraries, and more. Since we were able to continue business, we were able to secure a large contract for a new company, designing, producing, and installing yet another new product. This opportunity, like the desk shields, provided us with another business venture and more innovation opportunities. A sign is one of the most important and least expensive tools available to market your business. Signs of Excellence is not just our name, it’s our commitment. Call (724) 325-7446 or visit our Murrysville office for assistance with your sign requirements. We promise you a personal, custom, and professional experience.