For centuries, incremental development has been an important strategy for entrepreneurs. Historically, an entrepreneur may have started their establishment in a back room, basement, or upper floor of an existing business; or they might have started with a cart, such as this root beer vendor from the 1840s. Starting a business, especially one that is food/beverage centric from a cart is still a viable way to build a customer base and to take steps toward potentially having a storefront business in a downtown. This can be a successful strategy for dedicated, and teachable, entrepreneurs with limited capital. Learn more about food carts for downtown spaces by reading this great study from Portland, Oregon. For those taking the steps towards launching a food cart business, check out Storefont for affordable and unique signage, although we may not recommend being as direct with your messaging as the vendor depicted in this post that has the words “STOP HERE” painted on his cart!
During the Civil War, the fonts of sign painters had a new purpose: identifying the resting places of soldiers who fell in combat, or died of illness. Two months after the first battle of the war in 1861, it was determined that grave markers for Union soldiers would be issued through the Quartermaster Department. These grave markers were constructed of wood with a rounded top and featured painted lettering on either a painted or natural wood background. As a temporary marker, these were expected to last approximately five years before needing replacement or maintenance. The expense of upkeep, and the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, led to the use of more permanent marble gravestones for Civil War union veterans beginning in the 1870s. Marble markers would become the iconic Civil War veteran grave monuments that can still be seen in historic cemeteries across America on this Memorial Day. Here’s an image of wooden grave markers with painted lettering at the Alexandria National Cemetery in Virginia during the 1860s.
We are excited for the 2019 National Small Business Week! Since 1963, National Small Business Week has been proclaimed by the President of the United States as a way to honor and recognize small businesses; which are the backbone of our economy. During this special week, there will be a number of activities taking place in which small businesses, or those seeking to create small businesses, can learn about available resources. One of our favorites includes SCORE’s free online small business conference, check out this link for more details. At Storefont the purpose of our work is to provide support to small businesses with affordable downtown signage. To further expand what we do for businesses, we are offering 10% off of any of our sign kits ordered between Sunday, May 5 and Saturday, May 11. We want small businesses to succeed, and an engaging sign is a part of how a business can thrive!
Period paint manuals from the 19th century state there was a wide variety of processed and unprocessed earth pigments available for creating paint for signs and architectural applications. Natural pigments and ochers were found in shades of red, brown, green, and yellow. Oxides, as pictured in this blog post, could be man-made from natural elements to create colors such as ultramarine blue, viridian, lemon yellow, and titanium white. When mixed with a liquid like linseed oil and other ingredients, these pigments were transformed into paint for business signs that stood out to potential customers. The paints we encourage for our sign kits are based off of paint colors that were found in the 19th century that will complement the architecture of your historic building, and add to the destination draw of your unique downtown neighborhood. Connect with us today to discuss creating a vibrant sign in the range of period colors to help your locally owned business stand out.
Many times, new entrepreneurs invest the majority of their funds into important business needs like products, equipment, and furnishings; with little being left over for engaging storefront signage. This common occurrence takes place across America, in big cities, small rural communities, and even for start-ups that have led to millionaire success. An example is Chip and Joanna Gaines from the hit HGTV show “Fixer Upper.”
In 2003 as they launched their new start-up, a tiny retail store named Magnolia, they had limited funds for a sign. Joanna wrote in an Instagram post: “The sign on the original building was what [Chip] surprised me with when he found out we couldn’t afford a real sign.” That handmade sign is pictured in this blog post. Unfortunately, most businesses aren’t as fortunate to have a design background.
All too often homemade signage is crudely painted, lacks scale, or is a temporary vinyl banner that soon weathers and sags. This type of under-signage does little for contributing to drawing customers to a business, or a neighborhood. This is one of the reasons why Storefont was created, to assist entrepreneurs with making their dream of owning a successful business, a reality. Connect with us today about how we can help you develop an affordable and engaging storefront sign for your unique business with one of our kits.
As Joanna Gaines further wrote in her Instagram post: “I have zero regrets…about stepping out and just going for it—this show, this business, it has our hearts.”