Long before the days of GPS and navigation apps, drivers relied on signs to direct them to areas of interest.
But signage is just as important as ever, as demonstrated by Sign Central, which has thrived by catering to a variety of needs, from event banners to real estate signs.
“I like interacting with people,” said Steve Strauss, a Pasadena native who started Sign Central in 2007. “Whether they need birthday banners or they represent a national builder selling residential homes, I get to see what happens before it happens.”
Although he often gets the chance to learn of new developments before buildings are constructed and new tenants are moved into their new homes, Strauss didn’t have a crystal ball when it originally came to his occupation.
After earning a finance degree, he was working as a settlement officer for a company in Towson, looking for ways to make extra money, when he was offered a directional sign route to lead potential buyers to new home construction sites. About a year later, he was installing and removing thousands of roadside signs each weekend and had a chance to buy into the company.
“I was putting up signs, digging holes, whatever hours I needed to do to get it done,” he said.
After mistakenly seeing a materials cost list, he decided that he could go into business on his own. “Overnight, I bought some equipment, got some friends and got to work,” he said.
Nearly 13 years later, Sign Central has four designers and a staff of 16, which includes Strauss’ brother and avid supporter, Fred.
“The main focus is being customer-oriented,” Strauss said. “We’re not a chain, so we have the flexibility to work within budgets. We don’t need to hit a home run on every job as long as it’s a good product at a solid price.”
Those jobs consist of interior and exterior graphics, banners and flags, oftentimes for property management companies, apartment complexes and new home construction, Strauss said. But the company also enjoys the challenges associated with monuments, vehicle graphics and wraps, dimensional logos, cards and flyers.
Sign Central also supports the Pasadena Business Association, Pasadena United Methodist Church, and local sports clubs, including Pasadena Soccer Club and Lake Shore Baseball. Steve and his wife, Kristina, recently sponsored a midshipman from the Naval Academy, and applied to sponsor another one this year, to be an example for their young sons.
“Krissy grew up in a small town and I grew up in Pasadena, so it’s important for us to show them how to support others, especially those serving our community and our country,” Strauss said.
Sign Central is located at 7500 Energy Court, Suite 7, in Curtis Bay. To learn more about Sign Central’s services or its role in the community, call 410-360-3777 or visit www.signcent.com.