Wales - Signwise stays busy despite tough economic times

Plaque created by SignWise for SolicitorsSign protruding from the side of a buildingSign by Signwise with Neon
Stephen Cleaves' infatuation with signs began at the age of 10 when he saw a photograph of London's Piccadilly Circus in his grandmother's newspaper.

After several years spent working in the drawing office of a large national sign manufacturer, Stephen established Signwise in March 1984. Initially operating from a room above a shop in the city centre, the business quickly moved to its current location, a 1000 sq.ft. industrial unit on a Newport industrial park.

Trade grew rapidly, then in January 1989 a fire started by local children resulted in the loss of everything and the company virtually had to start again from scratch.

Apart from an advertisement in Yellow Pages, most of Signwise's work is generated by recommendations and returning customers, some who have remained loyal since day one. These include many small businesses, a nationwide retailer, councils, construction companies, the principality's army reserve forces and cadets association, various medical centres and a national commercial property management company.

At present, cut out and built up satin or polished stainless steel lettering are the best sellers for Signwise, although vehicle magnetics and panels in sheet aluminium and aluminium composite also remain popular.

Signwise has recently completed work on a large doctors surgery on which numerous free standing modular signs and engraved aluminium nameplates were specified by the architect.

The company's most recent acquisition, all be it two years ago now, is a Keencut Excalibur cutter which is used to great effect and complements a wall mounted panel saw and traditional circular saw.

In addition to manufacturing, site surveys, erection and maintenance of signs for "out of town'' companies are also undertaken.

Signwise considers itself fortunate to have remained busy during the current recession, in spite of having to turn away work that required unrealistic delivery dates.

Staff at Signwise pride themselves on the care and the attention to detail paid to even the smallest of jobs and are grateful for the dedicated support they receive from their suppliers and various sub contractors.

Although there are no plans to expand, Signwise's aspires to continue providing well designed, well made signs at competitive prices to all its customers.

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