Spike Stories: How Oldest Colorado Sign Shop Remains Innovative With Spike

Gordon Sign
Joe Provost, pictured left, and Glenn Chambers, pictured right, show one of Gordon Sign’s current projects for a local client.

With its 111-year history, Denver-based Gordon Sign is the oldest sign company in Colorado, and this extensive background in the industry gives Gordon Sign the expertise it needs to take care of its customers’ many needs. Gordon Sign focuses on custom work and can handle nearly any signage request—from channel letters to free-standing signs and everything in between, says Glenn Chambers, account executive and designer for Gordon Sign. In both a sales and design role, Chambers works with clients through each phase of their signage projects, which allows him to work quickly and efficiently while providing a more personal experience.

Despite Gordon Sign’s proud history, it once struggled with what plagues many other sign companies: conducting accurate, efficient site surveys, Chambers says. Counting bricks or trying to use a tape measure in hard-to-reach areas is time consuming and typically doesn’t yield accurate results. If Gordon Sign has to bring a bucket truck on-site for measurements, the process becomes even lengthier and more costly. Without an accurate site survey, Chamber’s design parameters could be off, and the estimating team doesn’t have the necessary information to provide accurate estimates.

Gordon Sign
Gordon Sign created this sign for a popular Denver pizza and craft beer joint. Photo courtesy of Gordon Sign.

But Gordon Sign recently found an alternative to conducting traditional site surveys when the team traveled to Las Vegas in April 2015 for the ISA International Sign Expo. There, Gordon Sign discovered Spike, a smart laser measurement solution for signage site surveys and estimations. In just the few months Chambers has had Spike, it’s already completely changed how he measures a building’s dimensions and creates a design, he says.

When Chambers first starts a signage project, he meets the clients on-site to discuss design ideas. Every project is different and requires a unique design approach, Chambers says. Some clients have strict design criteria while some branding and logos only fit certain sign types. For instance, a superimposed logo doesn’t work with a pan channel letter. Instead, Gordon Sign has to route the logo with a back cabinet.

Once Chambers has a design concept in mind, he attaches Spike to his iPad case and takes a picture of the installation area on the building. From that Spike picture, Chambers captures a building’s or existing sign’s dimensions. Chambers can even show his clients how the sign will fit the building with Spike’s area tool, which allows him to measure the installation area in real time. With the measurements in hand, Chambers can share the photo with dimensions to other team members or upload the file to Spike’s cloud-based tools. Files can also be exported to a cloud based storage, which Chambers finds especially helpful.

“The file goes to my desktop, laptop, iPad and iPhone,” Chamber says. “If I didn’t measure an area of the building, I can always go back and pull the picture up of my survey from Spike.”

Following the on-site meeting, Chambers uses the building dimensions to create a concept for his client. Depending on Chamber’s workload, he tries to get clients a design within 24 hours, which gives him a distinct advantage.

“Having those quick measurements makes life easy,” Chambers says. “I always hear from clients that they’ve had to wait anywhere from a few days to two or three weeks to get a design from other sign shops, so turning around a design so quickly really helps in staying ahead of competition.”

After the client approves the final design, Chambers turns in the design and measurements to the estimating team, he says. Chambers can then use Spike to quickly move into the permitting process once the client approves the estimate. The Spike photos with measurements are just what Chambers needs to get a permit, simplifying an often complicated process.

“When I apply for a permit, I have to note the majority of dimensions on the drawings and frontage,” Chambers says. “Since I use Spike, those measurements are already included in the photo. Overall, Spike easily cuts the time I spend on a signage project in half.”

Since purchasing its first Spike, Gordon Sign has had such success with the device that it’s bought two additional units for other sales team members. Given how Spike has improved how Chambers manages a signage project, he expects that the device will also give his team an advantage in the marketplace, especially for the sales reps who frequently conduct initial site surveys. With faster turnaround times and more accurate measurements, Gordon Sign is well-positioned to stand above competition.

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