Kootenay Sign Source finds a new home in Fernie

Kootenay Sign Source moved to Fernie from Sparwood after being purchased by Jim and Loretta Johnson.

Loretta Johnson of Kootenay Sign Source prepared a batch of stickers for a client last week. Loretta and her husband Jim recently purchased the business and moved it to Fernie.

Kootenay Sign Source is not as new as their Fernie home. The company moved to Fernie from Sparwood after being purchased by Jim and Loretta Johnson. At this time, it is just the duo working at 1542a, 10th Ave, but they will be looking to potentially double in workforce size.

“Currently myself and Jim work here. We are expanding our business and plan on eventually needing to hire at least one or two more people,” said Loretta.

The Johnson’s transitioned into the business after leaving the automotive industry. The couple were looking for a change and found Kootenay Signs was for sale as the previous owners were retiring.

“The timing was right and we decided to take a leap and change the course of our careers,” she said.

Kootenay Signs can create eight types of signage for business or personal use for many applications out of a variety of materials.

“[We can make] banners, stickers, decals, custom whiteboards, decorative wall art and sayings, traffic signs, fridge and vehicle magnets, posters,” she said. “There are many types of substrates that we have available for sign making from aluminum and coroplast to compressed foam and aluminum composites.”

They have recently purchased a new machine, which will enable Kootenay Signs to make wooden signs as well.

According to Loretta, the most fun signs are when she gets some creative freedom and can make her imagination a reality.

“We enjoy the signs where we get to use our creativity. While we are not graphic designers, there are a lot of graphics, artwork, etc. available on the internet to put together to create an affective and creative sign,” she said.

The process for each sign varies. It really depends on what the client is looking for, according to Loretta.

“We meet with the customer to discuss what they are looking for. If they have no idea what they are wanting, we look at their budget and what purpose the sign or decal will be used for – will it be used short or long term, indoors or outdoors?”

When they have finalized an idea on what the sign will be used for, Kootenay Signs can then start to look at the design elements that the client is looking for.

“If they have elements that they want to make sure are part of the sign, then we combine their ideas and ours. Some customers are very specific of what they want, others leave it up to us,” she said. “When that happens, I will put together a few options and let the customer review to make sure we are on the right track. Once this is decided we provide a final proof for the customer to review and then complete the job for them.”

While every sign is different, the most common material they work with is aluminum for a specific client.

“The type of signs we currently make the most of is aluminum traffic type signs for Teck Coal. We have purchased a large printer, so we find that we are printing a lot of stickers and banners now as well for other customers.”

Thanks to the new equipment that the company has acquired, creating signs will have the same quick turn around time while offering more variety.

“We pride ourselves on customer service, satisfaction and quick turn around times. Because of the equipment we have purchased and added to the business, we are able to do a lot wider variety of signage then was previously available,” she said.  “We will be expanding the types of things we make with the wood router machine to include specialty items, such as: decorative boxes, address signs, wood signs with custom sayings.”