Though the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic persist along with concerns regarding public health and safety, hope, it seems, may be just around the corner. As doses of the vaccine continue to roll out across the country, neighbourhoods and communities in every province and territory can now realistically begin to think of reaching our collective societal goal of achieving herd immunity and returning to life as we all knew it. There will inevitably be alterations and modifications to the way we do some things going forward, but something close to normal will be restored, resulting in the return of public gatherings, community events and full-fledged retail service and offering. And when that day arrives, says Boris Kaminsky, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Gregory Signs, the Toronto-based provider of end-to-end signage services will be poised and ready to help the industry welcome back scores of customers to their stores.
“The store façade, that first impression that any business makes on prospective customers, is a really powerful thing,” he asserts. “If designed and executed properly, a store’s signage and exterior should go a long way toward complementing everything that it has to offer and providing an introduction to the experience that people can expect when they enter the establishment. It serves a crucial purpose, conveying the attitude and style of the store. And going forward, as we’re hopefully headed toward a post-pandemic world in which people are able and willing to venture out to shop with their favourite retailers again, the value of creative, well thought out store signage and exterior facades will be greater than ever and incredibly important for businesses in capturing the attention of customers and reintroducing them to their product, service and offering.”
Mutually beneficial partnerships
Currently celebrating 40 years of operation, Gregory Signs provides a full range of services to a number of different industries to help them meet their signage and exterior façade needs. Boasting decades of experience and know-how within the signage space, the company specializes in the development, fabrication and installation of exterior signage, interior, structural and custom signage, wayfinding and digital signage. In addition, it also helps its clients properly execute on their vision and needs through its expert consultation and project management offering. It all adds up to a relatively holistic suite of benefits available to any business seeking the services of Gregory Signs. But, as Kaminsky points out, they are benefits that go far deeper than the services that the company provides.
“We don’t just work with clients,” he says. “We develop strong relationships with every business that we engage with, forming partnerships that are mutually beneficial. Whether it’s a $1,200 order or a $1 million order, we approach each and every task as a company with the same dedication and commitment to helping businesses succeed and grow. With some of the businesses that we work with, we’re very involved in just about every aspect of the project, from design and consultation through to the installation and post maintenance of the signage structures. With others who may have hired a design firm to execute on their vision from a design perspective, we may be provided with a template to then fabricate and install. Our clients vary from small, independent mom-and-pop shops to national chains with head offices and major infrastructure projects like the Eglinton Crosstown development in the City of Toronto. Servicing this range of business, each with differing requirements and expertise across multiple industries, really helps us to constantly understand the needs of each of our clients and the ways we can help them achieve their desired signage results.”
Experience and expertise
Included in its scope of offering, and supported by the company’s vast amount of industry acumen, Gregory Signs also works to ensure permits for its clients if necessary. Ensuring that a business’s signage needs fits within local bylaws can be a complex headache, explains Kaminsky. For that reason, the company will do all of the work for its clients, determining whether or not a bylaw variance is required in order to install the desired signage as well as the cost and viability of the variance for the business. It’s this kind of expertise, among other things, that stands Gregory Signs apart from many of its competitors. And, according to Kaminsky, it’s expertise that the company proudly shares with the businesses it works with.
“Understanding all of the different nuances and specifications when it comes to store signage can be complicated,” he explains. “Many times, an organization’s vision from conception through to execution needs to change. When designing signage, it’s really important to follow a strict prototype process and consult with an experienced sign company. The depth of the sign may need to be bigger because of hot spots. Maybe engineering wasn’t properly conducted, requiring us to provide all of the technical information concerning foundational requirements and explanations and recommendations based on the size of the sign. It can end up causing a lot of issues for businesses that they could not have anticipated. To mitigate these issues, we work with our clients to understand their constraints and limitations with respect to their signage while helping them achieve the desired impact for their operation.”
Kaminsky is quick to credit the entire team at Gregory Signs and their extensive amount of experience working within the signage industry for the exemplary service that the company consistently provides for its clients. It serves as a distinct differentiator for the company, separating it from its competitors, placing it in good stead to be able to continue supporting the signage needs of retailers in a post-pandemic world. And, although he recognizes the adversity and challenge faced by much of the industry over the course of the past 14 months or so, Kaminsky’s approaching the near-term with a hopeful optimism and anticipation that we’ll all soon experience a return to normalcy, followed closely behind by a bit of a rejuvenation and revitalization of communities and industries everywhere.
“A lot of people have been going through some really difficult times during the pandemic. The impacts of COVID have been severe, resulting in a lot of store closures. And, unfortunately, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the negative effects on the industry. But what we’ve also seen is quite a bit of movement on the design end of things as businesses are starting to take a look at rebranding their signage and their stores. As the vaccine is administered to people across the country, communities and neighbourhoods will be able to start functioning the ways they did prior to the pandemic, and stores and businesses will once again open up to the public. And, although nobody can accurately predict right now what will happen over the course of the next 6 to 12 months, I really think that people are going to want to get out again, attend events and gatherings and shop at their favourite stores. As a result, the retailers that have survived will want to refresh their look. And I think we’re also going to see a number of new businesses opening. It’s going to help create a new kind of environment. And we’re looking forward to continuing to assist the industry in achieving its signage needs and making an incredible impression on customers.”
*Gregory signs partnered with Retail Insider for this article. To work with Retail Insider, contact Craig Patterson at: firstname.lastname@example.org