Interview With: Shane Drew, Owner
How did you get into the sign business?
It’s a very long story, but I’ll give you the shortened version.
My background is in computer sales, and the late ‘80s I was getting restless. My sales specialty was graphic design software (anyone remember the Amiga 500/1000?) and I had won several sales awards but was getting bored. I worked in the family computer business and we were all pretty sick of the industry by the early ‘90s. Then, two of our largest clients both went broke owing us a small fortune, and we decided enough was enough. We sold out to a competitor.
One of our regular clients was a sign shop at the time and we were told they were going broke. Through no other reason than poor money management and very poor work ethic. They had some really good contracts.
As the sign business was fully computerised, and I had a good working knowledge of all the cutters and computers, my sister and father were familiar with their accounting systems, and we even knew some of the staff personally, we made an offer to take over the running of the business in a management role.
All went well for a few weeks until we found out the work ethic of some of the staff was so poor, they were actually stealing our stock to do work for themselves on the weekends. Even the previous owner was caught with his hand in the till.
So we sacked just about everyone and found ourselves in a very vulnerable position. A sign shop with some big contracts, and not a lot of experience.