By Cassandra Balentine
For business owners, branding is everything. Wraps enable companies to turn vehicles and buildings into a billboard of product messaging and information. Print service providers (PSPs) utilize their equipment and skills to help businesses stand out on the street with storefront wraps that incorporate signage elements including window graphics to offer a cohesive look that draws attention.
Founded in 2006, Action Graphics & Signs, Inc. (AG Wraps) is based in Chesapeake, VA. With two locations and 16 employees it primarily serves all of Hampton Roads, VA, Northern NC, and the Eastern Shore of MD, but is not limited by geography.
The company has produced and installed vehicle wraps for 15 years and installed both short- and long-term vinyl on most types of vehicles. With extensive experience it fine tuned its approach and works with customers to determine what they should and should not expect out of their wraps.
“We found sticking vinyl to be our best offering,” says John M. Hall, president, AG Wraps. “Our quality, from customer service to design and install is one of our main focuses and selling points,” he shares.
Approximately 90 percent of the company’s business is classified as a wrap. While it focuses on vehicle wraps, it doesn’t stop there—producing window graphics and storefront wraps. “Storefront wraps offer an opportunity to give an identity to a business that customers can see right off the job,” explains Hall. These graphics build upon traditional window graphics that are simply a logo, address, and hours. “Storefront wraps can bring a bit more personality to the business.”
The strongest selling points of storefront wraps include exposure and visibility, and “giving the business a personality they can display proudly,” says Hall.
Production Tools, Installation Considerations
To produce its graphics, AG Wraps utilizes an HP Inc. Latex 370 and HP Latex 570. “They are workhorses with minimal maintenance and consistent quality,” comments Hall.
“We chose the latex route because of the instant dry time. We don’t have to worry about tacky prints or letting prints outgas for 24 hours,” he explains. Latex inks are also scratch resistant.
Media selection depends on customer needs. Some want to blackout windows completely while others require viewing outside while limiting sun from coming in.
The shop tends to favor 3M Commercial Solutions 3M Controltac Graphic Film with Comply Adhesive IJ180CV3 for vehicles and storefront wraps if the customer wants to black out the windows completely. “We like to keep things as consistent for our installers as possible so using a film they are comfortable with increases quality and speed,” he explains. In addition to installer comfort, it is familiar with how well the film holds up so there aren’t any surprises.
Another option it uses often is perforated window film. “We tend to go with 50/50 hole to vinyl ratio but sometimes customers want to do more of a 60 percent vinyl to 40 percent holes. We use a house brand of one of our vendors and have had a lot of success with it. We also use it for vehicles. A third option but less commonly used is frosted vinyl, which offers a nice corporate clean look.”
While both perforated and unperforated media options are stocked, Hall admits it tends to install more perforated on storefront graphics because of the visibility offered.
Perforated media is attractive for window graphics because they do not prohibit the actual function of the window. However, if a customer is leaning towards less coverage and doesn’t want to cover the full window the company may suggest a print/cut decal on solid film. These offer longevity and ease of install.
When it comes to installation, surface cleanliness is extremely important and greatly impacts the end result of the install. “We try and inset our window wraps an eighth of an inch to avoid seals and mullions that tend to collect a lot of dirty and grime. This insures no lingering, hard-to-remove dirt ends up behind the vinyl effecting the install,” offers Hall.
AG Wraps recently produced a storefront wrap for local, longtime client, Chicho’s Pizza.
The company wanted to enhance its storefront appearance and worked with the shop’s designers to create a look that would attract new customers, highlight a pizza wings graphic, and carry its branding.
The customer supplied two logos and basic text, everything else was designed from scratch by the AG Wraps team.
A few elements that the client wanted was to feature pizza wings in a way that would encourage customers to take photos in front of it. The image of the shop is a “beachy surfer vibe,” and so it wanted the look reflected in the new storefront.
In addition to the storefront wrap, the team created and produced a truck wrap for the pizzeria that mimicked a station wagon with the traditional wooden look.
Everything was printed on 50/50 perforated window media.
While the film is rated for one to two years, the expectation is for the graphic to stay in place for four to five years of life since the building features a decent sized overhang to shield the windows from the elements.
Hall notes that the customer made various changes before the final design was nailed down. In total the process took about a month going back and forth. Once the design was settled, the install was scheduled the following week and completed in a day.
The wrap was a success. “Customers are constantly taking pictures with the pizza wings, tagging Chicho’s Pizza on social media,” shares Hall. He says the customer also noticed an influx of customers that now know they are a pizza shop. Before the storefront wrap, the business’ sign above the door wasn’t cutting it. Now the brand has an image.
As an added bonus, the client notes that it is much easier to maintain a comfortable temperature in the building since the sun shines on the storefront for a majority of the day. All in all, Chicho’s Pizza commented that the decision to add a storefront wrap was a home run. “He has customers walk in the door that were previously in line at the local McDonald’s and decided pizza was a better option,” admits Hall.
AG Wraps focuses on wraps, installing its work on everything from everyday objects to fleets of vehicles, and storefronts. The company feels it sets itself apart from the competition by abiding by its set of core values.
“Our utmost important factor is customer experience. We pride ourselves on customer service, quality, and turnaround time. Our sales department is focused on providing solutions to customer problems as well as ensuring their experience throughout the process is pleasant and helpful,” notes Hall.
Further, its design expertise is a draw. The shop staffs two in-house artists as well as a remote artist out in CA. “They do a great job at understanding what our customers needs are and providing artwork that they can feel is their own.”
Handling a large volume of wrap work polished the skills of its production crew. “They are professionals because they have seen a lot of the same type of work come through, sharpening their skills with every job they complete. Our crew here is a big, extended family. We have each other’s backs and hold each other accountable when necessary.”
These factors help AG Wraps excel in vehicle and fleet wrap production as well expand into new markets like storefront wraps. With these tools, AG Wraps acts as a branding partner for its customer base.
Apr2021, Digital Output