By Olivia Cahoon
Retail benefits from digitally printed signage in a number of ways. In the fast-moving environment that it is, the economic advantages of short-run print are hard to ignore. Part of the retail segment includes food-based venues such as grocery stores and restaurants. Visually appealing food signage that attracts customers to the advertised product is changed out a frequent basis—which makes it an ideal fit for digital print.
Print Shop of the Day
Established in 1981, Higgins Signs serves clients from all over the U.S. in a 4,000 square foot print shop located in Clackamas, OR. The goal is to create diverse and original products that draw attention to customers’ businesses.
The company’s background originates in 1977, when John Higgins, president, Higgins Signs, started working for his father—then owner of the print shop. After two years, he moved on and found himself employed at various printers across the country. Returning to OR a few years later, he bought his father’s business and started offering silk screening and hand painting with just one other employee out of a 44×20-foot space.
Today, the print service provider (PSP) employs four and offers vehicle signage, exterior signage, design, and manufacturing for sports locker rooms, local business, and different restaurants. The print shop also provides personal photography shoots.
Higgins Signs works with many food-related businesses. Notable food service customers include restaurants, food cart vendors, and establishments inside professional sports concourses like Outlaw BBQ, Phatz Philly Cheese Stakes, Thai Mango, and Wasabi Sushi. Signage includes menus and floor graphics. The PSP also designs logos, provides consultation services, handles graphic elements, and offers photography food shoots.
Behind the Counter
To achieve high-quality graphics, the company uses a Roland DGA Corporation SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640 eco-solvent printer/cutter. It produces banners, vehicle wraps, labels, decals, and point of purchase displays. “We have used Roland printers for years, they are dependable and easily control color with Roland VersaWorks RIP software,” says Joni Higgins, VP, Higgins Signs.
The print shop also uses a Gerber Technology Edge digital die cutter and a Gerber enVision sprocket plotter. “The Gerber Edge has a unique ability to produce small decals. It runs effortlessly with a variety of substrates and ribbons,” she shares.
The PSP also incorporates a Summa, Inc. S140 plotter into its finishing processes. The S140 is a vinyl and contour cutter with a touch-sensitive LCD control panel featuring up to 600 grams of cutting force. “Our Summa plotter is very dependable, it’s our workhorse,” admits Higgins.
Bringing Food to Life
Approximately 10 to 15 percent of Higgins Signs’ work is restaurant signage. Higgins shares that not only is restaurant signage a steady demand, but it is also a form of self advertisement for the print shop. “We pride ourselves in using word of mouth as our advertisements. We have a good reputation and anything that we do, we put our name on it. People see our signs in restaurants and complement our work,” she says.
In the last year, interest in digitally printed wallcoverings has spiked in relation to food signage. The PSP regularly uses wall media from PhotoTex Group, Inc. for this application. “Restaurants love it. The media sticks anywhere, from walls to windows. It’s so easy to go on, off, and to wash it,” shares Higgins.
The print shop recently worked with Wasabi Sushi of Happy Valley, OR. The eatery’s goal was to standardize graphics on several food carts.
The Roland SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640 was selected for the great color it produces. Higgins Signs created signs, banners, menus using Dibond, and PhotoTex sushi roll decals for the windows. “The client really enjoyed the lifelike sushi rolls,” shares Higgins.
The Wasabi Sushi project took three weeks to complete. Higgins says that the printing was simple because the equipment was solid. Photographing the food was the real challenge. John Higgins—Joni’s husband—is a professional photographer that captures the food images. “You have to make the food look good, which can be difficult during the editing process. The customers want to make money and they want people to want their food,” she adds.
Wasabi Sushi has since become a repeat customer and continues to request signage. “They love the work that we’ve done. Our work with Wasabi Sushi is a huge reason why we have picked up so many food carts in the location,” concludes Higgins.
Hot and Ready
Retail outlets look to print shops for help with advertising and signage. PSPs, like Higgins Signs, can help businesses bring their visions to life from start to finish. The process beings as early as capturing images of the food to printing and cutting on easily installable—and removable—material. Print providers rely on digital to create engaging and appetizing images for grocery stores and restaurants.
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Oct2016, Digital Output DOASFS1610