Michigan Sign Maker Keeps Old Relics in Graveyard to Remember Former Local Businesses

signs by crannie

UPDATED 12/22/20

Many business owners know how important it is to have a great sign for your business. But, how do you get that sign? Signs require a lot of creativity and know-how. You can design your own outdoor sign or you can leave it to a design company to come up with the right design that will draw people to your business. If you have ever thought, “I want someone to design a sign for my business,” it’s never too late to get started. A business without a sign is unlikely to be noticed by anyone.

Sign companies are good at creating graphic banners and signs that will stand out to others. When you have exterior vinyl signs, it can be good for business as well as raising some word of mouth that your business is there. It’s also easier for people to find it when they’re looking for it. Signs say a lot to customers and a good sign says that you’re a legit company that may be of some value to them. If you have gone any time without signs, that was time wasted that could have been used by having signage to make your business far more visible in the area.

Having a distinct sign is the best way to keep your brand fresh in the minds of consumers, and Michigan residents can take a trip through the state’s history thanks to one local sign maker.

According to MLive, Dan Crannie, founder of Signs by Crannie, has created a “graveyard” for the hundreds of custom business signs he has created over the years for Michigan companies that are no longer in use.

Crannie started his company over 30 years ago and has made custom signs for some of the most prominent brands in the state. His sign graveyard, which is adjacent to Signs by Crannie’s former headquarters in Flint, is like a blast to the past.

The lot is filled with advertisements for former restaurants, gas stations, banks, medical facilities, and more. Crannie is most proud of his remnants from the Pontiac Silverdome, which include four flagpoles from the stadium.

“They used to fly the Lions flags,” Crannie said. “They’re not much to look at, but they’re a part of history.”

Companies that are looking for a quick and easy way to establish a brand identity often turn to custom business signs. According to market research, nearly 76% of consumers have entered a store or business they had never visited before based solely on its attractive signage.

Crannie estimates that his two-acre graveyard is home to 800 signs. He said that he has repurposed many of the signs over the years for companies who want to enhance their brand visibility without breaking the bank.

“Some of the signs, we can change the plastic, put new faces on them,” Crannie said. “We can sell them for someone on a budget.”

To demonstrate the power of these signs, Crannie points to Kan Rock Tire, a local automotive repair shop that wanted to change their public perception. After rebranding with a custom business sign, Kan Rock Tire was purchased by a larger company.

“They wanted to look like a national company, so we worked on their rebranding,” Crannie said. “Now, they’ve been sold off to a national company, so they achieved their goal.”

While the graveyard is currently allowing locals to reminisce over companies that have moved on or disappeared, Crannie does have an end goal for his lot of discarded signs.

In the near future, Crannie plans on selling most of signs online or in an auction. However, in many cases, he is prohibited from selling the signs due to contractual reasons.

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