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Sign industry “spins” upside down: Local shop adapts to new needs during pandemic

A Huntsville sign printing company says business has changed in ways they never expected. Hear how they're helping businesses meet the new needs of our community.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —

With all the changes brought by the pandemic, businesses have had to adapt. Some, in ways they never expected. A local sign printing company says they’re having to change to meet the new needs of our community. 

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The sign business has “spun” upside down. At FASTSIGNS in Huntsville, they say they’ve gone from mostly printing promotional signs for local businesses, to making signs with a very different message; one’s that remind you to stay safe during the pandemic. 

Sadiya Ahmed a Sales Manager at FASTSIGNS Huntsville says, “We believe all businesses are essential.That’s why we make signs for every business.” 

Making signs to keep workers of all businesses safe has become this sign company’s main mission during the pandemic. Sadiya Ahmed and Tanveer Zia of FASTSIGNS Huntsville say at first, the pandemic slowed business down to levels they never expected. 

Tanveer Zia, the General Manager, tells our reporter, “All local non-essential businesses had been shut down. And they comprise about 60 to 70 percent of our customer base. So, since they were shut down, our business took a hit.” 

But then, a silver lining. Zia says, “Right now, we see a big trend in COVID-related signage, safety signs, things of that nature.” 

Now, FASTSIGNS in Huntsville prints signs for businesses to remind workers and customers about social distancing and safe practices. 

Sadiyah Ahmed says, “I’ve seen a big spike in temporary signage. This situation is so fluid. People don’t want to be committed to a permanent sign, because the rules and regulations can change from one week to the next, from one day to the next.” 

They say the pandemic has also brought in an unexpected need for new sign designs. As some businesses use this time to do reconstruction or redesign their space. Tanveer Zia  adds, “We have been getting some interest in getting some new signage-- some new interior decor for these businesses.” 

But, posting signs that refer to COVID-19 can be tricky. Workers say they don’t want to contribute to the fear that’s out there. Ahmed adds, “Colors like bright red or big X’s-- that’s unnecessarily feeding into ‘panic culture’ and we as sign providers don’t want to feed into that. We’d rather help businesses keep a calm environment. This is a new normal for a lot of people.” 

Workers are turning over orders as fast as possible to get safety signs, curbside service signs and more out to the businesses that need them and keep everyone safe. They say one of their most popular products now are floor graphics to remind people to stay six feet apart.

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