Business feature: Signman Signs selected for award

Freedom New Mexico: Alisa Boswell Signman Signs employees Aubrey Sparks, left, and Dustin Vigil construct a sign Monday morning in the business’ work room. The business was chosen as the 2012 Success Client by the Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College.

Kevin Wilson

The Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College considered more than a dozen of its numerous clients for the 2012 Success Client award. The one selected had all the signs it was looking for, and then some.

Portales-based Signman Signs, which has spent 35 years in the city as either Signman Signs or Bobo Signs, will be introduced Wednesday to the New Mexico State Senate and House of Representatives, and honored later that night at Hotel St. Francis. The event will honor 23 businesses selected by Small Business Development Centers across the state.

The Portales business takes on small tasks — campaign yard signs, for example — and larger projects, such as replacing the “old grouches” billboard sign in Portales that was damaged in a trucking accident.

The company changed its name and location in 2009, when Seth and Abigail Pritchett bought the business.

The husband-and-wife team went to the SBDC and built a plan for acquiring the business and expanding it. The business currently has six employees, including the Pritchetts.

The center has 705 clients over the past three years, all of which have at least gone through an initial two-hour counseling session to develop business plans and proposals.

Of those clients, about 12 to 15 matched nomination criteria for the annual award, said Dianna Thompson, marketing specialist for the SBDC.

“There are several criteria that come down from our (statewide) center,” Thompson said. “They like for the client to be in business for at least three years (and) show a profit. We like to see they have gotten bigger, whether in employee count or in terms of gross revenue.”

The changes to the business haven’t caused too many problems, Seth Pritchett said, because Signman Signs includes staff from Bobo Signs and the new location at 123 N. Ave. C is a block from the old location.

“We definitely try to produce only good work,” he said. “We try to help the customer see there’s an effective way to advertise and an ineffective way.”