You don't know them, but you've seen their work
A sign of a local printing company's success is the name recognition of its top client: PODS.
By JODIE TILLMAN
Published June 11, 2007
ODESSA - Ever look at a sign and wonder about the sign maker? Suncoast Graphics Factory founders figure your answer is probably ... no.
"The folks in our business are very invisible," said Doug Benoit, one of the four principals at Suncoast. "It's not very glamorous."
The 5-year-old company's work made its nationwide television debut in March, when Suncoast's biggest client -- Clearwater-based moving and storage company PODS -- sponsored a PGA tournament in Palm Harbor. Guess who made the "PODS Championship" signs placed strategically near key holes?
Here's a little more about what went into those signs and other PODS projects, which make up about a quarter of Suncoast's business:
How they made PODS Championship signs
Suncoast ordered 10-foot-long monuments made of high-density foam and fiberglass. Painted them. Then they sandblasted a plaque out of high-density urethane panel and ordered "PODS" acrylic letters, which the company mounted with studs onto the plaque. Suncoast also had two employees on hand at the tournament. Their only job? To wipe the signs down if they got scuffed or dirty.
Other PODS projects
Suncoast uses a screenprinting process to print "PODS" onto thousands of pieces of corrugated plastic of varying sizes. These are signs that PODS later secures to their metal storage units.
Challenges of sign making
Everything from finding the best trucking companies to dealing with hurricanes and hurricane threats Suncoast opened another production facility in Phoenix to getting signs to stick in cold weather. Once, during a particularly cold winter in Illinois, the warranty signs that Suncoast makes for the interior of the PODS units failed to stick to the metal. Suncoast got on the phone with the adhesive manufacturer, and experimented with some custom-made adhesive combinations before finding one that worked.
What else do they make?
Barcode stickers, architectural rendering signs, vehicle wraps, "Do Not Feed the Alligators" signs for subdivisions.
Who the business founders are
Suncoast Graphics founders are two Trinity couples: Ron and Debbie Breton and Doug and Chris Benoit. Debbie and Doug are siblings.
Before they began Suncoast Graphics, Doug was a salesman in the printing industry. Chris was a hairdresser; Debbie worked in health insurance and Ron was an electronics salesman.
How they got started
During one of their regular Sunday dinners, the discussion turned to starting their own business. Doug already knew a lot about printing companies. Everybody else figured they could learn quickly -- whatever it was they needed to do.
"We all learned to drive forklifts," said Debbie Breton.
Jodie Tillman covers business in Pasco County. She can be reached at (727) 869-6247 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suncoast Graphics Factory's headquarters is at 2512 Success Drive in Odessa. The company has a second production plant in Phoenix.
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