Celebrating our Past and Preparing for our Future - FASTSIGNS reflects on 30 Years

by Jayme Nelson
FASTSIGNS celebrates their 30th anniversary

It was 1985. Coca Cola unleashed “New Coke” onto the world, the Cosby Show was still on-air and a U.S. postage stamp set you back about 22 cents. It was also that year that young entrepreneurs Bob Schanbaum and Gary Salomon made a decision to start a business using a new technology and sign-making technique that they envisioned would change the sign industry forever: a computerized system for producing high-quality signs out of precision-cut vinyl. They opened the doors to their first FASTSIGNS center in Dallas, Texas in 1985 and by 1986, the first franchise was sold. The system grew to more than 150 locations within the first five years. Unfortunately in that same timeframe, Bob passed away from terminal cancer. Fulfilling a promise to Bob, Gary drove the business forward.

What started as a small business venture in Dallas, Texas turned into an international success story. Today, FASTSIGNS is the leader in the sign, graphics and visual communications industry with more than 570 locations in nine countries and counting.

In the beginning, FASTSIGNS centers offered quick turnaround vinyl lettering and signs. Over the last 30 years, the brand has evolved as technology within the industry advanced. The FASTSIGNS tagline reflects this evolution: “The One Day Sign and Lettering Shop,” “Quality Signs. Done Right. On Time.,” “For a Quality Sign That’s Right on Time,” and “Sign & Graphic Solutions Made Simple®.”

Today, FASTSIGNS provides comprehensive visual communications solutions to help solve business challenges for organizations and events of all sizes, across all industries. From building, walls and windows to ceilings, floors and vehicles, we have come a long way from our days of only providing banners and vinyl letters. Now, centers offer everything from architectural site signs, ADA and safety signage, to vehicle wraps, digital signs and interior décor applications.

When Gary retired in 2009, Catherine Monson took the reins here at FASTSIGNS International as our CEO and President. Coming into a company right as the “Great Recession” hit was a challenge that Catherine proved to be built perfectly for. Her relentless drive to continue building the FASTSIGNS brand, despite the economic climate, launched us into our “More than fast. More than Signs.®” era and has poised FASTSIGNS to continue to excel at even greater heights. We are so proud of our rich history and the hard work of the many people who have made our 30th celebration possible. As we look into the future, we are beyond excited and more than ready to take on the next 30 years.  

Enjoy some brief video clips from Catherine and Gary taken at our annual Convention going on right now.