Note:  This history is intended to be a work in progress during our anniversary year 2016.  If anyone has something they remember or think is interesting, please e-mail me the story or photo or whatever it is and I will post it in the appropriate place in our history.  carl@acebanner.com

Thanks in advance for any assistance you may provide.

Carl Calo

Ace Banner & Flag Company is in its 100th year in business in New York City.

We are proud to have reached this milestone and would like to take this opportunity to prepare a history of our company.  Some of it I can support with documentation and much of it will be from memory.  I have tried to be as accurate as possible.  But, we all know the vulnerability of memory.  I will do my best.

Our early history had been lost but has been saved and made available by sheer happenstance.  I have a fraternity brother, Paul Brustowicz,  who retired to Charleston S.C.  His wife joined a book club and became friendly with one of the women there. The two couples meet for lunch one day and in the course of the conversation, Bob Lovinger mentions that his father owned a company called the Ace Banner and Flag Company.  Paul says “I have a fraternity brother who owns a company named Ace Banner.”  It turns out that it is the same company, and Bob, the son, happens to have written a short history of his dad’s company for a paper he had to write while attending City College of New York in 1952.  He still had a copy of the paper.  

Paul arranged a meeting while we were visiting and we all enjoyed a wonderful afternoon  reminiscing about the “old days” while we were growing up in New York.  Bob gave me a copy of the paper at that meeting and I was able to use it to outline the early history of Ace Banner.  

Here is a short chronological early life of Ace Banner.  It is followed by a more detailed narrative describing my actual experience and recollection.

Our story starts in 1898 when the original owner began his journey.  That was the year John Lovinger was born.

1916 - Only 18 years later, as a young man, on July 5th 1916 John started a sign business he called The Durable Sign Company.   It was located in a corner of a printing company located on Lexington Avenue and 86th Street.

1918 - the printing   company moved to 92nd Street and The Durable Sign Company went with them.  This may also have been on Lexington Avenue, but there is no documentation.

1919 - May Up until this point the business was basically an itinerant operation.  The company needed space to begin screen printing.  A pushcart was rented at the cost of .50 a day, and space was rented at 96th Street and 3rd Avenue for 10.00 a month.

 1923 -  more space was needed and the company moved to First Avenue.  (No cross street is mentioned.)  The company continued to grow.

1928 - The building on 1st Avenue was collapsing and was torn down.  The company moved near to its old location on 3rd Avenue.

1935 - More and more of the business was for signs and the company name was changed to The Union Sign Service.

1937 - The company moved again, this time, to 79 Fourth Avenue at East 10th Street and shared space with a vanity publishing house.

1939 -  The Union Sign Service took more space on 79 Fourth Avenue and occupied an entire floor.  The name was changed again to reflect the fact that more and more business was being done in banners.  The new name was The Union Sign, Poster and Banner Service.

1942 - Business was now mostly Banners and Flags since the Office of War Information (OWI) requested that the company make foreign flags.  The name was changed to Ace Banner & Flag Company and was moved to an even larger floor next door.   No address is mentioned.

1944  - Carl Calo Jr. was born

1952 - circa. The company moved to 680 Broadway at 3rd Street.  And occupied 3 full floors.

1972 - John Lovinger, now 74 years old, decided to sell the business.  It was purchased by 2 men (names unknown) who tried to make a go of it, but failed and the business was abandoned.   The original owner came back and held on until 1975.

 1975 - Carl Calo decided he could turn the business around and purchased the business.  There was only 1 employee left.  Lola Callahan.  She was a seamstress, had passed the post office exam and was waiting to be called.

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Exterior of Ace Banner.  680 Broadway 1975

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Sewing Department 1975

1980  - Ace Banner was evicted from 680 Broadway so that owners could sell the building.  

1980 -  Thanksgiving Weekend – The Company moves to its new home 107 West 27th Street.  It has been there ever since.

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             Exterior 107 West 27th Street.  circa 1981.

How I came to purchase Ace Banner is a question I have been asked many times over the years.  So, I guess an explanation is in order.

I had completed my military service in the U.S. Navy, completed my MBA and was working in the Pension Investment Department at Bankers Trust.  It was a very attractive  job.  Working on Park Avenue, Occasional lunches at the Waldorf, which was across the street, purchasing millions of dollars of stock for our portfolios. but, although I did very well, I did not like the job.

 I had been a management major as an undergraduate  student and believed in the universality of management.  That is the idea that a manager can produce a pencil or send a man into space using the same management principles. I decided, due to my youth and inexperience, that I would purchase run down businesses,  turn them around, and sell them at a profit.  I had done this once with a trucking company and was ready for a new venture. I combed the business want ads in the New York Times and came across an ad offering a manufacturing company for sale.  And, as they say “The rest is history.” (which you are reading now.)    This second venture was so challenging, so interesting, so colorful and so satisfying that I am still here today and still loving it.  There is something unexplainably satisfying about seeing your work displayed at an event or outside a business or in a movie or TV show.  Much more satisfying than buying and selling stock and making millions for people I never met.  

 

When I purchased  Ace Banner it was located at 680 Broadway.  It was September 1975.  As I mentioned, we only had 1 employee, Lola Callahan.  The place was a mess.  I don't think Mr. Lovinger had a trash collection service.  And I gleaned that he rarely threw anything out.  During the brief time we spent together, I picked up a small piece of fabric from the floor and put it in the trash.  He stopped me and said “No, this is fabric.”  The place had stuff everywhere.  My father in law, Harold Major, helped me tremendously by sorting and putting out to trash the acres of stuff that was all around the place.  Somehow, I found out that the space had been occupied by a music box manufacturer which I saw no evidence of, but, before that, by a bank.  That was evident because they left behind a solid brass door which led to a room where the clients of the bank could remove their deposits from under their britches, and could do so in privacy.  That was the story.  We still have the door.

Many fortuitous happenings occurred in the early years.  This somehow makes me believe in fate although I cannot explain why and remain a little skeptical. (Mr. Frank was their lawyer and handled the final transfer of the business with no charge to us.  I think he knew what a rough road we had ahead.  After all, 2 other men had tried to turn the business around and walked away.  He seemed very sympathetic to me and I have always remembered that.)  When I think of Mr. Frank it reminds me of a Norman rockwell painting “Marriage License”  which depicts a young couple signing for the license and an older man (the judge?) with a rueful look on his face.  He knows what may be ahead.  They have no idea.

The first employee I remember hiring after taking over Ace was Christine Fredrick.  I was on the phone when she came in. She was accompanying her girlfriend,  a client, Debbie Prymus,, who wanted to order a banner  While the two were waiting for me to get off the phone, another person came in.  They wanted to purchase a 3x5' French flag.  Christine and I had never met.  She found the flag catalog which was on the counter, found the flag which was on a nearby shelf.  Figured out the price and made the sale.  I was still on the phone.  I had an “Office help wanted” sign in the window.  I said “are you looking for a job?”  She said “Yes”.  I said “you're hired.”  She was a great office assistant and stayed with us about 5 years.  Beth and I went to her wedding in Pittsburgh.  I cannot say what happened, but, after we moved to 27th Street,  things seemed very strained between us and she left.  

We were struggling for business and I rarely said no to a customer.  Shortly after I took over, Avon needed 100 printed vinyl banners.  They were sponsoring Avon Women's Tennis and they called and asked if we could print 100 vinyl banners for them.  I said of course.  Then, I

wondered how I could manage that since I had never printed any banners and had only been down to the print department to look around.  I had never even heard of screen printing until I bought the company.

                   

Well, the very next day a gentleman comes in looking for a job.  His name was Bob Wareing.  I did not know this at the time but he had worked for Ace on and off in the past.  I asked him if he knew how to screen print banners and he said he did.  I hired him to start the next day.  He came to work and told me.  “I only know how to print on vinyl.”  Together, we got the job out.

A third serendipitous occurrence helped convince me that Ace Banner and I were fated to be together.

The first order I took after John Lovinger told me he would no longer be coming to work was for a 50' by 5' banner for Faneuil Hall in Boston.  To help celebrate America’s Bicentennial.   Debbie Prymus brought the layout and asked if we could do a 50' banner and what it would cost.  I said to myself, “If I am in the banner business I have to take orders for banners.”   I said we could do it.  When you do not know what you are doing, it takes a lot longer.  I had no idea what I was doing.  But I had to make a full size layout and was in the process of doing it mathematically.  Measuring angles and distances and scaling them up and drawing a full sized pattern.   A young woman came in to order a simple banner and notices what I am doing.  Her name is Holly Vose, she worked for the Decorative Or Artificial Plant company.  I am not sure.  She tells me.  “You will receive a package from UPS.  It will cost about 75.00.  Pay for it.”   In the next day or so, a package did come and I did pay for it.  It contained something I never knew existed.  It contained an opaque projector.  For me, it was a miracle device.  It saved me untold hours and made it possible to enlarge anything to any size.  An opaque projector is a device which can be placed on top of an image on a flat surface and it will project that image onto a wall where it can be traced.  Those of us old enough to remember have seen these in the classroom when the teacher would project images or text onto a screen to augment the instruction. I never considered this a way to reproduce images in any size.  The size is adjusted by moving the projector closer to or further from the wall.  The longer the distance the larger the image.   In those days graphic artists would create “mechanicals”  which were scaled down images of what needed to be reproduced.  We could now make patterns much more quickly and easily.

 Below is a photo of the first banner order we took after finding out Mr. Lovinger could no longer come to work.  It was the first “projected” layout we did. Five by Fifty feet.

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Bicentennial Banner.  Faneuil Hall, Boston. 1976 (5x50’)

1976  The first real innovation I can remember is when we purchased a fax machine.  It was an Exxon Quip and cost us 1800.00  This was a very large purchase for us at the time, but, I was convinced that it would pay for itself very quickly.  I was right.  When I took over, the usual turnaround time for a custom banner was about 3 weeks.  Those were the “good old days” when everything wasn’t so rushed.  We had time to chat and get to know each other.  Clients had the time to pass by and visit.  It was a nice pace.  But, that did not last long.  Shorter turnaround times were being demanded by clients.  With a fax machine we could get a 3 day jump on the post office.  the image the client wanted could be faxed to us and we could begin working on the banner in a much shorter time than was previously possible.  We no longer had to wait for the mail or UPS.  Within a few months we were able to make many banners in time to meet a client’s requirements. They would fax us the image and we could begin making the banners.  Our clients were happy we could meet their deadlines. We got many jobs we would not have gotten if we did not have a fax machine.  

1976  Was also America’s Bicentennial.  There was so much to learn and a lot going on, but, again we had the right help at the right time.  We were producing custom banners and flags.  Stock flags were more effectively purchased from large manufacturers like Detta Flag and Annin Flagmakers.  Dettra had customer reps who called on their distributors regularly.  Our rep was Roselyn Cohen.  She would come by every week or so and just sit and chat.  She would check our stock of U.S. flags and foreign flags and Bicentennial flags and tell me what she thought we needed.  At the time, we had very little business and no money.   So, buying 6 U.S. flags or a dozen required a decision.  I was always happy to see Roz.  She kept our stock at adequate levels, never pushed us beyond what she thought we needed.  And, she forced me to take a break and relax for a short while.  Annin called on us perhaps once. .  As I discovered later, most of the other banner companies in New York were sure we were not going to survive.  There were several at the time.  Art Flag, Abercrombe, Krause & Son, Arista Flag, AAA American Flag, National Flag and Display.  I think we surprised all of them by staying in business.

The first few years were busy, but not rushed. . I had time to work with and get to know our crew.  We were a small group.  It was me, Christine, my assistant, Beth, my wife who kept the books paid the bills  and kept  track of our funds, and 3 sewing machine operators.  Carl Culzac from St. Vincent, Baby Sookram  from Guyana, and Yvon Rochaste form Haiti.   We hired a screen printer as needed or when one asked for work. I learned screen printing as we needed it.  We had no one person yet.  Bob Waring worked for us on and off.  

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Left to Right  -  Elvie Millian,  Yuri Truskanov, ?,  Thakurdei Sookram,  ?,  Carl Culzac,  Carl Calo,  ?, Harold Major,  Singh Sookram, Christine Frederick

1977  It has always been my philosophy that the owner of a business has a financial obligation to all of the stake holders - employees, suppliers, clients.  Payroll and payroll taxes were paid first.  Next came utilities, (after paying ConEd on time and consistently for over 30 years, a bill got sent to a strange address and we received a FINAL DISCONNECT notice within 2 days).  Rent was next.  Then, suppliers and finally, if there was anything left, we paid ourselves. After 20 months of long, hard work, (sometimes I would put in 20 hours days) something happened that I will never forget.  Beth said to me “Well, everything is paid and we still have some money left.”  We went out that Friday to a shrimp bar where we sat side by side on stools like a luncheonette, and had fried shrimp and french fries to celebrate this major milestone. Everything was paid and we had money left. What a day!

We were fortunate early on to have nice people as clients.  Al Corchia comes to mind.  He was the owner of Al Corchia Design.  We did a lot of work for his firm for Rockefeller Center.  It was getting close to Christmas and I was in his office looking at a job he needed.  I was feeling very grateful.  He had helped keep us busy through the year and I asked him if I could buy him something to show my gratitude.  Perhaps a TV?  He stopped and got very serious.  He said “Carl, you do not want to go down that road.”  “You do a great job, your prices are reasonable and you give us great service.” “ Once you start paying people, it can get very tricky.  You do not want to go there.”  I thought about what he was saying and agreed.  I know we have lost business over the years because of that decision, but, I have never regretted it.  We learned to screen print, we learned to sew, and we learned whatever else was necessary, and Ace Banner was reincarnated.  

One memorable experience was with a large chemical company, BASF Wyanndotte . They sent a letter requesting a 7’ by 76’ banner and we had 2 weeks to make it.  They sent 2 gentlemen to pick it up, and when they saw it they laughed like crazy.  It was pretty huge.  But, what they really wanted was a sash.  That’s what they wear in parades around 1 shoulder.  It was supposed to be 7 inches by 76 inches.  I said to myself “Oh boy, they are never going to pay for this.”  But, I was wrong.  I showed them the Purchase order and it did say 7’x76’.   They paid for it and we made them the correct size in quick order.  

I do not know about today, but at one time the FBI must have been onto everything.  When we took over, the space was a mess of old jobs, banners, arm patches, pillow covers etc. My father in law would set out trash every time he worked with me.  One day a gentleman comes in and shows me a patch which I recognized as one of many that we threw out in the trash.  He was from the FBI and wanted to know if I could tell him who we made these patches for.  It was the insignia of an anti-American group.  I could not tell him.   I guessed they were made 20 or 30 years earlier.  But, it was hard for me to imagine that the FBI was so thorough that they discovered these old patches in our garbage and came in to investigate.   Our trash was set out every night in the back alley, Shinbone Alley.  How they ever knew what we were throwing out is beyond my understanding.

1980 -  The owners of 680 Broadway, our landlords, decided to sell the building and we were asked to leave.  This was a big deal for us.  We were just getting going and now had to move. Where would we go?  Would our old customers find us?  How much would it cost?  Could we keep our phone number?

How about disruption of our business?  There were a lot of questions to answer, but, we had no choice.

I searched for a space that would accommodate us.  We needed a long space.  Many of the banners we made were very large.  We did not want to move very far away from our clients.  We rejected many spaces for one reason or another.  Finally, we came across 107 West 27th Street.  It was for sale and suited our needs perfectly.  It was long and narrow and could work very well for us. We needed 2 floors to house our operation.  Only 1 floor was vacant.  The ground floor was occupied by Lucky Movers.  Our lawyer advised us not to purchase the building.  He said it would be very hard to force someone to move.   Lucky Movers was owned by a very large Black man.  His name wasn’t Bubba, but that would have been a suitable name.   He was a hulking figure.  I approached him on a personal basis.  “We have been evicted from our current location and needed to find a new location.”   We had a good rapport immediately.  He told me he thought the building was being bought by a company that wanted to build condos and that he would never move.  I told him it was for my small business Ace Banner and that we needed the space.  

Now , Lucky Movers space consisted of the ground floor and a sub basement that was filled, filled with furniture.  You don’t pay the bill, you don’t get your furniture.  Floor to ceiling, filled with furniture, equipment, huge truck tires.  Floor to ceiling.  

He heard my story and said he would move.  He also told me he would move everything out of the space.   My lawyer said if he doesn’t sign a contract, don’t buy the building.I thought the space was good for us so we purchased the building anyway.  

“Bubba” did everything he said he would do when he said he would do it.  We were very happy.  He was a fine gentleman and stood by his word.  Lucky Movers, we joked, “you’re lucky if you get your furniture back.” But, he removed every stick of furniture and more.  We now had a space we could work in.  

We made the move on Thanksgiving weekend 1980.  The move  started on Friday morning after Thanksgiving, and we worked through Saturday and Sunday.  On Monday, we were open for business.  We had a station wagon and a truck and did it ourselves.  Yuri Truskanov, from Russia,  was our printer at the time.   I  printed with him and taught him English.  As luck would have it, there was a volkswagen parked right in front of the entrance to our new home.   Yuri, literally, picked up the car and moved it out of our way.  He was a bear. Sewing machines, fabrics, silk screens,, big ones,squeegees, office equipment, inventory,desks, everything needed to run our business, was moved that weekend.  We loved to say “We moved the entire company without missing a stitch.”  Everyone helped.  Beth’s father Harold and brother Roger, Yvon and Carl,  Beth and I.  We were in our new home.

We occupied the first and second floors.  There were 2 floors above. Each had a tennant.  We never heard from them. The rent was so low they did not want us to know they were there.  

One tenant, Ralph, was an artist.  We knew that because he never arose before noon.  But, when he did, he was a sight to behold.  We never wanted to miss him.  Each day he would be wearing an outfit you would not want to miss.  Capes and Feathers, Headbands, sequined shoes.  We loved him.  He was a free spirit and was always in a good mood.  He usually stopped to chat with us before he started out for the day. One day I asked Ralph where he was going.  “To Staten Island to take a shower at a friends house.”  “Why do you need to go to Staten Island ?” “My shower doesn’t work”  He was afraid to complain because he did not want us to raise the rent. The next day we had the shower repaired and his rent stayed the same.

Soon after we moved Christine left and we hired a new office assistant.  Her name was Wanda Bozeman.  We hired her because she had experience in the flag and banner business.  Which was and still is, rare.  She had worked for Metro Flag in New Jersey and she had a bright pleasant personality.  She was a great help to me.  When we needed to hire people she said we needed people who were “self propelled”.   Sven travis was our printer at the time.  He was also a great employee and often allowed us to take jobs we thought we could not do in time.  I remember one time I told a client we could not do a job.  I thought it was too large to get done in the time we had.  Sven overheard me and said “Call him back.  We can to it!”  I did and we did and it was just great working with people like that.  Sven is a professor of design in New York somewhere.  I have great memories of those days.  I hope he does too.  

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Left to Right:  Sven Travis, Carl Culzac, Elve Millian, “Baby” Sookram, Yvon Rochaste, Julliette             LaGuardia (Little Flower’s Grand Daughter) , Beth Calo, Wanda Bozeman.

1981  Cartier asked us to produce a bow that they could hang in front of their building at Christmastime.  Ray Mastrobouni was the Display Director at Cartier and he was a pleasure to work with.  Once he gave you an assignment, he was confident you would come up with the proper solution, and we  always did.

He drew a sketch of what he wanted and asked if we could make one.  I said “sure”.  I was confident we could come up with a solution.  Well, the first “Cartier Bow” was made of plywood and fabric.  Wanda helped me make it.  After it was completed, I decided it would not do.  It was too heavy and lacked the flexibility that I thought it should have.  The second “Cartier Bow” , the one we actually used that first year, was perfect.  It was a combination of plastic, metal and fabric and was a big hit.  

The “Cartier Bow” became a New York Christmas icon.  We produced the bow for over 25 years, remaking it every few years so it was always new.  One year Paris (Cartier is a French owned company) decided there was no budget for the bow.  Ray called me and said “Carl, Paris said there was no budget for the bow this year and so,  we are not doing it.  This is a true story.  The very next day, the daily news published an article accompanied by a picture and it said,  “It’s not Christmas in New York until Cartier puts up the Bow.”   Ray sent the story and picture to Paris.   The next day, we had the budget.

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                                              Cartier Bow and Christmas Banners

1983- Another memorable milestone for Ace was when we created our first digitally produced layout.  I will never forget it.  We had to do a banner for Tada, a children’s theater group which was just starting up.  Until that point, we were still using an opaque projector to size up the mechanicals to the final size and trace patterns for the sewing department.  As soon as I saw this digital cutter/printer, I knew we had to have one.  It was a Gerber 4B printer/ cutter.  It could only trace patterns 12” wide by any length, , and cost to the best I can remember, about 20,000.00, but, we could tape these strips together and have a full size pattern in a very short time compared to our old method.  What a boon for us.  We could produce layouts very quickly and now the bottleneck was not the art department, but the sewing department.

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1985  A 27th Street phenomenon was a little eatery called “A Deli Named Desire” comes into our story only because the fellow who befriended me, who owned Neil Sedaka’s white Lincoln Limo and the messenger service next door got us involved with a program for inmate release.  We would go to the deli, it was only down the block and he, Joey, told me about an inmate pre-release program. The program would find jobs for women inmates nearing their release so that they could get back into the job market.  We decided to hire Lydia as my assistant.  She had served 3 years for murdering her husband and was about to be released.  The reason she had received such a light sentence was because her husband was abusive and the police had been to their home in upstate New York many, many times for domestic violence.  Finally, she shot him dead.  She was a sweet little bird and we hired her as the office manager.  When Lydia’s time for release came up she asked me what I thought she should do.  I thought the City was too tough for her, and although she was a great manager/assistant, I thought she would be better off upstate, and she left us.  Her replacement, Caroline,  had murdered her previous boss.  I gave her a chance, but, she made me too nervous and did not last.  

That brings us to Leah Marie Segarra.

In those days, we would place an ad in the New York Times and wait for resumes.  Well, I placed an ad and it garnered  about 300 responses which was overwhelming for us.  I gave these to a friend who had experience in job placement.  Karen returned 3 resumes to me as the best candidates.  Leah was one of the 3.  She had a great telephone voice and I liked her in the interview.  The rest, as they say, is history.  

Leah is still with us and still does a great job.  

(Leah has declined to approve a photograph of her.)

1988  A client we did work for, occasionally, decided they wanted to close their business and asked us if we would service their clients.  The company was Gayle Graphics.  They were a T-Shirt printing company. and Gail Yonofsky was the owner.  We did T-Shirts for a while, but I never liked the business and we stopped printing T-Shirts a few years later.  Nicholas Acclosou (Rosie Seay) was one of our printers and wanted to go into business for himself.  We gave him all the equipment he needed, ink, squeegees, screens, silk, camera equipment, t-shirt printer, curing oven  and anything else he needed and wished him good luck.  He started Solid Rock printing and still operates in the Bronx. He calls me his “White Pappa”. It is very funny, when I call him occasionally, they answer the phone and say to him “It is your boss.”

1990     As we grew, we required more and more space in the building and by 1990

we occupied the entire space.  Sewing was moved up to the 4th floor,  The third floor was for graphics and computers.  The second floor was split between retail and screen printing and the ground floor was dedicated to screen printing entirely.  We gradually moved from outsourcing some of our screen making to bringing it all in house.  And, we made very large screens.  A five foot by twenty foot screen is the largest we made and probably larger than many people have ever seen.

 We needed more space.  Our building was not built full, meaning we could add some space and that is what we decided to do.  We could not afford to have most of our space closed down due to construction, so we decided to move the screen printing to Yonkers which was close to where I lived.  We got space at 13 Morgan Street and now Ace Banner had 2 locations.  New York City and Yonkers, NY.  

The construction at 27th street nearly doubled our space. We used the Yonkers location for about 3 years.  When construction was completed, We moved printing back down to the city and Ace Banner was under 1 roof again.  

I observed that digital printing on paper was growing very quickly, but  was waiting for the technology to include fabric.  Xerox came out with a digital fabric printer based on electrostatic charge.

We purchased this as soon as it came to our attention.  On July 5th, 1996, exactly 80 years to the day after the Durable Sign Company was started, we accepted delivery of the Xerox 8954 III 4 color electrostatic printer.   To my knowledge,we were the first in the Northeast to offer digital printing on fabric which was washable and permanent. It was a major purchase for us , but I was sure that this was the future and it turned out to be a boon for us and a major change for the company.  This shifted the way we did business and, for the first time, we needed to hire people who knew more than I did.  It was a difficult step but we made it.

Usually, with a new process you start with small jobs until you get the hang of how to do everything, then move on to larger projects.

As luck would have it,  as soon as we got the new system going we had a request for a 50 foot banner with the image of a Tank Watch on it.  As usual, I said “of course we can do that.”  But, I wasn’t really sure.  Time for confession.  We ordered the print from a company in the midwest just in case we could not get a 50 foot run to print perfectly.  Luckily, we did not have to use their print.  But, we had it as a backup, just in case.

                                  Cartier-Tank.jpg

Display Celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the Tank watch.

1997  Decorated the John f. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the holidays.  - Wrapped the Building in a ribbon and 2 bows.  Using over a mile of fabric.

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To get an idea of the scale, note the bus and trailer below the ribbon.

It was An amazing day for me was when we had to go to Washington D.C. to measure the Kennedy Center. I came to work that day as usual and worked half a day.  I hated to miss any time at work.  

At noon I headed off to Kennedy Airport where I caught the Shuttle to Washington.  Our Rigger and I arrived at the Center and began taking the required measurements.  We hopped on the plane when we were done, and, I was home for dinner by six.  That totally blew me away.  Work half a day.  Take a plane to D.C.  Measure.  Get back on the plane.  Home for dinner.  I guess I am still amazed. That was before 9/11 and the TSA.

1998  We installed our first computer network.    It seems very ordinary today, but, it was a big step to integrate communications between graphics, sales and shipping.  Files could be transferred more easily.  We did not have to travel from floor to floor to deliver files.  Challenges at the beginning involved transferring files from one format to another.  From PC’s to Apples.  There were floppy disks, Jaz Drives, Zip Drives, Cd’s, DVD, Tape Drives, Flash Drives and some others we may have missed. Fortunately, all that has been worked out and today we simply click on a file to attach it then send it.

1998  Renovated showroom.  Up until this point we looked like an old fashioned flag shop.  We had boxes of U.S. and foreign flags stored on shelves and a little counter to wrap a flag or package on.  One thing that we had and still have is a solid brass bank door.  We took this with us when we left Broadway. It weighed about 300 pounds and had its own foundation.

  Ron Fleeger was a client at the time and I thought we needed a facelift.  I asked Ron if he would help us with refreshening the retail area.  What was originally conceived of as a paint job turned into a Beautiful showroom.

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We featured U.S. and foreign flags.  But that was not our main business.  circa 1981.

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Our Current Showroom.  Renovated circa 1991.  More accurately reflects our capabilities.  

2001  USTA adds Time Line of Champions for US Open.  We add the new Champions every year.

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Xerox 8954 III

1996  On July 5th exactly 80 years after The Durable Sign Company came into existence, we accepted delivery of our Xerox 8954 III electrostatic printer.  It could print photo images 54” wide by 100 feet.  We could now produce 4 color process banners and flags without having to make silk screens.  What a giant step forward.

The electrostatic system we originally purchased become obsolete very quickly.  We began to work with printers that were much more like desktop printers only very much larger and faster.

2005  Installed our first 72” vinyl printer   Roland 740

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At this point, I will simply add stories as they are submitted.  I will title and date them according to content but they may not be chronological.