Creation Signs walks the talk – that’s obvious to see.
The Invercargill-based company has grown from six to 17 staff in the past decade or so and is ever-evolving in the world of signage, through its state-of-art equipment, techniques, and staffing capability.
The growth has come on the back of the support of Southlanders, and general manager Riki Shuttleworth says he and his team don’t take that for granted.
Just last year Creation Signs poured close to $50,000 back into the community through sponsorship.
It included ongoing partnerships with Southland’s three major sports teams the Southern Steel, Southland Sharks, and Southland Stags.
For 27 years the company has supported the Tour of Southland, entering a team in New Zealand’s premier road cycling race each year.
Creation Signs has backed Cormac Buchanan, the talented teenage motorcyclist flying Southland’s flag proudly on the world stage at the moment.
Add in Academy Southland – a programme that helps develop promising athletes – to the list of the organisations Creation Signs backs, along with ILT Stadium Southland.
Oh, that’s right, there are three schools Creation Signs have also supported through its work.
“It’s just something we’ve always done. We were with the Sting since its inception and have been with the Sharks since their inception, like I said, we’ve also been with the Tour for 27 years, so it’s been a long-term investment from us. And the stadium since day one,” Shuttleworth says.
He says that commitment to give back to the community was as much about feeling good than any sort of commercial benefit.
“It’s a feel-good factor, rather than just giving out more money for this and that.”
Proudly displayed in Shuttleworth’s office is the framed yellow jersey of former Tour of Southland winner Aaron Gate who was part of the Creation Signs team.
“That’s a cool thing to be involved in. Josh [Burnett] winning it last year, that’s another one.”
Creations Signs moved to its current location at Bill Richardson Dr in Invercargill four years ago.
A big part of it was to cater for heavy vehicle fleets. It helps it carry out work with the likes of Fonterra.
“We used to have three guys out at Fonterra during the middle of winter doing the trucks, so we felt we needed the room.
“This is brilliant, it’s drive-through. Truck and trailers can come in, we’ll have milk tankers in here. It’s allowed us to grow,” Shuttleworth says.
“We will do everything from a small vinyl cut letter to project managing the likes of the SBS Bank rebrand right throughout New Zealand.
“Project work is something we do well because we’ve got the staff to do it.”
As part of the move to Bill Richardson Dr Creation Signs built a “wrap room” in the new premise.
It is a purpose-built vehicle wrap room which is temperature-controlled and dust free.
“If you try wrap a car in four degrees, it doesn’t work. It has got to be about 23 degrees when you apply it, so it’s just that sort of stuff.”
Creation Signs has also bought a computer numerical control (CNC) router which allows it to cut its own 3D letters.
“It cuts out timber, acrylic letters and logos. All the 3D stuff you will see on buildings it will cut that out. You can easily engrave into your timber as well. It’s pretty cool.”
Added to that the company has also started to introduce LED screens.
They have erected a 6m by 3m LED screen in the foyer of ILT Stadium Southland which highlights just what Creation Signs can do with LED screens.
“It’s a new direction, I suppose. It’s basically keeping up with the times. Digital is where it is going. It comes at a cost obviously, but it is just where stuff is moving.
“It’s just looking at the future and where we can go, rather than sitting there and stagnating. It’s about finding what fits in with what you are doing.”
Despite all that advancement in technology and capability, Shuttleworth and the company haven’t forgotten their sign-writing roots.
He and other staff still have the capability to produce hand-painted sign-writing work.
When the Bunnings opened in Invercargill it wanted its signage hand-painted and it was Shuttleworth and Creation Signs who took that on.
It has led Bunnings to now contract Creation Signs to carry out work in other parts of New Zealand.
Shuttleworth says at the end of the day the philosophy behind Creation Signs is pretty simple, it’s about building relationships and treating people with the same respect if they are spending $5 or wanting the business to manage a major project.