Signs of The Economic Times

Business is booming
Jacqulene Albright-Kehoe, whose father, Jack Kehoe, opened Sign Language in 1979, looked over lettering being done by her cousin Sean Kehoe. Bridget LeRoy

    Sign Language on Gingerbread Lane and Ocean Graphics on Springs-Fireplace Road are in the business of making signs. But are the signs themselves indicators of business and how it’s doing in East Hampton?
    Business is booming at both, in part because of the recently enacted East Hampton Village law that mandates smaller contactors’ signs on properties where work is being done.
    “They’re not happy about it, but they’re making it work,” Denise Fenchel, a co-owner of Ocean Graphics, said. “The economy is definitely ramped up.”
    Virginia Gerardi at Sign Language agreed. “Something happens, I think, when the stock market goes over 13,000,” she said. “It’s like people wait for that, and then they jump in.” Dozens of orders are on the table, she said, requiring the shop to bump up its summer staff.
    Another indicator of the economy, Ms. Gerardi said, is that customers are paying their bills straightaway, rather than spacing the payments over the course of several months.
    Ms. Fenchel said she sees a preponderance of pop-up stores looking for signs. “Yoga and Pilates places,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot of those.”
    Ms. Gerardi said Sign Language seems to be concentrating more on restaurants and retail stores, along with wall text and posters for art galleries.
    Both places make residential signs, and that business has been bustling as well, seemingly pointing to an increase in sales or new construction.
    Truck lettering is also up, both women said. “We have lots of new trucks coming in,” Ms. Fenchel said. “I think people were waiting to see whether the economy was going up or down to purchase a new vehicle.”
    Ms. Gerardi has seen an increase in whimsical signs, like a wooden scoreboard that Sign Language is fashioning for a private boccie ball court. “I think it’s an indicator of confidence,” she said. “There are some people with money out there just waiting for it to go to work.”