Sign display company launches in Lakewood Ranch.
In her retirement, Lakewood Ranch’s Sandie Ivers has enjoyed staying active through volunteer work, such as creating centerpieces for charity fundraisers.
These days with COVID-19, however, those social activities are gone, and Ivers now finds herself loaded into her Honda CRV or the Ford Excursion of her friend Linda Klein.
The women strategically fill the vehicles with signs, converge upon an unsuspecting party’s front yard and then return to the car to snap a picture. They look at the photo and then go make any adjustments to the signs before driving away.
The know the messages they are leaving behind will bring smiles and cheer, whether they read “Welcome home” or “Happy
“You feel so good when you do this, and you see people’s reactions,” Ivers said.
Ivers and Klein, of Sarasota, have teamed up to open Suncoast Sign Greeters LLC, a licensee of Atlanta-based Sign Greeters LLC.
Ivers’ daughter, Stacie Francombe, started the company after getting laid off from her job during the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, there are 17 licensees in operation, including Arizona, California, Georgia and Florida.
Ultimately, when Francombe started her sign business, the women’s interest piqued. Francombe shared a video of a school-aged girl who was enamored by the birthday display in her yard and loved how the signs included all her favorite things.
The women had talked for three years about opening a business together, but none of the ideas seemed quite right. The video spoke to both of them, and they launched their business in June.
“Linda and I are very creative,” Ivers said. “We can do it anyway we want.”
Each job is customized, and the women like to tailor displays to individuals as much as possible. For example, if a high school graduate loves kayaking and baseball, they might add signs of oars or a baseball glove.
“This is a time when we have to come up with new ways to celebrate,” Ivers said. “We feel so good about it when we’re done. There are no two signs alike.”
Sign rentals start at $85 for a 24-hour rental, or displays can be rented for longer.
The women say they see their new jobs as more than a business; it is their newfound passion because they want people to feel special.
“I want to give back to this community,” Ivers said. “Yes, we’re a business, but we want our community to realize we really care.”
Klein added, “This is all to bring happiness.”
For more information about the business, click here.
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.