Consistency Keeps Customers Coming Back

RTape Case Study: 21st Century Signs

No one is against progress. Brad Engel, production manager for 21st Century Signs in Williamsport, PA, knows that. Change can be for the better. He also knows that customer expectations can be shattered when things change too much. Like when a favorite eatery changes its signature dish for the sake of lower prices, the risk of alienating long-time and satisfied customers is great.

That's the corporate philosophy under which 21st Century Signs operates. When Mr. Engel finds a technology that works to the advantage of his company and his customers, he sticks with it, even if competitive products boast of additional cost- and time-efficiencies. To Mr. Engel, it's the quality that really counts.


21st Century Signs was founded in 1997 and has since become a premier supplier of wholesale signage nationwide. An expansion project three years ago saw the facility grow to three times its former size to accommodate larger signage products. Mr. Engel is proud to say that 21st Century Signs uses an effective combination of cutting-edge technology, high quality materials and skilled craftsmen to produce some of the finest signage available today.

From classic hand-crafted dimensional signs and large digital prints, to custom fabricated architectural signage and complete themed environments, 21st Century Signs provides the products that clients need to be competitive and successful.

Consistency Brings in New Customers

The company does very little advertising. 21st Century Signs depends mostly on good word of mouth to bring in new customers. The company has a good record with its customers, and that keeps them coming back; there's a high percentage of repeat business with 21st Century.

Using the right products is part of that focus, such as RTape's Conform® Series with RLA® (Release Liner Adhesion). Mr. Engel said that Conform provides a greater dollar value than any competitive tape product. The advanced-technology application tape lays flat to exposed release liners around printed die-cut decals, offering superb adhesion, eliminating the need for heat and vacuum processes, and allowing graphics to be rolled or stacked without concern of application wrinkling, tunneling or curling. Additionally, it is smooth, so that graphics won't dog ear and stick together.

"Conform is always a big help. Certain jobs are harder to do than others, and Conform makes it easier to transfer vinyl from its carrier to the substrate of application," Mr. Engel said. "Conform is also suitable for paint shielding purposes, as well, which aids in protection of over-sprayed paint. Projects become more labor intensive if we don't use Conform, creating longer lead times, plus there's always that risk of losing the graphic we produce. RTape always gives us that barrier of protection, making it easier to reposition things."

Conform has a longer shelf life than comparable products and behaves the same way each and every time it is used, leading to more consistent results and fewer remakes on most projects.

"We have had problems with other materials. The adhesion became an issue. Sometimes temperature has an effect on certain materials. RTape has a good shelf life and doesn't stick around too often," Mr. Engel said. "The best way for our customers to save money is for us to continue to use Conform."

So while memorable meals at preferred eateries may come and go, Mr. Engel prefers for his business to stick with what works, as far as technology is concerned. It is, one might say, a healthy, nutritious business plan that helps 21st Century Signs continue to grow.

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