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Meet Matthew Honan of Honan Sign Co. in Winthrop

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Honan.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The business was started by my uncle Richard Honan after he returned from Vietnam in 1971. He created a striving Carved Sign company which also included hand painted signs of all kinds and lots of gold leaf work. Most of the work was for businesses in the Boston area. As the sign industry changed, the company also needed to change and lead to the purchase of our first vinyl cutting machine in the late 80’s. Technology changed the industry from hand drawing layouts to computer generated art and also sped up the response time customers were expecting.

I joined the company in 1991 after attending UMass Amherst with a degree in Mass Communications. Although I had a degree I didn’t have a clear direction for a career and was more interested in travel than anything else. Honan Sign Co was busy and my uncle invited me on board to help with a new type of sign that they had developed to help with the growing coffee industry. We were for the most part making Menu Systems for likes of Au Bon Pain, The Coffee Connection, Starbucks Coffee and Caribu Coffee to name a few. These types of jobs lead to a large increase in vinyl lettering and printed graphics and a decrease in hand painted signs.

My uncle retired in May of 2014 when I took over the helm and we continued with a great reputation in the carved sign field as well as production and installation of all types of vinyl graphics, Acrylic, Metal and other mediums. Thankfully I like my work and for the most part people are very happen when their sign is complete. It’s a great job if you like to work.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
For the most part our reputation has kept us quite busy. And with being busy comes a great deal of work. We have a crew of 4 people with my Uncle Richard still visiting the shop every day to help out when he can. Production and scheduling are the biggest issues with our team. As we are an ‘old time’ sign shop we don’t necessarily have access to all of the new ideas that a franchise might have but we also have an enormous amount of experience which helps us get through difficult situations.

Honan Sign Co. – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a small sign company that has been in business for over 45 years and in the same location for over 30 years. We have a staff of 4 full time people with over 75 years of combined experience. We specialize in carved signs but have branched out to cut vinyl and printed graphics of all kinds, as well as Belt signs, Blade Signs, and Acrylic and metal work and many other types of signs that you walk by every day. We are fortunate in that I can be proud of projects every week and it’s nice to see the look on someone’s face when we are finished installing a sign for them.

We are different than most sign companies these days because we are not a franchise and still do things like hand lettering and custom production. We have been around long enough that people know who we are and that we will get the job done.

One other part of our business that has grown since I joined the shop is installations for companies that produce graphics but don’t necessarily install graphics. This could be anything from vehicle lettering to large format wall graphics. We currently work with over a dozen companies to help with their installation needs

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success, is the phone ringing. We are a small company and have never had a sales team, but our reputation is what has always defined our success. We work hard, produce a great product and as long as the phone continues to ring or in this age we continue to get emails I consider our group very successful.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All Photos taken by Matt Honan

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