WL Concepts Blog

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Signage Company Expanding Freeport Facility

 

newsday.com
September 6, 2011 by JAMIE HERZLICH / Special to Newsday

http://www.newsday.com/business/signage-company-expanding-freeport-facility-1.3138283

Eleven years ago, Bill Levine found himself without a job after the signage display company where he had worked for two decades closed.

Little did the disabled veteran know that a lost job would eventually turn into a growing $3.5-million-plus operation that now employs 20 but could add six people within a year.

He runs his own signage, graphics and visual display firm, WL Concepts and Production, in Uniondale and Freeport.

“I’m very fortunate,” said Levine, 60, who started his company in a bedroom of his home and is now an industry leader servicing some of the top brands in the world, including Tommy Hilfiger.

The company is expanding and renovating a 15,000-square-foot facility in Freeport, where it will consolidate operations and increase production thanks to a $300,000-plus investment in new technology.

“It will ramp up production at least 25 percent,” said Levine, who started his business after going through the state Department of Labor’s Self Employment Assistance Program.

He discovered the program after losing his job at Electra Displays in Islandia, where he’d served as vice president of sales until it closed in 2000. The program helps qualified unemployed individuals become self-employed by providing free entrepreneurial training and counseling.

During the program he met his mentor, John Narciso, program coordinator for the NYS Veterans Business Outreach Program at the Small Business Development Center inFarmingdale, said Levine, who served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam, where he incurred a service-connected disability.

Narciso, a retired Navy captain, assisted Levine with his business plan and helped him earn designation as both a veteran-owned and disabled-veteran-owned business, a status that would help Levine later compete on a federal level.

“He had the motivation and drive inherent in himself, but having the clients and knowing the business, he was able to hit the deck running,” says Narciso, adding Levine was one of the first inductees into the SBDC’s Small Business Hall of Fame.

The company’s growth has been swift. After starting the business in 2000, Levine purchased a 5,068-square-foot facility in Uniondale a year later. And by 2007, another 7,000-square-foot facility in Freeport. He’ll move the company’s headquarters from Uniondale to the renovated 15,000-square-foot Bennington Avenue site in Freeport by early fall. It’s unclear yet whether the smaller Freeport facility will be part of the consolidation.

The new facility will incorporate several new pieces of machinery, including a laser capable of cutting, etching and engraving full-sized sheets of acrylics, wood, metal or stone in sizes up to 50 inches wide and 100 inches long at extraordinarily high speeds.

“Bill’s smart enough to know that you can’t sit back,” said Eric Feigenbaum, New York editor of VMSD, an industry trade publication for retail designers and store display professionals. “You have to be up to date in terms of what’s going on in technology.”

It’s this kind of forward thinking that’s helped him turn the company “into an industry leader,” said Feigenbaum.

His clients include Timberland, DHL Express, Jones New York and Donna Karan.

“They get it,” said Melissa Schor, store planning senior project manager for Tommy Hilfiger in Manhattan. “They know our brand.” WL Concepts’ work for the company includes designing and manufacturing all of Hilfiger’s wall logo plaques that hang in Macy’s stores throughout the country and, most recently, a large custom mirror with the Tommy Girl logo on it being displayed at Macy’s Herald Square and Macy’s South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. “They never let us down,” said Schor.

AT A GLANCE
WHO: Bill Levine, president | COMPANY: WL Concepts and Production
BUSINESS: Display and graphics
REVENUE: $3.5-million plus
WHERE: Freeport / Uniondale
EMPLOYEES: 20

TRIVIA One of the company’s largest visual projects was a 255-foot-wide and 35-foot-high “Many Faces of Holiday” exhibit that was displayed for several holiday seasons at Kennedy Airport’s Terminal 4. It was co-designed with Koulian Design Group in Huntington.

 

The Critical But Overlooked Business Marketing Elements

Business displays and signage are critical elements often overlooked in a company’s overall marketing process.

WL Concepts of Uniondale, Long Island, points out that display and design strategies are very well suited for suited to retail. Effective displays and signage dictates that they are always appealing.

 “These displays can’t just be visible, they need to be inspiring,” says Bill Levine, President of WL Concepts.  “Marketing is more than just placing display advertising or utilizing good web design concepts. Appealing signage and display concepts will attract potential customers to the client’s business.”

From design, to production, to installation, effective display companies have to know the right combination of strategies and elements to implement, according to Mr. Levine.

What Makes A Great Visual Display?

WL Concepts observes that beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but when it comes to a visual display, there are a few rules to consider. First, keep it simple. This might sound easy, since you may want to show off all of your new merchandise, but you’ll invariably end up adding too many items. If you do, it will simply look cluttered and unfocused, resulting in your customers most likely passing you by. Instead, try to have a focal point, which will include POP displays, merchandise, and display signage, and lighting as integrated, fluid displays elements. This synergism will draw the eye to the main attraction of the visual display. Mr. Levine also points out that lighting is a good way to do this.

In assembling your visual display, you’ll want to position them in the right place so that the other items can be around them. Colors are also an important part in an effective visual display. The most appropriate colors can help to set the mood or feeling of the concept you’re trying to accomplish or achieve. Blues and greens are calmer and sedate, where as red and orange have a screaming effect. There are specific colors that are used by firms each year that relate to the newest or hottest Pantone colors being shown by designers and others.

Keep Track Of Your Displays

A good visual display can be very effective, and once created, you’ll be able to duplicate it. Once you’ve completed the assembly of your visual display, take a picture of it for your records and keep track of the product sales from the display. If the visual display was a success, companies like WL Concepts can recreate it again later or change the product lineup to increase sales.

Like most projects, a good visual display takes some skill and practice to successfully achieve. Don’t get discouraged if your sales are not what you’d expected from your display. Simply use any information obtained from the display to make improvements until satisfactory results are achieved. Keep working on innovative ways to make the best visual display you can. The experience can be both satisfying and rewarding.

For further information, visit http://www.wlconcepts.com or call 516-565 5151.

Tips for Designing Effective Window Display Signage

 

You may have the best store in the world, but if your display windows are bland and boring, potential customers will walk on by. Window graphics are an easy, eye-catching way to bring customers in to your business. If you’re unsure how to implement display signage, consider hiring a company that specializes in visual displays. They’ll be able to provide you with excellent, professional advice and signage. There are certain things you need to think about before hiring a window graphics design company. Creating visual displays that are attractive and functional isn’t something just anyone can do, so be sure to ask questions before signing a contract. Specifically, ask about the company’s design staff, their past experience and what past customers say about them.  Design Staff You’ll be interacting with the design team quite a bit throughout the process of taking your signage from concept to completion. The staff that creates your visual displays should be creative, professional and fun to work with. It’s essential to choose a company with marketing experience, as well as graphic design experience. Just because a company is skilled with design and sign creation doesn’t necessarily mean that they can create an effective ad message! It is important to work with a display design team that can create eye-catching visual displays as well as being able to install them. Installation of the display signage will be quick and easy when left to the professionals. The team you choose should listen to your ideas. A great designer is one that is intuitive enough to extract the ideas from within your mind and convert them into something that works. They are the design experts, but you are the professional with all the knowledge in your business segment. It’s okay if you want to defer to the design team for ideas, but make sure that you discuss any ideas you have – you never know what will spur your designer’s creativity.  Make sure to give your window graphics design staff full access to all your existing marketing materials – both online and print. By knowing what your existing customers see and expect, they’ll be able to design window graphics that create continuity with your existing brand. Experience In Visual Displays It goes without saying that you want a window graphics company with experience and a proven track record. Don’t be afraid to ask what type of experience they have and who they’ve worked with. A good visual display company will have photos and samples of their displays for you to look through.  They’ll also keep up with the latest marketing trends and know just how to get your business noticed. A window graphics company with experience knows what works and what doesn’t and can lead your business in the right direction. Ask Past Customers About Their Visual Displays Nothing creates a better recommendation than past, satisfied customers. Any company that specializes in window graphics should be happy to provide you with a list of customers, as well as photos of their work. Happy, repeat customers will be pleased to provide references and should give you a good idea of what to expect from the display signage. Don’t be afraid to ask the display signage company’s customers what kind of sales increase they saw after the display signage went up. While visual graphics are only one part of a marketing plan, there should be some sort of tangible effect from the window graphics – even if it’s just getting more people into your store. Those people may not spend money right away, but many will come back and turn out to be your repeat customers. Finding the right company to create eye-catching visual displays is an easy way to bring in customers and increase sales revenue for your business. It doesn’t matter what field you’re in, every business can benefit from a professional display signage company.

Display Signage Guide: Setting Yourself Apart From the Competition

If you run a small business with a retail presence, you know your visual displays and window graphics can make a big difference in your sales figures. Customers are drawn to eye-catching displays and great ones will bring customers into your store. It’s a good idea to hire a professional display signage company such as WL Concepts to design, produce and install your visual displays so you’ve got the best displays available.

Designing Visual Displays WL Concepts is knowledgeable in everything required to design beautiful visual merchandising materials. We have engineers, graphic artists and visual merchandisers who work together using the latest marketing trends to create your interior space as well as your window graphics. If you have any ideas of the look you want to achieve with your visual displays, let our design team know. We will be able to take your ideas and add our own professional spin to design displays and fixtures that are attractive and functional.

Producing Display Signage Once you have a design chosen, there are many different ways window and interior graphics can be produced. Some of the more common methods are photographic reproduction, silk screening and printing on vinyl. Each of these methods use digital and or traditional printing on various materials and substrates to create display signage. Other methods of producing displays include acrylic fabrication, vacuum forming and lenticular signage.

Lenticular signage is created by layering two or more photographs together and covering them with a special plastic lens. The plastic creates the allusion of movement from a stationary sign as a customer walks by.  We can also create innovate displays using a high speed laser that produce detailed shapes out of metals, plastics, woods, leather, rubber or other materials.  A high pressue water jet will also cut materials in nearly any thickness. This means if you can dream it up, we can create it using our visual expertise.

Installing Window Or Interior Graphics Professional installation of your interior or window graphics is absolutely vital when it comes to display signage. We have professional installers as part of our team and therefore we will never leave you with a mess or any type of damage whether it be the brand new window recently installed or the interior graphics package you just paid for.  We are the experts.  We will to come in, get your graphics installed and leave you free to continue to work with customers to increase your sales. Professional installers are available whether you require a single installation, a nationwide roll out or an ongoing installation for changing out visual displays. No matter how large or small your project, a professional will be able to finish the installation quickly and expertly. Professionally designed, produced and installed display signage can create a big impact on your customer traffic and subsequent sales. By hiring WL Concepts & Production, Inc., you’ll ensure that your business will have one-of-a-kind display windows and interior graphics, with minimal work on your part.  You can count on us to make it happen smoothly and effortlessly.


DHL Delivers the Spirit of the Holiday Season to U.S. Troops Overseas

Express Delivery Company Partners with New York Communities for Annual Trees for Troops Charitable ProgramDHL is partnering with local communities in New York to deliver live holiday trees and decorations to U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East through DHL’s annual Trees for Troops charitable program. This program has collected and shipped thousands of holiday trees, lights, ornaments, menorahs and messages of support to the brave men and women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain and Kuwait since 2004.

Local businesses, organizations, private citizens and nurseries have joined forces with DHL in donating and delivering 750 trees and holiday decorations overseas. THE NEW YORK official send-off events hosted by DHL in New York was on December 3rd.

Some of the companies that teamed up with DHL for this send off included Dee’s Nursery in Oceanside, New York, the New York State Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and other members of the local New York metro community who donated hundreds of trees and holiday decorations to the program. “Santa Sacks” filled with thousands of holiday cards written by local school children were sent along with the shipment. The December 3rd send-off began at Dee’s Nursery followed by the movement of the shipment to DHL’s gateway at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The event moved inside to a room adorned with Holiday Decorations.  WL Concepts & Production, Inc. a Signage, Graphics and Display firm provided full holiday regala for this event.  Their expertise in visual merchandising  paid off with a beautifully decorated Large Christmas Tree.  This one large tree was decorated with specially displayed Teddy Bears, unusal ornaments, and an attention popping display of DHL Trucks with loads set up on a track around the tree to highlight DHL.

Five smaller trees included DHL model planes as part of the decorations.  Several Wreaths and Garland also adorned the room.  These visual displays and holiday decorations are just one of the many projects completed by the gifted and talented team members of WL Concepts & Production for DHL.

DHL launched its annual Trees for Troops program in December 2004, when Jim Adelis, a New York businessman whose son was stationed in Iraq at the time, reached out to DHL to assist in transporting a shipment of trees to the Middle East. In November and December 2004, with the help of the U.S. Army Reserve 77th Regional Readiness Command, Dee’s Nursery and the local New York metro community, DHL delivered two shipments featuring a total of 135 trees and holiday decorations from JFK to troops stationed at Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq.

Highlights, Excerpts and literary license taken from DHL press releaseWritten by:  Marian Keilson of WL Concepts & Production, Inc

Let WL Concepts Revitalize Your Organization

Customer tastes change quickly and organizations that don’t regularly update their look may get left behind. The balance between staying fresh and alienating loyal customers is a tricky one, but a challenge WL Concepts is prepared to help with.

Create a Fresh Public Face

Organizations may not realize how detrimental an outdated look can be. Often the problem is not obvious. Instead it amounts to a steady drop in revenues as customers turn to more modern rivals for their needs. A company that doesn’t revise its visual displays now and then is going to seem old fashioned to the buying public.

Invigorate your organization by giving your visual displays a face-lift. A bold new image for your organization sends the message that you are an industry leader. It attracts a generation of new customers and drives up traffic in your business. This lucrative business investment has the added benefit of giving new energy to your employees as you create a more pleasant and attractive working environment.

Maintain Your Current Image of Quality

Consider carefully what kinds of changes you want to implement. If you make revolutionary alterations to your business’s visual displays, it may not seem like the same organization even to loyal customers. You run the risk of endangering client loyalty as they lose touch with the familiar aspects of your company.

Determine what aspects of your organization’s visual identity must be preserved. Your company logo is an obvious one but there are likely to be others. It might be the fonts used on your signs, the decor’s color scheme or any number of other possibilities. Keeping these elements in your redesigned image appeals to existing customers on an unconscious level, making them feel comfortable with the changes.

Let WL Concepts Design Your New Look

Our many years of designing and manufacturing visual displays has taught us a lot about the subtle effects of even small changes to a company’s decor. It is amazing how much another color, a change in lettering, or a slightly different arrangement of elements in a display completely change the feeling it creates in observers. These are concepts that must be learned through extensive experience.

WL Concepts brings our experience to your design project. If you aren’t sure what type of visual displays you need to accomplish your goal, we can create the entire design from scratch. On the other hand if you already have a complete concept developed, we will be happy to manufacture it as directed or to offer you advice to make your great design even better.

Now is the ideal time to revitalize your business. As our country moves out of this economic downturn, an updated company image sends the message that your organization is poised to enter a new era of success.

Strategies for Traditional Stores to Compete with Online Shopping

Internet shopping has become a serious threat to some types of brick and mortar stores. Although some pundits predict the doom of the neighborhood shop, there are techniques stores can use to remain competitive. An important part of that strategy is WL Concepts’ display signage.

Signage and Decor Are Key

Successful retail outlets know impulse shopping is a vital part of a store’s profitability. This doesn’t just mean a shopper who adds a candy bar to his basket at the checkout counter. It also means attracting walk-by customers who had planned to buy online. The look of your business, inside and out, is a large part of drawing in new customers.

Imagine a shopper who is planning to buy a DVD player from a store on the web. As he’s walking along on another errand, he sees the display signage for an electronics store. He realizes if he buys that DVD player from the store, he can start using it right away instead of waiting for delivery. That instant gratification is something online stores will never be able to offer.

Educate Customers on Shopping Locally

If you want customers to shop in your store, you need to tell them why they should do so before they even ask themselves the question. Display signage should remind shoppers why buying from you is better than buying online.

Shopping locally stimulates the economy. Why should shoppers fill the pockets of storeowners who live on the other side of the world when their money can go right back into their own community? If your business is involved with a local charity organization, be sure to advertise that on your display signage so shoppers can see a direct connection between the money they spend at your store and helping people in need.

Provide Exceptional Service

Although display signage is a vital part of a store’s success, it’s essential to success to back up high quality signage with good service. Online stores are limited as to how much personal service they can offer. Being able to chat with a representative online or over the phone is nothing like face-to-face service.

Brick and mortar stores have higher expenses than online shops, so trying to compete in price is not always an option. Instead, offer a greater value than internet stores can. Friendly attitudes, assistance before and after the sale, and genuine interest in your customers will be remembered long after customers forget whether they got something on sale or not.

Despite what some pundits might say, traditional brick and mortar stores aren’t going anywhere. They may need to adopt new strategies, but customers will always want the intangible benefits of shopping in local stores.

Know Your Exterior Architectural Signage Rights and Responsibilities

While your exterior architectural sign should be a reflection of your business, there are certain legal requirements that outdoor signage must comply with:

Zoning Regulations for Exterior Architectural Signage

If your business is located in an historic district or building, zoning regulations may restrict certain sign types. For example, an area may require that all businesses use only gold lettering on the building face. Even if all of your businesses’ other locations have backlit signs, you must comply with zoning regulations in your area. Our goal is to ensure that your signs meet local regulations, while remaining as consistent as possible with your brand.

Trademarks and Copyrights

Trademark and copyright laws protect the design of your exterior architectural signage. The same protections extend to your competitors and it’s important to be aware of them so that you don’t inadvertently violate these laws.

Your trademark is essential to your organization’s competiveness. A competitor could not design a sign with a very similar appearance intended to fool customers into thinking they are the same company. Nor can stores use other company’s trademarks to imply they are a member of a franchise or otherwise partnered with a business.

Copyright laws protect the content of your visual displays, and this protection covers not only the text but also the graphics and logos. Other organizations cannot use material copyrighted by your company or vice versa. Deliberate infringements on someone else’s copyrights may incur steep fines.

Public Safety Regulations

The other type of laws protects public safety by regulating the structure of an outdoor sign. For example, laws restrict a sign’s material to ensure it is structurally sound or lay out requirements for signs with electrical components so that there is no danger of short circuits or other problems.

Before we develop an outdoor sign, we obtain all of the necessary information to ensure that your signs are designed meet or exceed all material, structural and electrical standards you might encounter. We work with expeditors and handle sight surveys. If the architect has not done so already, we even obtain the necessary paperwork and permits to ensure that your signage is in compliance.