What do you call a blend of cool style, in-your-face theatrics, and jaw-dropping deadlines with a twist? A Hollywood makeover reality show, " Bar Rescue." Add a dash to the finish line for new brand and signage, and you have a challenge worthy of even the most seasoned sign professionals. Now, enter a shop just eight months old that is asked to create the sign that will save a business. And do it over a weekend. One of Spike TV’s newest reality series, Bar Rescue, was slated to feature the old Kilkenny’s Irish Pub on the Redondo Beach Pier in their July episode. Next to Redondo Beach is Hermosa Beach, where 3V Signs & Graphics is located.
“After numerous changes to the design we finally met at 7:00 am Friday with the installer and the production people, for a sign they needed on Tuesday at 6:30 am,” explained Stefanie Dacy, who with her husband Pat owns 3V Signs & Graphics. "Isaac, our graphic designer, put together the last details for the permit and the installer went with the production folks to get the permit and we went to work building three signs.”
3V Signs had opened just eight months prior with the assistance of business developers, Sign Biz Inc., founders of the world's largest chain of non-franchised digital sign companies, and the Dacys felt almost ready to take on such a momentous charge. Almost.
“We first turned the job away, because they need to get a licensed contractor to do the installation, as we are in the process of getting our license still. But they found their own installer, and wanted us to make the sign,” Dacy explained.
One of the country’s top restaurant and bar consultants, Taffer gives failing establishments one last chance to succeed. Spike TV’s new series “Bar Rescue,” from the makers of “The Biggest Loser,” refashions drinking establishments in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia under the watchful eye of Jon Taffer. The failing bar, Kilkenney’s, was $900,000 in debt, and on its last legs, a business on the rocks. See the episode preview here:
Aiding Taffer in rebuilding these establishments are his wife Nicole, who operates undercover to help him diagnose each bar’s problems, along with a rotating group of experts, including famed restauranteur Josh Capon, celebrity chef Brian Hill, Diageo Master of Whisky Peter O’Connor and Diageo mixologist Elayne Duke. And our very own Sign Biz Network Members, Pat and Stefanie Dacy, owners of 3V Signs in Hermosa Beach, CA.
“This project was a big stretch for us but it has expanded our knowledge base and we learned so much about what can be done with LED lighting and PVC and printed vinyl. We have a much better understanding of what the installer needs to have a smooth installation on a large sign. We’ve learned to ask more questions and really we should have charged more,” she says with a smile. “Our bill to them was $18,000 for 3 signs. We also made a great connection with a local plastic fabricator, they are creative and a wonderful resource. So much good came out of this stretch!”
See the before and after photos here, and on www.facebook.com/signbiz
The episode delved into every business facet of running the bar from creating a profitable drink/food menu to crowd management to music selection to refashioning the brand, transforming the Irish pub into a surf barbecue joint. To go along with the establishment’s new look, Taffer gave it a new name: Breakwall Bar and Grill.
Taffer offers this top management tip for business owners in all industries: Get serious about marketing. Businesses can spend too much on it, but no business can market too much, according to Taffer.
"Work topline revenue every day without spending much money," he says. "Great marketing is big ideas, not big checkbooks."
Dacy says, “Having been through this process, we now know what it takes to get something big done in a short period of time, we learned how long it takes to get the pieces together (longer than we thought on this one). This was a lot of work and a lot of fun and it’s so cool to see the sign when we go down to the pier and even more cool to see it on TV. What a great business we are in! I scarcely think we would have ever been a part of a project like this in our old corporate jobs.
“One nice thing about being a part of this makeover is that the bar owners were in danger of closing the bar and the makeover saved their business. The most visible part of the makeover were the signs outside - and we did that - helped breathe life into a local business on its death bed.
"With our state of the art printer we were able to produce beautiful graphics to cover the sign pieces and bring to reality an image on a computer screen,” adds Dacy.
So, were Taffer’s changes effective?
“Business has been great—I've seen the changes here, and especially in my pockets,” said bartender Carlos Lara. “We got a lot of surfer people who come out, a lot of new customers.” Before the makeover, “we used to have a lot of old people,” Lara said, “but now we have a … younger crowd in here.”