Peter and Ande RooneyIn the late 1970s I met my future husband, Peter Rooney, while we were both high school teachers. By 1980, we were ready for a new challenge! We decided to combine our passions for art, history and design into a business that could trace the rich entrepreneurial spirit of American ingenuity through company logos and advertising slogans. The Ande Rooney Sign Company was born. Peter, an accomplished carpenter and wood worker, has always been interested in antique advertising signs made of wood, porcelain and cardboard. I have always been involved in 2-D design and graphics, so it was a given we would move into the sign business.

The HJ Heinz Company was our first license with the reproduction of the round paper pickle barrel label as a sign in porcelain enameled on steel. We located a foundry and began manufacturing reproductions of American trademarks as signs, and eventually magnets.

Today, we carry licenses with such iconic American brands as Harley-Davidson, Coca-Cola, Miller-Coors, Pepsico and General Motors along with many other trademarks and recognizable logo imagery that reflect American life. The socio-economic and political times of a society are reflected in its art, music, literature, fashion, and product development. The retail store window becomes the book cover of that story!

Honesty, integrity and dependability are our business’ guiding principles, and retailers can do well with our products by paying close attention to display, lighting and merchandising price point.

Specifically, retailers should display the signs on a wall as if in a gallery, (not in a dump box). One sign should be accessible to be touched. It is critical that the signs have good illumination to show the high quality of color and dimensional embossment. Lastly, keep that retail sweet spot between $14.95 and $19.95. By allowing the customer to see and feel the sign, the quality is evident. When they realize the price point, they just have to buy it!

The market for our products has changed and grown over the years, in part due to the economy. We began producing our signs in porcelain enameled on steel which were like jewels in color, finish and demand. The downturn in the economy brought increased costs of raw materials and additional shipping charges. This situation forced our retailers to look for lower wholesale pricing. For Ande Rooney, a company known for high-quality signs, we knew we had to maintain our level of excellence at a lower price point to satisfy our customer base. We turned to a less expensive material, embossed, die-cut tinplate. Amazingly, with the new lower-priced material, we have expanded our customer base within the independent specialty store category!

On the horizon for our company? ---- ride the wave!Most of our retailers are finding tremendous success with under $19.95 gift items. When our customers are successful, we continue to grow. Our mantra has always been to meet the needs of our customers by listening to their suggestions. After all, we depend on each other to keep this industry healthy and evolving, and my strongest belief is the retail store window tells the story!

Souvenirs, Gifts & Novelties Magazine