"Horizon Signs was registered in November 1998. At the time, I (Leigh) was still an apprentice to Simon Hardy of Simon Hardy Signs.
In 2000, I bought Simon out and Horizon Signs was established as the signwriter of the Callide/Dawson Valleys. During the next few years, slow progress was made in expanding Horizon Signs. The Premises we operated out of was a whopping 108sqm. Then acquiring adjoining shed space jumped upto 189sqm, then 270sqm. The whole shed complex. The bulk of the shed space was under the agreement that we could rent it cheap, but when a full paying tenant came by, we were to get out. And slowly they came till we were back to 108sqm
By November 2003, I married Alise, and it was made evident that more dollars were needed to be made to stay afloat. An opportunity arose in 2004 with the old panel shop came up for rent. The old panel shop was in the centre of town, and was huge, 450sqm. With little thought the move was made into the new premises, nearly going broke in the process. But like most good moves it all worked out and life got a lot busier.
In 2005 the first apprentice Cassie was put on. The first few months were a little odd for her, still used to being a husband and wife team, it was normal us to show up to work all over the place, and finishing the same. Having a drum kit in the shop gave her some outlet. Horizon Signs quickly grew, but not as quick as the rest of the area. The quoting turnaround blew out to up to 3 months. Not a good thing. We all worked ridiculously long and hard for the next few years. At one stage, when we were all very tired and frustrated, I punched my office chair to let off steam, but it hit back and bent a bone in my hand. Time for a holiday!
By June 2007 we were ready for a refresh. We went away from our normal approach and took on a “New Personality”. With a new look, we went about trying to improve our service, range and abilities. Investing heavily in the business, we updated and trained on the various software needed to help perform our tasks. With this training we gained new contacts. These contacts helped us to understand what we could do better with what we already had.
July 2008. We closed shop to build a new premises. Whilst the shed we were in was great, the landlords had bigger and better plans for it - Pull it down and put a motel in its place. My parents had some spare space in the front of their depot, and plans got underway to build a new premises. By December the bulk of the work was done and the painstaking job of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s was left to do. By June 2009 we had one little piece of paperwork to do till we can officially open shop again.
In September 2008 we employed Michael, who has been in the signwriting industry for 17 years. With a lot of experience under his belt he can handle many a job thrown his way with confidence. He specialises in brush work and is unreal at drawing. He has drawn many caricatures of vehicles and people.
July 2009 and Horizon Signs once again opened for business. Updated processes once again making for a great work place. The shed is a lot smaller than the last one, but a lot cleaner to work in and a lot cooler in the air-con. Many thanks go out to all that helped to make this new shop happen.
August 2009 and our Apprentice Cassie has finished her time. She leaves within a couple of months to try a few things.
February 2010. We put on Ethan as our new apprentice. A new approach for training is in store so as to get the best out of him, and be a great benefit for the business and community.
June 2010 and technological advances have encouraged us to upgrade our current machines. They are now faster, more economical, higher quality, and, as most companies are trying to do now, greener.
October 2012 Ash joins us to help with the running of jobs internally and to assist with customer relations. She is also learning the basics of sign manufacturing and design. As it turns out, she got pregnant and left in December 2014. We grew to rely on Ash and she is missed.
June 2013 we purchase a CNC Router to manufacture in house our 3D cut out letters and shapes. Previously we had to freight these in and this sometimes meant longer lead times and supply issues.
August 2013 Cassie comes back to work part time.
February 2014 Ethan has finished his time and has continued to work alongside us. As part of his apprenticeship I made him compete in the Worldskills competition. He did alright, making it all the way to nationals in Perth.
November 2014 and we have finally revamped our Image. Ideally this is done every 5 years, but there was some debate as to which direction to go.
Finally coming up with the latest idea."
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