The signs are everywhere in Orange County. From shiny, red stop signs to speed limits and custom street signs, the Orange County Sign Shop has played a significant role in directing citizens and keeping traffic flowing since 1977.
Orange County’s Sign Shop produces nearly 15,000 signs annually and there are more than 112,000 signs located throughout Orange County. The Sign Shop produces all the road signs for unincorporated Orange County, saving the County and taxpayers between 50 and 60 percent off the retail price of outsourcing road signs.
There are three, full-time employees at the Sign Shop and two sign installers. Almost all of the Sign Shop employees have spent more than a decade creating signs for Orange County. Sign Shop Foreman John Trento, who has been with the County for 19 years, has overseen the design of thousands of street signs.
“The most rewarding part of my job is putting out a quality product and making sure that everything runs smoothly,” Trento said. “On average, depending on demand, we can produce upwards of 300 finished and laminated signs per week.”
Sign production begins on a specialized computer where the sign is designed and edited. Once the design is set, special software directs a vinyl cutter to create the sign. Next, excess vinyl is removed using a razor blade through a process referred to as “weeding.” Transfer paper is then rolled onto the vinyl lettering. The vinyl lettering is then attached to a piece of aluminum, which is called a blade. There’s a reflective film on the blade to make the sign easily visible at night. The majority of the signs made at the Sign Shop are regulatory and warning signs used for pedestrian and driver safety.
Sign replacement occurs daily throughout the County since the average sign lifespan is approximately seven to 10 years. The Shop stocks about 1,000 stop and yield signs and 400 other various signs that are in high demand for replacement.
Before any signs are installed into the ground, the Sign Shop checks the site for underground utilities and engineering specifications. In new neighborhoods slated for development, the Sign Shop has the task of installing all of the street signs after the roads are complete and before the homes are constructed. Stop and yield signs are keys to safety and are considered top priority.
Last fall, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners unveiled roadway sign tributes to fallen hometown heroes Orange County Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Scott Pine and Windermere Police Officer Robert German. In 2014, both beloved officers tragically lost their lives to senseless acts of violence while in the line of duty.
The Deputy Scott Pine Memorial Roadway is located on S. Apopka Vineland Road and Officer Robert German Memorial Roadway is located south of Conroy-Windermere Road and seen by an average of 14,000 drivers daily in West Orange County. The signs also serve as symbols of gratitude to local law enforcement officers and will help the community recognize the selfless sacrifices officers make on a daily basis to ensure the safety of citizens.
“We get a lot of pride and satisfaction out of what we do,” Trento added. “It’s very rewarding to see your work product whenever you drive around Orange County.”