The signs of revival are everywhere! And chances are that the sign above the restaurant where you just ate or the store where you shopped yesterday is the product of Signs by Crannie, a Flushing-based company. Dan Crannie is the owner and president of the 28-year-old business, which began as a one-man sign shop in his father’s garage. “My dad and my uncle restored cars, and they encouraged me to learn how to pinstripe,” said Dan of his humble beginning. Learning how to paint stripes with great precision made him realize he had a talent for lettering. From there, he started his sign company, which is today a million dollar corporation, installing and servicing commercial signs throughout the United States and Canada. Dan is now an administrator, but he still offers his opinion on sign design and production.
Some of the Signs by Crannie signage seen around Genesee County include Applebee’s, Spartan Foods, Halo Burger, YaYa’s and Troy Cleaners, to name just a few. The new First Merit Bank signs were also installed by Crannie, which Dan reports was quite a job, as they all had to be unveiled on the same day. “We can make a sign for everything from local churches to casinos,” says Dan. One of Crannie’s current projects is the new stadium scoreboards for Western Michigan University, having just completed an entrance archway for the village of Birch Run. No project is too big or too small for this company: the signage they will deliver to an Indianapolis hospital, for example, will take five semi-trucks to haul. Dan says that the company originally selected to do that job actually sought the help of Signs by Crannie due to their reputation for high quality work and their ability to handle the project’s large scope. Dan says he is particularly proud to have built new signs for both Hurley Medical Center and McLaren-Flint. “We gave them a new identity,” Dan says, which he believes will help the entire community.
Dan believes it is his very capable and dedicated staff that has led to the company’s success. “We’ve got a lot of talent here,” says Dan, “and all the trades are represented.” His staff includes artists, fabricators, welders, painters, a sales team, office personnel and a graphic designer. “My dad came to help me out for a couple weeks,” laughed Dan, “and he retired 14 years later.” Another thing that has led to success is the high-quality product they deliver. “My guys take a lot of pride in their work,” Dan asserted.
Signs by Crannie specializes in digital and electronic signs, electronic message centers, channel letters, pole signs, high-rise signs, vehicle wraps, monument signs, archway signs, scoreboards, flagpoles and custom signs; you name it and they make it! The company’s offices and fabricating facilities are currently located in Flushing and Fort Myers, FL, where Dan vacationed on spring break for many years. While there, he noticed that the signs were in terrible shape, so six years ago, he decided to open a maintenance division there. Dan’s daughter Kayla Crannie manages the Ft. Myers operation, which is now a thriving business. “I had no idea how it would snowball,” he smiled.
Having outgrown their Flushing facility, Signs by Crannie is making a big move this year to move to a more accessible location off Bristol Road near Bishop Airport. “We need more space!” Dan exclaimed, and 52,000 square feet will certainly allow the company to expand in all areas, including the key area of its art department. “Our projects are getting bigger and bigger,” says Dan, “and we need to grow to match the demand.” It was important to him that his company relocated within the Flint area. “It had to be in Flint or Flint Township,” says Dan. “I’m a Flint guy, born and raised. Flint enabled me to be a successful businessman!” He attended Southwestern High School and has co-owned a popular Downtown Flint restaurant, Churchill’s, for 20 years. “I’ve seen some of the worst and the best of the city,” says Dan, “but we stuck it out and I’m glad we did.” Signs by Crannie is now in the top five percent of sign companies in North America. “A little talent and a little common sense took us to great heights.”
PHOTOS BY AUTUMN D. RUMMEL
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