Ever hear of a printing place where you can get exactly what you need? Not forty-eight t-shirts when you’d just like one or 3,000 coffee mugs, but you were just hoping to cover your friend group for this killer inside joke! No more!
“Everyone always asks is what is your minimum? And we don’t have a minimum. We can print one decal, however many signs...we try to accommodate everyone’s needs because not everyone needs bulk. So we try to work with everyone to get their needs taken care of.”
That’s the M.O. of Becky Vardeman-Murphy, owner of Sign This Custom Signs and Design. In Becky, we found a businesswoman with a heart for local. If you can keep up, sit tight as she walks us through some significant chapters of her life: #wacotown meets Dolly Parton meets a warm welcome meets the heart of local business.
After opening Sign This Custom Signs and Design a year and a half ago, Becky and her husband, Randy, transitioned into full ownership in January. Their main reasons?
“We believe in the folks working for us, Tammy and Aaron, and there is a need for our kind of business in the Hewitt area.”
The shop’s name gives them away: Aaron custom designs signs (or whatever you need) and they, mostly in-house, print them onto whatever you request! Things like banners, signs for the front yard (My kid goes to Valley Mills), coffee mugs, promotional materials, streets signs, logos for trucks, caps, you name it.
“People don’t realize you can wrap the inside of your windows (at a business, with a logo). It tints your windows if you get a lot of sun. I’m not sure if people realize we do that. A lot of people, because we’re new, still don’t know that we’re there. We can’t do the lighted portion of a sign but everything else, we can do. Yard signs, banners, even selfie boards.”
Wait, what? Becky, what’s a selfie board?
“For several events I’ve been in charge of, we’ve done selfie boards. They’re the shape of a social media post, but the middle part is cut out, like a window. A group stands together and someone takes your picture while you’re holding up this selfie board framing you all with the name and year of your event or whatever on it. And then everyone at the event posts the photos with the same hashtag like ‘Towny Expo 2018’ or something like that. Everybody likes to take their picture but, this just adds a little bit of fun.”
This woman is ready to innovate, on the go, and has many irons in the fire!
“I have people who have printed with us and, for their next job, they didn’t check with us and assumed we couldn’t do it. They go to our competitor and they always come back to us because we’re reliable. When they went to pick up their order, their sign’s not made. I’ve probably had four or five people come back to us saying, we didn’t know y’all could do that, we didn’t call and ask, but you can be sure we will use you next time. We’re reliable, we’re fast.”
“If you needed something in a pinch, Tammy Hobbs, our manager who’s been in the printing business for 25 years, would certainly work very hard to get that done. We go one step further than probably most. Customer service is number one. Tammy and Aaron both go beyond what is expected. If somebody really needs something, they’re going to stay late and get in early-- whatever to help get that done.”
What do you love about your city?
“One of the things I love about Hewitt is that it embraces all of the businesses that are in that area. The Hewitt Chamber is huge; it’s known for the wonderful things that it does and it also is known for the support all of the business owners give to one another. I think that's an amazing trait for such a small city.
Waco has a big support system for local business owners and I am beginning to see Towny in more local businesses. There are a lot of people who would rather support a small business than they would go to a big box store.”
Oh, did we mention Becky’s a realtor, too?
“I was helping with an event for our Realtor Association and we were talking about sings needed for our event. I reminded everybody that we had a sign shop. Everyone wanted to check online and their sources. I told them I’ll be honest, we may not compete with what’s online and I understand we need to check to see what is the best pricing for the signs . They came back because we were still the better price and because they knew there's a possibility that something might go wrong on the online ordering, so everyone felt using our sign shop was the best decision all they way around” The signs turned out great, and we were able to be very competitive with the pricing.
“I think the community, as a whole, throughout Waco and surrounding areas are really embracing supporting local businesses. Because you know everyone loves to shop online but the people are missing the personal touch of actually talking and receiving one on one customer service. A local store, most likely you will know either the owner or someone who works at the store, and you get that just get that little extra special treatment. You are actually talking to a person, I know for myself, it makes your shopping experience more enjoyable. I like shopping local, and supporting local business owners.
A native Wacoan, Becky shared fond memories of growing up here, playing outside from 8AM to 9PM, pointing out shapes in the clouds with friends, drinking from the hose so you don’t miss a beat outside, all drenched in sweat from the summertime we know so well. Having to be coaxed inside at bedtime.
Staying local for college, Becky graduated from Baylor University and later spent 13 years in Tennessee. For four of those years, she worked for none other than Dolly Parton!
“After the movie 9 to 5, there was a TV series 9 to 5. Rachel, Dolly’s sister, played her character from the movie. Rachel opened a boutique, 9-5, in Franklin, TN. Rachel hired me to help her in the store for several years.”
When she closed it, Becky was asked to come to work for Dolly. It turned into doing more personal shopping for Dolly and helping Rachel decorate several of her places.
“What you see is truly what you get,” Becky told us, “She is a great lady, great family. She knew that she wanted to be famous so she has embraced her fame and fans with such grace. She appreciates the good Lord, her family, and her fans.”
Becky moved back to Waco after a divorce, “It was one of those leap of faith type things. I moved back and didn’t have a job and didn’t have a place to live. My favorite saying is by Iyanla Vanzant: If you will take the first step, God will not let you fall.”
She was hired at Stanley and Weaver Fine Jewelry and rented a duplex from a woman, sight unseen and reflects that things just fell into place for her upon return. Wacoans welcomed her back, “I think that's probably another reason I love Waco. When I moved back, I was embraced by many-- I was gone for 13 years. Everyone, the community, embraced me.
I was single for 15 years and had given up on finding anyone, that’s when I met Randy. My lifetime friend Audie Williams introduced us. We’ve been together ever since!”
Randy’s father was in the military, and lived overseas for many years. They came back and settled in Waco. Randy was tired of corporate life and moving his family around. He and his dad bought a lawn mower, weed eater, and a blower and started H & M Landscaping and Sprinkler Company. He's been in business for over 25 years. He had 2 young men, Chad Peebles and Ashley Hill, who worked with him for several years. He brought them on as business partners, to help expand the business to lawn care, sprinkler systems, and landscaping, for residential and commercial businesses. H & M Landscaping and Sprinkler Company has grown into a successful and recognized company in Waco.
Becky thinks it's wonderful when you support a local business because “it gives the business owner the opportunity to provide for themselves, their families, and employees. And to know that you’re helping your community grow with people that are owning small businesses that choose to do that.”
“It’s nice to know you’re supporting your neighbors, your family, your friends. You’re giving back to them and you’re giving back to your community. And you’re taking the opportunity to help them achieve their dreams to be successful in business.”
This bosslady sees her employees as the “heart and soul of your business.” She brings them breakfast, lunch – it gives her the opportunity to visit with them and catch up. She and Randy want to support them like family, both professionally and personally, as they are taking care of the biz.
For instance, Tammy’s had some family things going on recently and has been worried she hasn’t been at work as much as she ought. Becky repeatedly tells her that it’s important to take care of her family right now. That she isn’t working for a corporate business, but a family one, who will cover her until she is able to return to her normal rhythms.
When visiting Sign This, Becky says, “You can expect to be greeted with a smile. Our team there is going to work with you to make sure you get what you’re looking for in the product. They're going to be honest with you about if your idea is going to work or not. It’s a friendly and fun atmosphere and you’re going to get a great product at the end.”
As you support the company, you can also know, the gift gets passed along, “I am very community-minded. I’m a volunteer failure,” she laughs, “I volunteer for everything!” She gets serious about the things she’s passionate about, “I’m very supportive of various organizations in our area. I’m on the board of the Humane Society which puts on the Wine + Food Festival in October, the Bag Lady Lunch, I help with Fuzzy Friends. I’ve been very fortunate, so has Randy, and we love to help.”
Becky’s dream for the community is that it will continue to flourish. “Hewitt Drive sees more traffic than Valley Mills, day to day. I was surprised to find that out.”
She wants to see the city grow well, “I remember when the Coca-Cola Plant was the Levi jeans plant back in the day.” It’s fun to reminisce about the transformations of the Waco area over time, and Becky is definitely someone who remembers what it was like, way back when. Becky’s are roots deeply planted.
“My mother helped get my dad through Baylor and then all my siblings and I went there. My sister, Kathy, wrote the Alumni Association and told them all the things that my mother had done for all of us! This was before computers. She would type up all of our papers for us! Baylor University Alumni recognized her dedication to us, and honored her with an honorary degree. I think that’s really cool because she has a degree from Baylor, for helping all of us succeed and graduate. She truly deserved and earned that degree.
My dad had a bookkeeping business; he was an accountant. My mother and dad worked together for over 30 years. They were married 62 years when my dad passed away.”
Let’s support Waco the way Becky’s mother supported her kiddos. Download Towny: it’s your FREE guide to exploring local Waco! Yes, there’s MORE to EXPLORE! Start getting rewarded for choosing local TODAY! Here’s the link to get the app.
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