Signs & Designs

Ed and his own business sign

Veteran Wenatchee sign maker displays how other companies want to be portrayed

Story and photos by Gary Bégin

Back in the 70s, after his Army career, former Vietnam infantryman Ed Joachims

Decided to embark on a new life, but it had to have a creative twist or it just wouldn’t work.

The Wenatchee Business Journal did a short Q&A with the longtime owner of Signs and Designs (40+ years) to see how he has managed to survive and thrive over the last four decades:

WBJ: Tell the reader about your military service:

Ed: My time in the Army was from 1970 through 1971 (13 months in Vietnam). My MOS was infantry, 1st Air Cav.

My favorite duty station was a small base in Vietnam, during the last month I was there, I was manager of an Officers Club. It helped me to think about owning my own business when I got back to the world. Getting out of the field was the best thing that ever happened to me, except coming home.

WBJ: What was your job history before deciding to run your own business?

Ed: I have worked a lot of jobs, quitting them all because something was missing. I could never figure out what it was until I walked into a sign painter’s shop one day and just knew this was it. It was what I had been missing in all my previous jobs - creativity. I enjoyed all the jobs I worked, and excelled in them all, but was never really happy or satisfied until I started working in the sign business. I never once had been let go, and always moved up in every company, yet something just seemed to be missing. Being a creative person and always trying to express it, the sign business fit like a glove.

WBJ: What do you like best about the sign business?

Ed: My favorite part of the business was creating logos for people, helping them to show their pride in their business, along with their service and product. I have been asked what part of the business is the most lucrative. The answer would be truck lettering, which requires few materials, but is quite time-consuming.

What was it like at the beginning of your enterprise?

Ed: When I started my business, I began with only a set of brushes, lettering paint, and creativity. The greatest cost was that of renting a location. All the other tools were added as I could afford them. Today, technology is my most expensive set of tools.

WBJ: Besides creativity, is it all about the money?

Ed: I didn’t start doing sign work for the money, nor have I stayed with it for the money. The work I do, I guess, is just in my heart. I enjoy getting to do what I do every day. I may not be rich, but I’m one of the wealthiest persons alive, because I am able to do what I enjoy, every day.

I need to be a businessman, too, but my motto fits both the businessman and my love for the business: “Quality, Creativity, and Integrity Since 1979.”

WBJ: Any pointers for the aspiring “sign and design” businessman?

Ed: For anyone interested in getting into this business, just listen to your customers and help them with the success and pride of their businesses. What you do today, can improve all your tomorrows.

Editor’s Note: As part of a continuing series on Veteran-owned businesses, the WBJ welcomes any leads in identifying same. Email: or call 509-571-5302.


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