When Keven and Lynn Hoisington bought their sign company, now called Victory Sign and Graphics, the business did “zero international business, zero Internet business,” said Keven Hoisington adding, “Now I would say online sales are forty percent of our business.”
Besides building their online sales, the couple also built their international sales and, just for fun, have a map with pins in the countries they’ve shipped to such as Russia, Germany and Saudi Arabia. Closer to home, travelers on West River Drive can see signs made at Victory Sign and Graphics at the Whitecaps, the Rockford Fire Department, and the Comstock Park Library, as well as the sign on their own building at 4306 Abrigador Trail in Comstock Park.
Wherever their customers originate, it’s likely they found Victory Sign and Graphics on the Internet. Keven Hoisington said they advertise primarily through storefronts on sites like eBay and Amazon. The company provides vehicle graphics, banners, vinyl graphics, wood and aluminum signs, and more. They also make electrical illuminated signs, although that is a small part of their business. “Bumper stickers to billboards” pretty much covers what they do, said Keven Hoisington, adding, “If there’s a way to put a logo or a sticker on it, we do it.” Keven Hoisington said most of their customers are small businesses rather than large corporations, and they have many long-time customers. “We make our living off of small jobs,” he added.
Keven Hoisington got started in sign making by way of screen printing tee shirts. He started that in the late 1980’s before computers were used by the industry and said he’s gone through several versions of the sign making and graphics program he uses. In 1994 he began working at Parris Sign Company, founded by Bill Parris. Parris started the business in 1960 in his basement and moved a couple of times before building the current building on Abrigador Trail in 1980. Parris’s son took over the business, and the Hoisingtons bought the business from him in 2008, changing the name to Victory Sign and Graphics. Lynn Hoisington said that with the growth they’ve experienced since buying the business, the 2400 square foot building is bulging at the seams.
Neither of the Hoisingtons started out to be a sign maker. Keven Hoisington was a music major concentrating on percussion at Central Michigan University and planned to teach music. He left school to go to work in 1988. Lynn Hoisington studied accounting at what was then Davenport College and worked at what was then Grand Rapids Teachers Credit Union. She put her career on hold to become a partner in Victory Sign and Graphics, and has recently started back to school to earn a nursing degree.
They both like being business owners. “It’s a lot of work, don’t get me wrong, but the freedom of owning a company is wonderful,” said Lynn Hoisington, adding the flexibility of setting her own hours makes it easier to tend to family matters. Keven Hoisington likes the variety of the work. “Every order is different,” he said. “Every person has a message they are trying to get across.”
The Hoisingtons live in Pierson and have two children – a son in high school, and a daughter who teaches high school Spanish. Keven Hoisington is a percussion instructor at Tri-County High School in Howard City and gives private lessons. He is the music director at Grace Community Church in Howard City, and Lynn Hoisington is an officer Women of Grace, the church’s ladies ministry.