Category Archives: Signage

Sadler Sign & Design division steps into the spotlight



This summer, Pella Engraving Company and Sadler Sign & Design—two companies with long legacies in Pella—announced they were joining forces. Now a division of PEC, the Sadler team moved into a new, state-of-the-art studio located in the upper level of the PEC building in July.

It’s been a busy three months, so we’d like to pause for a moment to shine the spotlight on the Sadler Sign & Design division—its history, its services, its team … and what they’ve been up to since they moved in!

How it all began

“I’ve always had a love of typography and graphics, as well as architecture—particularly historic architecture,” recalled Tim Sadler. As an art major at Central College, he was able to explore his passion for drawing and painting. After working in print for a few years, it was natural for him to chart a career in the signage industry. Tim founded Sadler Sign & Design in 1979.

For nearly two decades, Tim designed and hand-painted signs for wide-ranging clientele. Then, in 1992, he started making the switch to vinyl signage because it is safer (no lead-based paint), more durable, and easier to train others to work with. In 2004, Tim’s team added digital printing to its repertoire. When Sadler Sign & Design became a division of PEC earlier this year, the team gained access to even more advanced sign-making technology (like PEC’s world-class paint booth, CNC router, and plasma cutter).

What Sadler Sign & Design can do

For nearly four decades, the Sadler team has specialized in designing, fabricating, and installing architectural signage. In particular, they’ve done a lot of corporate display work, tackling everything from storefront signs to large convention banners.

“We acquired Sadler Sign & Design to expand our indoor and outdoor signage offerings,” said PEC Co-Owner Jeff Vroom. “We’ve always been proud to offer high-quality products, so we knew Tim’s elegant vinyl work would fit right in. Plus, vinyl is less costly to work with, which is a plus for our customer base.”

Custom-painted acrylic nameplates with vinyl letters (courtesy of the Sadler division) provided the finishing touch for this directory for the Pella Regional Health Center.

In addition to the high-quality look and affordability, vinyl is a very versatile material. Aluminum, steel, acrylic sheet, and PVC can be cut to nearly any size and shape using the CNC router or plasma cutter. The top-of-the-line spray booth offers a vast range of color options. The result? A whole new world of signage possibilities for PEC customers.

Beyond signage, the Sadler team also brings in-depth knowledge of digital printing to the table. Over the years, they have established themselves as a trusted designer and provider of decals, labels, and graphics for vehicles and industrial machinery. This knowledge will fit right in at PEC; our state-of-the art UV flatbed printer has been creating colorful signage since April 2017.

Who makes up the Sadler Sign & Design team?

  • Tim takes the lead in design, sales, client services, and project quoting. He is also well-versed in code compliance and often helps out with sign installation.
  • Todd Richards also designs signage. He is a graphic technician, digital print specialist, and expert vinyl installer.
  • Greg Dickinson handles digital printing, vinyl finishing, and installation.

Pella Engraving Company Co-Owners Jeff Vroom and Jarid Purvis also play key roles in management and installation, and Cyndi Fynaardt lends a hand in layout work. Customer Service Rep Sam Wallace handles order processing, and Sadler clients get their invoices from Bookkeeper Alyssa Zickel.

 What they’ve been up to … and what’s next!

The Sadler division has been working on several large projects since the summertime transition. Here’s a look at a few of them:

  • On July 19, an EF-3 tornado ripped through the Pella campus of Vermeer Manufacturing, inflicting serious damage. The Sadler division was called in to create signage and banners that would help Vermeer employees find their way around as rebuilding took place.
  • The Central College Athletic Department is rebranding. They have enlisted the Sadler team to create signage and other materials with their new logo.
  • The Sadler division has fabricated new signs for The Cellar Peanut Pub, which has locations in Pella and Newton.
  • They are working with Precision Pulley & Idler on integrating the company’s new logo in its signage, vehicle decals, labels, etc.

“It’s exciting to work in this state-of-the-art setup,” said Tim. “We look forward to continuing to integrate what we do into Pella Engraving Company.”

“Plaques and signs go hand in hand,” added Jeff. “We are eager to introduce the Sadler Sign & Design division to the PEC customer base so it can continue to grow.”

Peanut Pub is nuts about new signage


New signage welcomes patrons to The Cellar Peanut Pub’s Newton location.

Since it’s 2015 move to Pella, The Cellar Peanut Pub has quickly become a favorite hangout for both townies and visitors. It’s almost impossible to imagine Franklin Street without this friendly neighborhood institution and its expert Pubtenders. Now, with a new location in nearby Newton, owner Marty Duffy and his wife, Betsy, are turning their attention to a new project: establishing the Peanut Pub brand.

“With the business growing, I really started to think about our branding,” said Betsy, who handles marketing the pub. “We needed a uniform logo and signage. Thankfully, I knew exactly who to turn to.”

Marty and Betsy reached out to Tim Sadler, head of the Sadler Sign & Design division of Pella Engraving Company. They needed two matching storefront signs featuring the new logo (for the Pella and Newton locations), as well as a double-sided hanging sign to be installed on the side of the Newton pub. A longtime Pella resident himself, Tim was glad to take on the project.

The new logo is a bespectacled and mustachioed peanut, which bears a striking resemblance to Marty. Tim partnered with its creator to design the signs. Then, he Photoshopped their proposed designs onto pictures of both Peanut Pub locations and showed them to Marty and Betsy.

“Tim made sure the plans for the signs followed all city ordinances,” said Betsy. “We were excited to see the finished product.”


The Peanut Pub’s new logo takes center stage—rendered in vivid color with a vinyl printer.

Fabrication started with cutting and assembling the wooden bases of each sign, which were then painted with three coats of solid color stain to make them dark green. Using the digital logo file, Tim’s team printed a full-color Peanut Pub logo for each sign on quarter-inch aluminum. The logos and sign lettering (also quarter-inch aluminum) were then cut out using the PEC plasma cutter and affixed to the wooden bases.

The Sadler Sign & Design team also handled installation and fabricated much of the mounting hardware for each sign. For example, Tim designed and made the ornamental bracket that holds the 4′ x 5′ hanging sign. He then built a scaffold, which allowed him to bolt the sign to the wall. The Sadler Sign & Design team was able to flush-mount the storefront sign in Newton by bolting into the building’s mortar; they used a canopy-mount system to install the sign at the Pella location.

“The work Tim and his team did on our signage is kind of like magic,” said Betsy. “I’m planning to start my own venture soon—a brewery. When that gets off the ground, I won’t go to anyone else for my signage.”

PEC makes waves with new donor wall at Cambridge SportsPlex

The Cambridge SportsPlex donor wall.

The donor wall at the Cambridge SportsPlex honors all those who contributed time and money to the project.

It took 140 donors to make it happen, but thanks to their dedication, the town of Fairfield, Iowa, has a new gym and pool facility that is improving its citizens’ quality of life and attracting new people to the community.

Originally built 45 years ago, Fairfield’s recreational facilities were due for an upgrade. In 2011, planning began for the multi-million-dollar Cambridge SportsPlex, and it opened in 2016. The 36,000 square-foot-space includes an indoor three-lane track, three full-size basketball courts, fitness area, exercise floor, storage, batting cages, restrooms, and showers.

After the grand opening, the SportsPlex task force committee wanted to recognize the generous donors who contributed to the project. A member of the task force, Kent Whitney, had previously worked with the PEC team and was pleased with the end result of the project. On behalf of the committee, he approached Pella Engraving Company about creating a donor recognition wall.

“I stopped in one day and showed them our ideas. They immediately took to it and got excited about the project. I knew right then we had the company we needed with the capability and passion to create our donor wall,” said Kent.

Donor wall at Cambridge SportsPlex.

Kent already had a design in mind, and PEC was able to bring the idea to life using a three-part approach:

  • Wave-inspired, curving background plates were cut on PEC’s state-of-the-art plasma cutter from 1/8″ aluminum. After color-matching the client’s artwork, these plates were painted in three shades of blue.
  • 1/8″ zinc plates with a pebbled texture were cut on a band saw and painted light gray to showcase the donor list. Donor names were etched into the zinc and tipped in black.
  • PEC turned to Sadler Sign and Design of Pella for the smallest lettering on the sign. The scale of the letters was too small to be handled by a plasma cutter or CNC machine. Vinyl was the perfect solution. The PEC team pre-coated the vinyl with the task force committee’s chosen shade of gray, and the individual letters were cut by Sadler Sign and Design. This lettering technique was repeated for the sign’s headline to create a cohesive and eye-catching final design.

The donor wall was installed in the Cambridge SportsPlex lobby. It perfectly fills space on a bare wall and improves traffic flow through the building. The task force committee was very pleased with the final project.

“Pella Engraving Company made what could have been a very challenging project enjoyable and stress-free,” said Kent. “The team’s professionalism and friendly and flexible demeanor made us feel like our project was the most important one on their plate.”

PEC team sticks the landing with new sign for Winterset Gymnastics


Winterset Gymnastics outdoor sign mock-up

Winterset Gymnastics sign lettering installed

Top, the Photoshopped mock-up provided to Pella Engraving by Winterset Gymnastics. Bottom, an unaltered photo of the finished sign.

The athletes and coaches at Winterset Gymnastics are flying high thanks to the new company sign created by Pella Engraving Company.

The gym, which offers tumbling and trampoline classes to kids ages 2 to 18, was in need of a sign after they relocated in August 2016. “The building we moved into is much larger than our old space and just turned 100 years old,” explained Matt Floden, who co-owns Winterset Gymnastics with his wife, Holli. “We did a lot of renovation. While we were able to get the majority of the work finished before Christmas and start classes in the new studio in January 2017, we waited on the sign until a mason could come and repair some of the bricks and mortar on the exterior. That masonry work was completed this year, so we were ready to move forward.”

Matt and Holli knew the façade of their building featured a border and two diamond accents in white brick. However, historical photos of the building revealed there was a third diamond accent covered by old signage. Excited by the discovery, they removed the old sign and started brainstorming ways to design their sign around the three diamonds. Matt, an architect by trade, used Photoshop to digitally build a mock-up of the sign they envisioned.

Plasma Cut brown letters for outdoor sign in PEC shop

The brown color was selected from the Matthews Paint System.

Matt and Holli knew right where to turn to make their vision a reality. Holli is the sister-in-law of Pella Engraving Company Co-Owner Cory Vande Kieft.

“We got the mock-up, then chose a color from our Matthews Paint System that closely matched the color of the sign in Matt’s example,” said Cory. “This paint is specifically formulated for signage and performs really well in outdoors settings.”

Next, Co-Owner Jarid Purvis used the PEC plasma cutter to cut the 20-inch-high letters out of 1/8-inch-thick aluminum. He set the type to match the font from the mock-up. Once the letters were cut, he sanded them to remove imperfections and drilled holes for the stainless-steel screws that would secure the letters to the building.

Plasma cut brown letters for outdoor sign in PEC shop

The 20-inch-high letters were cut by the PEC plasma cutter to match the example.

“We painted the letters and the screws with the brown color we chose to match Matt’s example,” said Cory. “After that, we put on a clear coat to give the letters an added layer of protection from the weather. This coat also contains a UV inhibitor to help prevent fading.”

On a clear February morning—less than a week after Matt sent the Photoshopped mock-up to Pella Engraving—he installed the finished sign on the building with help from Toby Tyler, the dad of a Winterset Gymnastics athlete who was also very involved in the remodel of the new studio.

“If you’re looking for a sign I would definitely recommend working with Pella Engraving Company,” said Matt. “They were fast and easy to work with. The end product perfectly matches the vision we had.”

Gymnasts holding letters for new outdoor sign

Athletes from Winterset Gymnastics pose with the letters for the new sign.


Take a campus tour with the help of Pella Engraving

Stadium donor nameplates
 Soccer donors sign
 Douwstra Auditorium sign
 Dedication plaques
 Heritage Plaza cutout sign

Central College features many PEC plaques and signs

When most people visit a college campus, they don’t realize how much they rely on the many signs and plaques that guide them and keep them informed. Central College in Pella, Iowa, has turned to Pella Engraving Company many times for high-quality signs and plaques. Below are just some of these projects:

Soccer and baseball stadium donor nameplates
These Metalphoto® donor nameplates were installed with rivets by Pella Engraving Company. In addition to the plates in the soccer stadium pictured here, PEC also did plates for Central’s baseball stadium—over a hundred for each stadium. The Metalphoto process embeds the dye permanently into the pores of the aluminum, helping the plates endure longer in an outdoor stadium environment.

Central Dutch soccer donors sign
To thank their donors, Central asked PEC to create this customizable zinc sign. The foundation of the sign is one 23” x 35” piece of zinc—the visible silver portions are the natural color of the metal, while the rest is painted. As more donors contribute, PEC will engrave nameplates that can be mounted on top of the remaining silver rectangles. The pillars to display the sign were specially made by Pella Engraving.

Douwstra Auditorium sign
At 6” tall, the letters in this sign create a striking impression. The ¼” thick acrylic letters were cut out on PEC’s laser engraver, then painted. Because Central wanted the paint to match the color of the lighting fixture mounted on wall above, Pella Engraving reached out to the lighting company to obtain a sample. For this job, PEC mounted the letters to the wall with adhesive. If a customer wants to mount cutout letters themselves, PEC can create a printed paper template for $15 to show where the studs should go, ensuring the proper spacing between letters.

Bronze memorial plaque
This memorial plaque for Dr. Maxine Huffman was created with bronze casting, so the raised areas have a natural, classic bronze coloring. The plaque size is 16” x 24”.

Heritage Plaza dedication plaques
Because these plaques were to be mounted on concrete, PEC created specially made square stakes welded onto metal plates. Holes could then be drilled into the plates and concrete for screws. The plaques are bronze castings.

Heritage Plaza cutout sign
This sign created for the Heritage Plaza is more complicated than it first seems—to create a shadow effect, PEC cut out two sets of aluminum letters on the plasma cutter. The top set was left silver, while the bottom set was painted black. The letters were mounted with drilled and tapped studs.

You can view more photos of Pella Engraving plaques and signs at Central College on our Facebook page.

Products & Services

Plaques and Awards
From individuals, to schools, to businesses, Pella Engraving works with a wide range of customers… Read More…
Plaque Personalization Options
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Plaque Display Stakes
If you’re creating a plaque destined for exterior display, Pella Engraving Company manufactures high-quality outdoor display stakes… Read More…
Indoor and Outdoor Signs
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Nameplates, ID Tags, Serial Tags
Pella Engraving Company is a reliable supplier of engraved, UV-printed, and anodized metal ID tags… Read More…
Recognition and Donor Walls
Pella Engraving Company’s recognition and donor walls can be customized at every step… Read More…
Magnesium Dies
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CNC Routing and Plasma Cutting
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Sandcarved Awards
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Laser Engraving and Laser Marking
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UV Flatbed Printing
Add color to your plaques, awards, and other products with Pella Engraving’s flatbed UV printer. Read More…