Opening shop makes sense to signmaker
Posted: November 17, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — After 28 years of making hand-carved signs, furniture and folk art out of all manner of material, a Springfield native opened shop on the Loudoun Street Mall this week.
Brad Sensel, 50, owner of Sensel Signs, has been crafting uncommon items since leaving the Air Force nearly three decades ago.
Sensel said that, after serving in the military, he wanted to find a job in the art field where he could be his own boss. He had done some woodworking with his grandfather growing up and decided to make that his specialty.
While his main production facility is in Martinsburg, W.Va., Sensel wanted to open a store to do small woodworking and carving orders in Winchester because he likes the town.
“We decided to come down here because we like the area, we like what they’re doing with the downtown mall,” Sensel said Friday. “I think what we do will be a benefit, at least an option, for the companies down here. It seems like a very active downtown.”
He said the staff’s specialty is “traditional carved and gold leaf” signs, and that he and his fellow craftsmen can carve whatever type of material the project calls for, from wood to foam. The majority of his customers are retail, estate, museum and professional clients.
“If someone is looking for something special, if they want to be noticed, our job is to make the consumer pick your company first,” Sensel said, adding that a sign can form the first impression a customer has of a business.
Sensel’s business can receive from 10 to 20 orders for signs in a good month, with the time needed to complete one usually ranging from 10 to 15 days.
Production manager Thomas Davis has been with Sensel Signs for more than eight years. He said the company works to produce the highest-quality sign possible within a customer’s budget.
“We strive to give the client the best product we can possibly give them,” Davis said. “We don’t really worry about price until the customer does. We basically want to just give them whatever it is that’s going to make their business [stand out].”
Ryan Hall, manager at the Winchester store, has been with Sensel Signs for the past year. He also said having a unique sign can help a business or residence stand out.
Sensel Signs is at 130 N. Loudoun St., next to the post office, and can be contacted by calling 540-504-7191. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday and for special occasions. The business’s websites are senselinc.com and jbsensel.com.
— Contact Matt Armstrong at email@example.com