JB Signs gets message out in many ways
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Jim Straw, owner of JB Signs in New Holstein, holds up an eye catching new way of doing plaques—a lighted base illuminates the laser engraved image on a piece of acrylic.

In a nutshell, putting letters, words, art and graphics on just about anything is what Jim Straw does for a living.

That might sound rather general but, with additions of new equipment and services to his JB Signs business in recent years, they can get messages out on just about anything.

One of those key additions came late last fall with the purchase of a laser engraver. JB Signs can laser words and images onto wood, metal, plastics, leather products, and paper products.

Whether it is a promotional item for a business to give to its customers, or awards of recognition for sports leagues, organizations, schools, etc., JB Signs can do it. That includes plaques, pens, cups, mugs, trophies and more.

The laser engraver allows intricate, small designs to be made on a variety of mediums without losing any detail. “We put it in to add additional products to our services,” Straw said from his shop on Calumet Drive (STH 32/57) in New Holstein. “I’ve thought about the laser for many years. I’m also looking at other things.”

Change has been a constant

As is the case with most businesses, change has been a constant at JB Signs over the years—as it has been in the life of its owner. The 1964 graduate of Kiel High School went to school for mechanical engineering and then did a tool and die apprenticeship before going to work for Tecumseh Products Company in New Holstein.

While at Tecumseh, Straw started dabbling in photography. That part-time activity eventually led to full time, and photography was his career for five years—including doing some commercial work for area businesses. While doing photography he also picked up airbrush art, making some shirts for himself which caught the eye of people who wanted some for themselves. Straw

recalls painting shirts for customers in minus-30 Fweather at an event in Eagle

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