The Story Behind Chico Creek Signs
Chico Creek Signs is a small business run by a father and son team and family in Chico, CA. I'm a long time educator with over 30 years as a high school teacher and administrator and my son, Mike recently completed several years in the Marine Corps.
In the summer of 2014, my wife and I took my aging parents on a cross country road trip to visit their hometowns in the Midwest. They were getting up in years and wanted to take one last trip home before they couldn't travel anymore. We followed Route 66 from California up until it turned North and then we headed toward Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
All of us have an interest in antiques and collectibles so all along the way we stopped at antique malls and flea markets where ever we found them. I noticed lots of old original advertising signs, a lot of oil and gas signs, and other original porcelain signs, which I really liked. I remember seeing a lot of them around when I was a kid.
We discovered a barn on an Amish farm in Ohio. It was what Mike and Frank on the American Pickers show would call a honey hole, or at least I thought it was. It was packed from floor to ceiling and wall to wall with original porcelain and enamel signs and other old antiques and collectables. It turned out the guy who owned it wasn't even Amish. He was from New York and just wanted to get out of the city so he bought a farm in Ohio and moved.
He had a lot of very cool original signs and I really wanted to buy a couple for my garage back home. Unfortunately, I live on a teacher's salary. I gulped when I was told what the price was for that large Coca Cola sign or the Mail Pouch Tobacco sign that I was interested in buying. Instead of spending many hundreds of dollars on a sign, I left with a small Coca Cola clock to take home.
But that visit got me thinking that there are probably a lot of people out there who would really like some of these old collectible signs, but like me, can't afford the high prices that collectors pay for these original pieces. I started wondering if there was a market for lower cost reproductions of these expensive original signs, something that was more in line with what I and others like me could afford. Soon after returning from our cross country trip, Chico Creek Signs was born.
Shortly after returning from our trip, I began selling reproduction signs on several online marketplaces and soon started working on my own website. For the next year, I continued researching the old signs and kept growing the inventory I had online. I was retailing reproductions of old advertising signs and man cave decor. These were signs that looked a lot like the originals but in most cases, were smaller and a lot less expensive. In short, they were perfect for the person who wanted to buy signs to decorate their home, garage, game room, office, dorm room or wherever they wanted to display these unique reproduction signs, but didn't want to or couldn't afford to spend a fortune on the originals.
Becoming a Family Business
A year later, my son Michael moved back to California and joined me in the business. Mike had recently finished six years in the Marines and after managing a restaurant and bar in Portland for three years, decided to move back to Northern California and join me in the business.
A few months later, we started looking into ways of making our own signs. I'm a former industrial technology teacher so working around wood and metal comes pretty easy to me and Mike has always been pretty handy and likes tinkering with tools and figuring out how things work and how to do things. We already had some of the equipment we needed and we purchased quite a bit more to get us started making our own signs. We wanted to control the production of our signs so we could customize and make what we wanted to and also make certain that the quality was at the level we wanted for the signs we provided to our customers.
Now that we have a line of our very own signs that we make ourselves. Chico Creek Signs, named after our hometown of Chico, designs and manufactures all of the signs you see on this website and we're adding more signs every day, many of which can be personalized with your own name. We also do a lot of custom work and we can personalize many of our signs.
We're working together to make Chico Creek Signs a destination where guys and gals from all over the world can find a great selection of vintage style signs for their home. If they don't find something they like, we can custom make many styles and sizes of signs and we can personalize many of them. From our retro decorated office and man cave warehouse and shop in Chico, CA, we work everyday to complete our mission of providing our customers a great product, at fair prices, with excellent customer service.
We're continuing to add to our knowledge base and to our ability to produce larger and more complex signs. We're buying some new equipment and working with some of our suppliers to increase our ability to offer more custom work and special shapes, something we haven't been able to do up until now. Gradually, we're building a business that we hope will stay in the family for many years.
Thanks for visiting us and if you're in the market for some cool retro vintage style products or you'd like some special custom project designed, we'd love to have a chance to earn your business. We won't let you down.
All the best,
Ben, Fran & Michael Anderson
Chico Creek Signs
"This guy is too good to be true ! fast response to questions about customization and even faster delivery . i hope i can do future business with him!
"Phenomenal job! Came fast and the recipient absolutely loved it. Thanks so much! - J. Lamonica
"It is so cool! Even better than expected! Fast shipping and packaged very well. Thank you for a great transaction! I will definitely be back!" -- P. Gaumer
"The sign came in quickly and was every bit as amazing as I could possibly have hoped. 10/10." -- B. Heichelbech
"Was exactly what I was looking for and my husband loved it!" -- Amanda
"Thank you for correcting a mistake and making sure the proper sign was delivered. I appreciate you’re making the situation right. The sign was adored!!" -- K. Nicotra
"Phenomenal job! Came fast and the recipient absolutely loved it. Thanks so much!" -- C. Burton