Editor's Note: On the Up and Up

Spring is in the air. Well, almost—in the case of NY weather. As I write this, we are still in the grips of winter weather and the now-hated “Arctic vortex,” but spring is just around the corner—at least according to the calendar. But while the mercury slowly rises in the thermometer, reports from the sign and graphics industry are certainly putting me in a much better mood and positive spirit.

As with every April issue, I have the opportunity to showcase some of the best companies in the sign and graphics industry in our annual Top Shops feature. This year’s group showed some nice increases—up more than eight percent on average—over last year’s revenue numbers. Shop owners were equally positive, looking at 2014 as an opportunity to grow their businesses again. Be sure to read the full feature (starting on page 10) to see what issues most concern these business owners and how they’re looking to continue to grow their market share. Hint: The words “Innovation” and “Collaboration” are two things shop owners highlighted that particularly stood out to me.

Just as we were going to print, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) released its year-end report for 2013. According to the OAAA, out-of-home (OOH) advertising revenue rose 4.2 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year, accounting for $6.9 billion. OOH revenue figures were up 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to 2012. The revenue increase marks the industry’s 15th consecutive quarter of growth.

Why is OOH on the rise? According to OAAA President & CEO Nancy Fletcher, OOH remains on a steady growth trajectory “because of its unique ability to connect, engage, and inspire consumers in an increasingly mobile and interactive marketplace.”

“The continuous expansion of digital platforms across OOH formats further enhances the ways in which OOH efficiently delivers the advertisers’ message to the consumer in today’s increasingly fragmented media environment,” said Stephen Freitas, OAAA chief marketing officer.

In light of these positive numbers, I’m certainly eager to see what the upcoming ISA International Sign Expo in Orlando will be like. From all of the products in our ISA Showstoppers Section (beginning on page 20), it looks like the show will be a great opportunity for the Top Shops—and everyone else in the industry—to expand their businesses with new printing devices, media, finishing equipment, and inks. Be sure to stop and say hello if you’re traveling to Orlando for the show. Our team will be there reporting on the news and new product debuts as they happen.

Safe travels!