SAUK RAPIDS -- What started as a billboard company in 1956, Scenic Sign Corp. has since grown into a full-service sign company. The business is our next stop in our Thriving Local series.

Bob Gruber Jr. is the Director of Sales for Scenic Sign Corp. He says his family has deep roots in the business.

"My dad got a job here as an accountant right out of tech school."

Bob Gruber Sr. started working for the company in the 1970s and eventually became a co-owner.

"Within about a decade or so there was another salesperson by the name of Marc Ree and a guy by the name of Rich who owned the company. Rich sold it to my dad and Marc back in 1991."

What makes Scenic Sign unique is that it truly is a one-stop shop for signs. Gruber says the business starts with building all of their signs in their Sauk Rapids facility.

"You can come here, we can design your sign for free, you can take a tour of the facility, you can see how we're going to build it and you can see different options that other sign companies probably wouldn't show you. So we can spark that creative process and then we build it. If we build it, that also means we're going to put it up and we're going to service it."

They build a variety of signs, everything from non-lit small letters that can be used as office decor to 10 feet tall giant light-up letter signs for major companies.

Over the years lighting signs have changed from using neon to modern LED lights. Gruber says this change has been beneficial to them as a business but also their clients.

"What LED has done for us in terms of manufacturing has simplified the process as well as for the consumer. What might have cost $100 a month to run a sign on the front of your business today costs $8."

Also, machines have made the manufacturing process easier. What was once something only a person could do, such as cutting metal, is now something a machine can help with.

"From today to ten years ago we're probably 30-40% more efficient in building the signs than we were back then."

Scenic Sign makes most of the Coborn's and Cash Wise signs. In the Midwest, they make all of the Ashley Furniture signs. Although the company is based in the St. Cloud metro they do a lot of work throughout the country.

Throughout the years Scenic Sign Corp. has seen a lot of growth in their current facility. Gruber says if they wanted to grow more they would have to move.

"I can say today, we have no more room to grow here. This is as big as we get in this facility and we certainly are not looking to move."

Gruber said it, it looks like Scenic Sign Corp. is here to stay.

If you have a suggestion for a business that's thriving locally here in central Minnesota, let us know! Email chrissy@wjon.com