“You never know who is going to walk through the door. You want to pay attention to everyone,” says Jeff Hoer, owner of Identity Sign Builders.
Hoer and employee Keenan Biermann have been serving the Newport News area and beyond with their dedicated and excellent service since opening Identity Sign Builders in 2004. Hoer has been running the business for 14 years with the help of Biermann since 2015. Before venturing out on his own, Hoer worked for a variety of other companies in the industry, starting straight out of college in 1984.
“I’ve seen the industry change two or three times, so I’m very familiar with the companies in the area and abroad,” Hoer says as he speaks about his experience working with customers in Newport News and throughout Virginia. Having worked within the industry for 34 years, Hoer knows city codes like the back of his hand.
“I’m learning from the master,” says Biermann of Hoer. “He has a lot of experience and he’s showing me the tricks of the trade. I’m trying to take it all in.” Much like Hoer, Biermann enjoyed art and found himself within the industry when the two men met in 2015. He says he has been along for the ride ever since and feels he’s in a great environment to learn.
Hoer expressed his apprecation for his customers and the businesses he has developed within the area, “I’ve grown with the companies that grow around me,” he says. “Companies have helped me for years and I’ve grown with them through their ups and downs.”
The signage industry is far from boring, largely due to the constant change and fluctuation in demand. “I have a lot of corporate accounts, as well as working with contractors and developers. I also work a lot with neighborhoods and shopping malls. You’ve got to like what you do,” Hoer says. “I look forward to coming in to work.”
Hoer reflects on past projects, saying “I’ve done a lot in Port Warwick. People come and go, businesses are transient. I’ve changed their signs and developed a relationship with them.”
Identity Sign Builders works with the customer every step of the way, starting from providing designs to seeing the project come to life. “It’s a combination of working with those who have a set mind and those who don’t,” Hoer says. Biermann adds that it can be a difficult and tedious job because “you also have to work with the cities and policies to get everything done.”
Although it can be a challenge in such an open-ended industry, Hoer says he will work anywhere and everywhere. “I’m very experienced at project facilitation. From permitting to contracting, to getting the actual projects done in time. You never want to be late. If anything, you want to be a month early,” he adds. With this broad-based approach, Biermann says, “It’s important to be willing to wear many hats.”
More than anything, Hoer values his customers and their needs. “I think our uniqueness is our commitment to our customers. Our predominate customers have high expectations, and I try to always exceed them. It is customer relations, 100 percent, that sets this company apart from other sign companies,” Hoer says. “My customers are my bosses. I would like to see them succeed, because when they succeed, I succeed. I want to continue developing working relationships with them.”
Although Hoer and Biermann love their work, outside of the company their lives are just as vibrant. “I like to fish, freshwater fishing mostly.” Hoer says. “I’ve been doing that since I was old enough to hold a fishing rod.” Biermann is less keen on fishing and prefers a variety of activities almost as broad as his job including golf, snowboarding, kickball and bowling.
After reminiscing about some of his favorite projects, Hoer emphasizes his gratitude for his loyal, caring customers. “I’ve been really fortunate to have this customer base. Listening to your customers and exceeding their expectations is the key point in this business, no matter what.”
TO THE POINT:
Identity Sign Builders, Inc.
Address: 11761 Canon Blvd., Ste. L, Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Jeff M. Hoer, president