Made in Michigan: Signs by Crannie

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FLINT TWP (WJRT) - (05/27/17) - It's a 50,000 square foot facility near Bishop Airport in Flint Township, that at times, sounds about as loud as an airplane during takeoff.

"Grinding and sanding, and welding, CNC machines. Rock'n and rolling everyday. It's amazing what does go on here," said Dan Crannie, owner of Signs by Crannie.

For 32 years, Signs by Crannie has been manufacturing thousands upon thousands of giant signs and digital boards, all designed to help retail businesses and restaurants attract attention and build their brands.

"We have customers all over the country. Venezuela, Portugal, Brazil, Russia, signs all over the planet," said Crannie.

Those signs feature plenty of names you know.

"Applebees, Firehouse Subs, Pet Supplies Plus, we do them all over," Crannie.

Closer to home, the work of Crannie's crew can be seen all over Mid-Michigan.

"The sign for the Vehicle City that you see on the news everyday, the Farmers Market, the Capital Theater, the big Flint sign in the flat lot, all of those were built here at Signs by Crannie," said Crannie.

What began in a small Flint garage has evolved into one of the largest commercial sign making companies in all of North America.

"We've grown from 1985, a one man sign shop to nearly 50 people here now. They're all really skilled-trade craftsman. They're really great at what they do," said Crannie.

In recent years, Signs by Crannie has grown it's reach beyond stand alone store fronts.

"We're doing shopping centers across the country. We do the way finding and main identity signing. These signs are going to Virginia. They identify the tenants," said Crannie.

Those Made in Flint markers have also made their way into several sports and entertainment venues.

"Michigan State at the Breslin Center, we've done the Boston Red Sox spring training home in Florida, the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, we've worked with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, as well as the Lions when they were at the Silverdome," said Crannie.

Speaking of high profile projects, the business has an agreement in place to provide signage for the parking structures at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit.

"It's a big deal. It's a million dollar plus contract just to do their parking garages. It's pretty exciting," said Crannie.

As for the future, with the economy and new construction on the upswing, Signs by Crannie anticipates more expansion, meaning more jobs, and despite the cost, a commitment to manufacturing not just in America, but in Michigan as well.

"It would be cheaper to out-source a lot of our product, but we take pride in keeping people working in Flint. As long as I'm in business, I can't see our philosophy changing. We want to build it in Flint," said Crannie.

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