Ken White Signs 'Through the Decades'

Kenneth William White and wife, Jean with their three sons - Chris, Simon, and, Ben

May 17, 2017

Ken White Signs, a high-quality sign making company, is celebrating its 50-year in business by giving back to the local community! As part of the golden milestone, the well-known, Devon-based family-run company is offering an array of FREE bespoke marketing material, to support many local charities, independent retailers and schools.

Ken White and his late wife Jean, started Ken White Signs (KWS) in 1967 in their home town of Tiverton. Their first contract was for Tiverton Golf Club, and golf has continued to be Ken’s passion. A keen artist, Ken is revered as one of the most skilled, traditional sign writers in the South of England, and although now retired, can still be seen hand-painting local signs.

A real family affair, Ken’s three sons all joined the business! Technical Director Chris, Ken’s eldest, started with KWS in 1987 and has vast experience in the print industry. Middle son, Operations Director Simon, joined straight from school in 1986. Overseeing the running of the workshop, carrying out fitting and installation he loves to get his hands dirty! The youngest Ben – Sales & Finance Director, joined in 1992, gaining a wealth of experience in all aspects of the business.

Through the decades:

Swinging '60's:

· On the 22nd September 1967 - Ken White Signs was established by Kenneth William White and his wife Jean from their family home in Tiverton. The young sweethearts got married in the same year!

· Ken’s first job was at the Tiverton Golf Club updating the Honours Boards for the first time – the start of a long and close working relationship which continues to this day.

· Taunton Meat Haulage (now named Langdon Industries) was the first big client for the company and still a valued KWS customer today – half a century on.

· The couple’s first born was their son Chris White who was delivered safe and well on 16th March 1968. Chris joined the business in 1987 and today is the Technical Director.

The rocking '70's:

· During the 1970’s Ken White Signs moved in to their first premises, located in in Whitton Yard, Cullompton.

· Ken continued to grow the business within the commercial sector and this included gaining Taunton Cider as one of their biggest clients at the time.

· On 11th June 1970, Jean gave birth to their second son Simon. The middle son, Simon joined the family-business straight from school in 1986 and is the Operations Director.

· On 10th October 1974 Ken and Jean welcomed their third child Ben, into the world who completed the family. The youngest son, Ben is the Sales & Finance Director and joined KWS in 1992.

The glamorous '80's:

· In the 1980’s Ken decided to take the plunge to embrace the computer technology age within the signage industry. He made a major investment in the first self-adhesive graphic machine on the market.

· Within this same period, the family business expanded with the introduction of Ken and Jean’s two eldest sons, Chris and Simon joining the company. Since that time, Chris has gained vast experience in the print industry, and Simon oversees the running of the workshop as well as installation and fitting.

· An important move back to Kennedy Way Tiverton took place in the mid - ‘80’s. This then became the KWS base for more than 25 years.

The 1990's - the final decade of the first century:

· In the early ‘90’s, Ken and Jean’s youngest son Ben joined KWS, completing the family-run company. Since that time, Ben has gained a wealth of experience in all aspects of the business.

· During the ‘90’s Ken White Signs expanded its client base, including two prestigious and blue-chip clients – The Body Shop and Christies Auctioneers, a British auction house founded in 1766.

· Further expansion included the engagement of Mark Lane and Shane Mears in 1997 and 1998 respectively to the team who are both still key members of the workforce today.

The Millennium:

· Constantly reinventing themselves, Ken White Signs entered in to a very exciting and new marketplace at the turn of the century, with the launch of a product range specific for golf courses.

· Par for the course, the Devon-based company soon gained an excellent reputation in designing and installing golf signage to many high-profile golf course clients across the UK and Europe. This included well-respected Gleneagles and St Andrews in Scotland. KWS provides a vast range of products finished to the very high standards from quality materials. Working with hardwood, softwood, aluminium, stainless steel, granite, real and re-constituted stone, acrylics, zinc, cast bronze and much, much more.

· The St Andrews, Gleneagles, Trump International, Turnberry, The K Club, PGA National (Ireland), PGA Catalunya (Spain) – are just a few of the many golf clubs that have benefitted from Ken White Signs’ expertise.

· In addition to golf signage, KWS entered in to a more corporate arena, working alongside some great design partners. This enabled the pioneering company to work on many interpretational and historical projects country wide.

· In 2004 and 2006 respectively, Angie Dunn and Stewart Piper joined the team – expanding on the long-term and loyal employees who are still part of today’s workforce of 8 members.

The 2010's brings us up-to-date on the last half-century of Ken White Signs in business:

· The last decade has been a very exciting period of reflection and growth, including a move to new premises at Halsgrove Units in Tiverton.

· In 2016, KWS made a substantial investment in state-of-the-art technology with cutting-edge printing equipment, which has enabled the company to increase its capabilities as a leading manufacturing business.

· KWS continued to extend its wide customer base, including many projects for Trump International in Scotland and Ireland, Imagemakers, Relyon and, Devonshire Homes. KWS also has an exclusive partnership with Progame Golf, who offer corporate golf sponsorship packages.

· In 2017, the company as part of its 50th year celebrations, has launched a new bespoke product range to the golf marketplace. The new Totem style golf tee signage products – a unique range of products like no other currently within the marketplace, includes the Kensington Totem tee sign – the slick shaped style product enables it to fit smoothly into any golf course skyline.

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