HISTORY OF CUERDEN SIGN COMPANY
Cuerden Sign Company was founded in 1920 by Henry Cuerden. Originally located for a short time at 609 Locust Street in Conway Arkansas, and then moved to 236 Locust Street in 1922. The company phone number was 52. Cuerden Sign Company painted metal and wooden signs for billboards. Billboards used to be installed along the railroad tracks in various locations throughout the state. In the 1930’s, Mr. Cuerden landed a major contract with a large advertising agency located in Cincinnati which made Cuerden Sign responsible for signs located along the railroad tracks and highway right-of-ways from New Orleans, Louisiana to Chicago, Illinois. Painted signs were the major trade for Cuerden Sign at this time.
In 1946, J.S. Burton joined the company after retiring from the military service. An electrician by trade, Mr. Burton introduced electric signs to Cuerden Sign Company. Neon signs were of course very big items of that day, and a number of large displays were constructed. In 1952, Emily Cuerden-Burton began work as Office Manager of Cuerden Sign.
In 1962, Cuerden Sign Company relocated from 236 Locust to 1330 McKay Street, approximately 500 feet north. A 65-by-80 building was constructed out of concrete block with a pre-stressed beam roof. The office area was approximately 125 square feet.
In 1965, Cuerden Sign purchased a two-way radio system and a tower to communicate with the trucks and in 1966 the company installed the tallest neon sign in Arkansas. A set of individual letters with exposed neon reading “SIGNS” was installed on the 125-foot tower located on the property. At this time, Cuerden Sign operated three crane trucks, one pick-up truck and one flat-bed truck. Additional offices, equaling about 100 square feet, were added in 1973. This allowed for the expansion of a bookkeeper’s office and an air conditioned art department.
A major expansion was initiated in 1987. Financing provided by a bond issue in 1988 allowed the construction of a new office building. The facility, located just west of the existing building, measured 45-by-90 and enclosed four offices, a conference room, a reception area and a production facility for the installation of a Cad-Cam router table manufactured by Cybermation of Boston. This Cad-Cam router has enabled Cuerden Sign to construct many different types of signs in a much more efficient manner. Two four-colored work stations and a plasma system were also added along with an extra 1600 square feet to the back of the main building for the fabrication of various oil company fuel signs.
During all of these expansions, Cuerden Sign has maintained an efficient fleet of trucks. This allows for maximum efficiency and the use of equipment inside the plant as well as outside service and installation crews. Committed to the future and the continuing growth of Arkansas, Cuerden Sign has embarked on a number of major advertising programs, including the name changes from Safeway to Harvest Foods, this project involved the initial design and engineering 8 different sign types for installation at over 50 different locations spread out over 4 states. The entire project was completed on time (within 90 days) and within budget!! The company has also taken on the duties of installation and price changers for large oil companies such as Texaco, Marathon Oil Company, Phillips 66, Loves and Delta.
In 1975, Jim Burton graduated and began working full time on the service trucks after gaining experience by working part time at the company the previous summer. He was eventually promoted from helper to serviceman and then to service manager. Jasper Burton, who had also worked at Cuerden during his summer vacations, earned his degree in accounting from the University of Central Arkansas at about the same time Jim was promoted to service manager. He then began working full time in the office as a salesman. In 1980, Jasper and Jim became stockholders and officers in the corporation. On January 1, 1991, Emily Burton suffered a major heart attack and passed away. The vice president and controller of the business for almost 40 years, was a tragic professional and personal loss for all of the family members and employees. In 1995, Sterling Burton, passed away after a short illness leaving the third generation to continue the business.
Today Jasper Burton Jr. is the President of Cuerden Sign Co., Inc. and is involved in all aspects of the company, including design and sales, as well as management. William Martin is the Operations Manager and is responsible for the day to day operations of the plant and installation crews.
Continuing the legacy of sign builders in the Burton Family; Michaela Burton is now involved in the business. Michaela aka, Kelli, is actively involved in the office helping in the purchasing and inventory department. Kelli graduated with an Associate Degree from University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, and plans to attend UCA next fall. In addition, Jasper S. Burton III, aka Jase is actively involved in the business; Jase operates the Cybermation Routing System, and the New Hermes Engraving System, as well as preparing sales artwork for production. Jase also plans to continue his education at UCA.
A reputation of providing quality products and reliable service is the goal of Cuerden Sign Company. By continuing good communication, training and support, the continued success of Cuerden Sign Company can be assured, but only with the employee’s enthusiastic involvement. Our employees are dedicated professionals, determined to continuously strive for delivering high quality products and services at a fair price.