Northtown Mall has been a retail fixture in the northeast Twin Cities metro area for over 35 years. Several years ago the mall was remodeled and new entrance monument signs were added around the property. These signs incorporated reverse channel neon letters. The neon in the letters worked well for a number of years. Recently the mall had noticed that the signs were not as bright as they once were and the maintenance costs to keep the signs lit was increasing steadily. Signcrafters was asked to come out and review the situation. It was determined the best solution would be to remove the neon and retro fit all of the signs to new energy efficient LED lighting. The signs used CAO Blaze white LED, which in conjunction with a rebate from the utility company and the elimination of maintenance issues allowed for a payback time of 2 years on the project. The result is a brighter sign that costs less to operate and reduces Northtown Mall’s carbon footprint. Contact us today if you would like to see how we can do the same for you.
Signcrafters recently installed the signage at Pinestripes Bowling and Bocce in Edina MN. Pinstripes is the latest concept to offer active entertainment along with a formal dining concept. Signcrafters installed the 3 different wall signs at the location using a variety of trucks and lift equipment. Read more about pinstripes in the article below from the Star Tribune.
Wine service at your lane? Halibut on the menu? A new Edina business takes bowling upscale.
By TOM HORGEN, Star Tribune
The look on owner Dale Schwartz’s face last Saturday night said it all.
I asked: Would he be upset if I called his place a bowling alley?
He stared, smirked and said, “We fight the stereotype.”
In other words: No, don’t call this place simply a bowling alley. Schwartz, a Chicago-based businessman, is the owner of Pinstripes, a 39,000-square-foot complex that opened last weekend in Edina. Located next to the Container Store off France Avenue S., it includes 16 high-end bowling lanes, six indoor bocce ball courts and a swanky Italian-American restaurant.
You’ll find no shaggy carpet here. No “Big Lebowski” types clad in polyester league shirts. Instead, the lanes are filled with dressed-to-impress bowlers waiting their turns on leather sofas as servers bring out trays of cocktails and crab cakes from the kitchen. A gutterball goes down easier when you have a nice bottle of white wine nestled in an ice bucket back at your table.
While this might raise an eyebrow in the Twin Cities — where neighborhood alleys like Elsie’s and Memory Lanes suit us just fine — the luxury bowling trend is nothing new in larger cities.
Some people point to the Lucky Strike chain as the forebear of the froufrou bowling revolution. Founded in 2003, the L.A.-based company has expanded nationwide with 19 locations, some of which are popular for celebrity sightings. (Yes, Kim Kardashian bowls.)
Bowling alleys have tried everything — twilight bowling! rock ‘n’ roll bowling! — to bring back the glory days of the 1960s and ’70s, when customers used to pack their hardwood lanes. Some Twin Cities bowling centers, such as Brunswick Zone and Pinz, are full-on entertainment venues with laser tag and arcades.
Places such as Pinstripes have basically brought the nightclub to the bowling alley. Patrons range in age from 25 to 50, with many dressed for a night on the town (daytime hours are family-friendly). This Pinstripes location is the third for Schwartz, who opened his first two in Chicago suburbs in 2007 and 2008. He expects future locations to generate between $7 million and $15 million annually. In Edina, Pinstripes is sprawled across two levels, each with glass windows that overlook Centennial Lakes Park. Upon entering, customers are greeted by a large, winding wrought-iron staircase and bocce courts.
Schwartz thought the addition of bocce ball would help separate his concept from other upscale bowling establishments. Like the bowling lanes, the green-felt bocce courts are located on both levels of the building. The bocce players on Saturday night seemed to be having the most fun — many of them crowded the courts with a ball in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Games cost $8 to $10 a person, a far cry from what you’ll pay at the Twin Cities’ other indoor bocce spot, Half Time Rec. Of course, that classic St. Paul dive doesn’t have dramatic lighting and soaring ceilings.
Beyond the gaming, Schwartz was most eager to talk about Pinstripes’ restaurant and bar. The look is typical of other chic suburban spots — as if Crave had attached itself to a bowling alley. The Italian-American menu will be familiar to foodies, but might prove a bit esoteric for bowling alley rats. The small plates and flatbreads range from $7 to $13 (stuffed mushrooms, tenderloin sliders, chicken and avocado flatbread). The pastas and entrees are priced at $12 to $23 (Italian jambalaya risotto and pine-nut-crusted halibut, for example).
Talking about the food on Saturday, Schwartz was still in corporate mode, repeating the company tagline with a chuckle: “Strikingly good food,” he would say.
With so many corporate headquarters nearby (Best Buy, Target, Cargill, etc.), Schwartz is hoping for a robust banquet business.
Bowling might be an indoor sport, but I’m guessing the summer months will be good to him, too. Pinstripes’ outdoor spaces, including a massive balcony, feature two fire pits and scenic views of the lake.
All this sounds great if you don’t mind paying a little extra to bowl in style. A couple of games on a Saturday night (plus shoes) will cost you $18. And that’s before drinks. Bowling purists will tell you that there’s something genuine and charming about patronizing your old-school, neighborhood bowling alley.
But as I sat on that slick leather sofa last Saturday night, sipping a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc and waiting my turn, I contemplated:
Even bowlers want to be spoiled, right?
firstname.lastname@example.org • 612-673-7909
Signcrafters has been creating, installing, and maintaining McDonald’s signage ever since the franchise giant came to the state. We have had a great history with McDonald’s and have just recently renovated 2 different locations. Golden Valley was need of new roof beams and Hutchinson remodeled their drive thru. Signcrafters worked with Everbrite, McDonalds national sign vendor, to meet these clients needs.
Surdyk’s has long been a Minneapolis institution for Wines Spirits and Cheese. When they decide to open their second location their idea took flight! They have opened a new wine market and bar with the finest wine, spirits and artisanal fare. Stop in and enjoy a drink or meal before or after you fly, or take a snack with you on the plane. Signcrafters fabricated and installed the unique and informative signage on the exterior and interior of the store. Next time you visit the airport, begin your trip with a relaxing stop by Surdyk’s Flights.
Movies today are bigger than ever and IMAX is making sure movie goers experience the full size and sound of these movies. AMC theatres is adding IMAX screens to several of their theaters around the country. Signcrafters was asked to install all of the AMC/IMAX signage in the Twin Cities, starting with Rosedale, then Southdale and most recently Eden Prairie Center. The IMAX signs use the distinctive blue lettering and are prominently displayed outside and inside the theatre. AMC continues to roll out its expansion of the IMAX to more theatres each month and Signcrafters looks froward to its continued partnership with AMC/IMAX!
Signcrafters fabricated and installed the signage at the new Scoops Kid Spa in the Mall of America. The design features an internally illuminated cabinet with digital graphics. The eye popping colors and fun graphics are sure to attract the attention of children and their parents. See below for more information.
First Avenue has been an icon in Minnesota music for over 40 years. With its national talent and local stars First Avenue has been the place for the music in the Twin Cities. The danceteria has always wanted a place for its customers to go before and after concerts, and with the addition of The Depot Tavern now that place has become a reality. With the opening of Target Field to the Warehouse District it was time to open up First Avenue’s latest addition and Signcrafters was happy to be chosen to fabricate and install The Depot’s eye catching neon projecting sign. The sign’s design is complimentary to the building architecture while still having enough “POP” to bring in the customers. Utilizing a combination of exposed neon and back lit graphics, the sign completes the storefront renovation. You can read more about The Depot Tavern and the First Avenue face lift below:
Posted by Tom Horgen
Last update: June 10, 2010 – 11:46 AM
Initial thoughts: there’s a lot to like. The general look of the spot is slicker than I thought it would be. You enter though two garage doors, which will stay open during the summer months. The dark wood bar is backed by a long row of tap beers. A dozen flat screen TVs hang throughout the joint. First Ave general manager Nate Kranz said they’ll be adding more band photos from the club soon.
A cool touch: A few of the smaller screens display a live feed to the Main Room and 7th St. Entry stages. This way you won’t be late for your favorite band. Even better: There’s a door that leads right into the Entry.
The menu is comfort food taken up a notch. There’s grilled portobello sliders, baked mac-and-cheese, an inside out burger. One item that’s been getting a lot of hype is the Diamond Dog, and rightfully so. The quarter-pound all-beef hot dog (wrapped in pepper bacon and deep fried on a pretzel bun) is everything you think it would be: tasty and intense.
The bar’s name is an ode to First Ave’s history as a bus depot (the club was originally called the Depot, too).
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. 17 N. 7th St., Mpls. www.first-avenue.com/thedepot.
Heartbreaker has been a premier women’s clothing company in the Twin Cities for several years. This year they decided it was time to venture into the mens clothing market. They found a great location in Shorewood across the street from one of their 3 women’s clothing stores and opened for business in May. They decided they would stick with theirtried and true name and simply change the color and add the mens tag. Signcrafters was asked to design the sign for this new venture and produce the sign that would become the face of Heartbreaker Mens. the sign is exposed neon in a teal green color that will let customers know this is not your sisters clothing store!
The Grainbelt Breweryerected a large billboard on Nicollet Island next to the Hennepin Avenue Bridge around 1940. For years, it flashed the letters in sequence (“G-R-A-I-N B-E-L-T BEER”). This sign still stands today as a local landmark. This iconic neon sign on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis has been dark for several years. In the past Signcrafters has restored the sign to its original glory. There is a new movement underway to relite the sign again. There will many hurdles to clear including financiang and city approval. Signcrafters has been in contact with the owners of the sign and is hopeful that we will once again be involved in the relighting of the landmark on the river. In the mean time read the article below from the Star Tribune and watch the video of the previous relighting.
An island that puts a premium on its iconic Grain Belt sign is debating a developer’s proposal for financing it into perpetuity.
• Chris Steller’s video of the recent spotlighting of the Grain Belt sign is available at www.tinyurl.com/y26yjhy
In the old days of the 1970s, back when a donkey still numbered among Nicollet Island’s residents, the island’s quasi-bohemian aura set it apart in a city where historical quaintness often has been scrubbed off the map.
Those days seem wilder and woollier than the proprietary attitudes about the island that have emerged more recently. Area residents failed in a long fight to halt construction of DeLaSalle High School’s small stadium, for example, but did manage to keep its turf real grass.
Now there’s another tussle brewing that’s turning out some residents who populate the island and some from the riverside housing developments that overlook the island.
Garfield Clark, who sells commercial real estate, last week came before the Nicollet Island-East Bank Neighborhood Association to explain a proposal he’s working on that involves the island’s iconic Grain Belt sign, which faces downtown beside the Hennepin Avenue bridge. He’s been listing for sale the sign and the property underneath it on behalf of the owners — heirs of the Eastman family that played a major role in developing the island.
Clark’s concept involves both renovating the historic sign, which was relit in 1989 but has been dark for years, and creating a flow of money to keep the sign maintained and pay the electric bill. It’s his idea for how to raise the latter money that’s creating the fuss.
Clark is discussing installing an electronic billboard on the back of the Grain Belt sign, pointing to a similar sign atop the Stimson building on Hennepin Avenue. This new sign would replace the seldom-used traditional billboard that backs the Grain Belt sign now. People living on the billboard side of the sign are objecting to the possibility of adding advertising in a historic district that’s in a national recreation area — an area recognized by the National Park Service.
A new retail development has opened in St. Louis Park Minnesota. This development, The West End, is a dynamic and thriving community of shops, restaurants, a movie theater and professional offices. Signcrafters has had a strong presence in the development of the area, including such locations as Crave, Ringo and Sauce. More stores are sure to follow as The West End continues to grow and develop into one of the most popular retail destinations in the Twin Cities. Signcrafters looks forward to being part of this continued growth.
For more information about the West End, click the link below