Poblocki Sign Company, LLC began as a creator of one-of-kind movie marquees in 1932. Over eight decades, we’ve seen our industry affected by wars, economics and trends. But we’ve also seen new technologies turn dreams into realities. We’ve seen colors, lights and LED displays turn a simple sign into a landmark on a city’s landscape.
Of course, 80 years will ring in a lot of changes for any industry, but for us, the one thing that hasn’t changed is our personal attention to each customer and each project. Attention that makes a statement and makes your space or business come to an expressive life.We’ve built a company that has the experience, skill and creativity to produce signage that people will remember for everything from museums and airports to corporate buildings, universities and hospitals.
1895 Ben Poblocki was born in Stevens Point, Wis., and was the only son of Polish immigrants.
POBLOCKI HISTORICAL TIMELINE
1910 At age 15, Ben Poblocki became a railroad electrician and also played semi-professional football and baseball.
1917 Ben Poblocki married and during the next 14 years welcomes six children, all boys – Ed, Ray, Barney, Jerry, Jim and Bill – who would each eventually work for the company.
1928 Ben enters the sign business, holding the electrical license at Everbrite.
1932 Ben Poblocki leaves Everbrite to start his own company which he named Electrolite Signs, Inc., which was later changed to Ben Poblocki & Sons, then to Poblocki & Sons which lasted until 2005 when the name was changed to Poblocki Sign Company.
1932-1941 The company predominantly focuses on manufacturing theater marquees and poster cases, completing more than half of all theater jobs in Wisconsin.
1941 All sign manufacturing ended on Dec. 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Since all steel was allocated to the war effort, Poblocki manufactured theater chairs for the military.
1945 At the end of World War II the company resumed manufacturing signs. During the next five years the company expanded the theater business to include the entire Midwest.
1946 Plastics are introduced to the sign industry. Poblocki’s first plastic sign was for the Spin & Span dry cleaning company.
1947 The first sign cranes were invented, reaching heights of 35 feet. Before these, all signs were installed using the block and tackle method.
1951 The popularity of the television brought the theater business to a standstill. Poblocki focused on metal manufacturing, making the motor housing for the Louis-Allis Company.
1953 Poblocki manufactures the scoreboard for Major League Baseball team the Braves when they moved from Boston to Milwaukee.
1955 Poblocki once again changed directions, shifting focus from metal manufacturing back to signage. The company put all efforts into making signs for banks, saving and loans, and other financial institutions.
1956 Poblocki begins to fabricate signs for a new fast food chain called McDonald’s stretching from Wisconsin to Florida. McDonald’s was growing so fast that it eventually became a volume production account. Poblocki stepped away from the account in the early 1960s to focus on quality signage.
1958 Poblocki moved from 2159 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. to a larger building located on 32nd and West Pierce Streets.
1960 Along with manufacturing commercial signs, Poblocki did a large amount of installation business over the next 20 years; working with companies like Cummings and Plastiline, who manufactured signs for Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.
Ben Poblocki retired from the company, leaving the daily operations and stock to each of his six sons.
1966 Ford introduced their new identification program.
1969 General Motors introduces their new identification program. Combined GM and Ford had more than 30,000 dealerships that all needed at least five new signs per location.
1970 Poblocki partners with Target Corporation. At the time they took the account, Target was opening four stores per year, whereas presently, they do around 100 or more.
1972 Poblocki begins to do large signage programs for the health care industry.
1981 Jerry Poblocki buys the business from his brothers. He was not ready to retire and his son Mark helped him handle sales.
1982 Poblocki purchases one of the first CNC routers in the country to help with the half million dollar Washington University Hospital signage project in St. Louis.
1985 With the new router Poblocki was able to take on larger orders and make faster deliveries. With the new technology Poblocki did sign programs for medical facilities in virtually every state.
1988 Poblocki enters the interior sign business and opens a separate plant located in Wauwatosa, Wis. This allowed Poblocki to be a full-service sign company and compete on the nation’s largest jobs.
1990 Computers were introduced to the sign industry, allowing engineers to save countless hours drafting plans.
1993 The company grew to a point where the South First Street location was too small and purchased property on which the company currently resides.
1995 Poblocki moved to the new location at 922 S. 70th St., in West Allis, Wis., combining the interior and exterior business by building a state-of-the-art 110,000 square-foot facility.
1999 Dave Drury became new owner/president of Poblocki & Sons.
2000 Poblocki.com goes live.
2001 Letter manufacturing machine for aluminum letters is invented, enabling faster production.
Poblocki manufactures its biggest project to date – Milwaukee’s Miller Park baseball stadium. The project opens doors to the sports and entertainment market.
2002 Poblocki manufactures the signage for the Lambeau Field renovation. Like Miller Park, the project consists of both interior and exterior signage.
2003 Poblocki manufactures signage for the Soldier Field renovation.
2004 LED lighting is introduced to the sign industry allowing for a brighter, longer-lasting illumination system.
2005 Poblocki takes on a new logo and new name. Poblocki Sign Company helps set the company apart from the related Poblocki Paving.
2007 Poblocki celebrates their 75th year in business. After overcoming nearly every type of signage challenge, the company announced its new brand efforts headlined by the slogan “Challenge Us.”
2012 Jerry Poblocki announces his retirement from his position as president of the Poblocki Board of Directors.