Founded in a garage
Signs & Lines by Stretch was born in a garage, like countless other businesses. It was the late 1970's and Mark “Stretch” Wenzel was an artist in the making. He just wasn’t sure how to turn his talent into a career. He talked to his wife, Peggy about learning the sign business. He took a job in a local sign shop, where he learned and thought about his future.
Rooted in pinstriping and painting
He left the sign shop for a job as a truck driver at WisPak Transport, which offered better hours. In his spare time, he hand-painted and pinstriped vehicles to satisfy his artistic side. The more vehicles he painted, the more requests he received. Before long, most of his fellow WisPak drivers had their vehicles hand-painted by Stretch. He continued painting for several years, and the desire to open a shop of his own kept growing. In June 1984 Signs & Lines by Stretch was established – in their garage. At the time, Stretch and Peggy had an infant son, Brian. Three years later their second son, Eric was born.
Growing The Business
They outgrew the garage and leased a small building on Wilmont Avenue in Waukesha. They quickly outgrew that space, and leased another building on West Avenue, just down the street. This building had a bay large enough for trucks. The business kept growing, and eventually they bought a large lot on Rockwood Circle. They built the building that we’re in today, though it was much smaller back then! They rented a portion of the building to help with the overhead expenses. They hired their first employee, Ann in 1993. A year later, they hired Ann’s sister, Patty. Both Ann and Patty work in our Design Department to this day!
Family Owned and Operated
Their sons Brian and Eric grew up at Signs & Lines, at first roller skating through the bays, then cleaning and stripping vinyl from vehicles. Eventually they started to learn the art of installing graphics. Brian now lives in Colorado with his family and has his own graphic installation business. Eric is our Production Manager, leading the installation teams and learning about all aspects of the business.
The building has expanded multiple times over the years to accommodate our growth. We now have 20 employees, four installation bays, four digital printers, a flat bed printer and multiple cut vinyl machines. Our fleet includes a 43’ crane truck, a 28’ bucket truck, a cube truck, and various lifts that we utilize for installations.
Built for your 21st Century Needs
Gone are the days when owner-operators would sit and drink coffee while their graphics were being produced and installed. Today’s fast-paced world demands good communication, a quick mind and dedication to customer service. Stretch still leads our family of employees, and trusts us to maintain the strong reputation that he built for this company. Signs & Lines by Stretch is his business, his gift, his legacy.