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United Sign & Trimline

Maritime Resilience is a series of stories on how local organizations are adapting to COVID-19.

As coronavirus spread quickly across North America small businesses everywhere have been devastated. Dartmouth’s United Signs and Trimline was no different and within a few short days virtually all of their work had canceled or indefinitely delayed.

Without any new work coming through the door, owner, the leadership team had to make the extremely difficult decision to lay off 14 dedicated staff, many of whom had been with the company for over 20 years. The remaining staff of four knew they had to pivot to survive.

After speaking with a fellow entrepreneur, Greg Whynot, Symes realized his business already had the tools needed to produce protective face shields. Within a week the team at United Signs went from a less than ideal prototype to a best in class shield that could be worn by frontline leaders in the fight against COVID-19.
With no shortage of grit, the team at United Signs continues to work day and night to get 10, 000 shields off the line to those leading the fight under the New Brunswick Government. Head of Improvement, Jonathan Kummer sourced enough elastic bands from local Nova Scotia craft shops to begin producing the shields
In their pivot, United Signs has uncovered tremendous opportunity; providing frontline leaders with best in class PPE, hiring back four employees and sourcing materials from small Nova Scotian businesses.

“This is a true Atlantic Canadian success story — the idea that a small business can access its networks to produce vital equipment for healthcare workers here in the region and beyond. Atlantic Canadians are especially good at banding together under pressure and finding new ways to do more with less,

If there’s one lesson we can take from this, it’s that anything is possible when you have a dedicated team, endless determination and the ingenuity to make a difference, even during a crisis.”

– Matt Symes, President

While the change in business is crucial, it is not permanent. There is enough material to make 60,000 shields and United is working to secure a supply chain. The next steps are in the direction of safety signage for the workplace; visual cues will play a crucial role in maintaining social distancing, and keeping everyone a little safer as we work to reignite our economic engine.
“Until there is a vaccine, we will all live with the potential spread of the virus. We can help make every workplace safer. I hope people remember us as the little sign shop that could as we play a central role in their efforts to get back on their feet.”

– Jonathan Kummer, Organizational Designer

United Sign is continuing to assemble protective face shields. They also offer signage that can help keep your business running by informing stakeholders of physical distancing rules. 

Visit their website to place an order and learn more about their services. 

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