Best Practices for Decommissioning Signs for Store Closings

By: Enterprise Signs


When a single store closes and your Brand signs need to be removed, you may call a local sign company to have it taken down. However, when you have to close dozens or hundreds of stores across a wide geographical footprint in a short period of time, well that is just a different story altogether.

As the Covid-19 crisis continues, many companies are making very difficult decisions about how they will reopen, or whether they’ll reopen at all. The pandemic has forced many multi-site operators to rethink their strategic plans. Companies that thought they had years to implement turnaround plans are closing some or all of their stores.

Decommissioning involves much more than just calling a GC or handyman to “unscrew signs from the building” or dig up ground signs.

Consider This When Decommissioning Signs:

1. Hazards ahead– many signs contain hazardous materials so handling and disposal are regulated by the U.S. EPA. For example, neon and fluorescent tubes may contain mercury, which is highly toxic.  Local and state regulations also apply.

2. Execution– a regional or nationwide de-branding program will involve a lot of planning, coordination, and execution. Your national sign partner should have the experience and capabilities to manage the program on your behalf.

3. Budget– there may be significant economies for leveraging a national partner who can leverage local relationships to make “milk runs” across a certain footprint of stores. You want to take advantage of those economies since they directly impact your budget at a time when you can’t afford to waste money.

4. Repairs– wall signs and channel letters are anchored to the building or fascia. Each sign may have several, or even dozens of, wall penetrations that must be caulked and possibly painted, depending on lease agreements.

5. Safety– last and certainly not least, illuminated brand signs run from 12 volts for LED’s up to 15,000 volts for neon. A licensed electrician may be required to cap-off existing electrical and make it safe.

Closing stores is stressful and there are a lot of logistics involved with HR issues, inventory, landlord & lease negotiations, public relations, and the list goes on.  De-branding should be managed by your national signage partner so that you can devote your time and energy to other pressing issues.