Sign spinners drive business to Burlington and beyond

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by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 29, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 29 at 5:54 PM

BURLINGTON, Wash. – Immediately following the Skagit River Bridge collapse, which detoured traffic away from Burlington, several businesses saw a huge drop in business.

At Mattress Depot USA sales were down about 40 percent –- until they got a business boost from a company that specializes in sign spinning.

The company, Creative Ads, posts employees on busy street corners with signs promoting various companies. But rather than just standing there holding the signs, employees spin them behind their backs and over their heads. It is complex choreography that grabs the attention of nearly everyone driving by.

“As soon as we got them out there, we saw a big increase in traffic,” said Joseph Stemm, a sales associate at the Mattress Depot USA in Burlington. “We always ask, ‘How did you hear about us?’ ... And almost all of them are saying it’s the sign spinners.”

The company did some sign spinning for Ashley Furniture, which benefited from the publicity, too.

Richard “The Spinja” Thesenga started Creative Ads a few years ago. After losing his job in machine operating, he got another job as a simple sign holder.

“The owner was mad there were no customers coming in,” he said. “She was complaining that the sign holders were not doing a good job, they were just standing there.”

That owner showed Thesenga some videos of sign spinners on YouTube, so he started practicing.

Today his professional spinners twirl ads for 13 businesses from Silverdale to Tukwila up to Skagit County.

“The stores are happy because you’re actually being productive,” Thesenga said.

When Interstate 5 closes again later this year to make room for the new permanent bridge over the Skagit River, Mattress Depot knows exactly how to tackle the problem:

“More sign spinners,” Stemm said with a laugh.

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