Austine Groves is one of those people who seem to be able to do it all.
He runs a landscaping business. He can repair mowers and tractors. He does remodeling construction projects. He welds.
So why not make signs as well?
While he was laid up for about a year with an illness, Groves decided he could do that, too.
So he opened AB Signs & Banners in Slater.
Groves is in fine health again and has moved the business to Sedalia, where he opened in March.
AB Signs is named after the initials of Austine, and his wife, Bobbie. The couple live in Slater but plan to move to Sedalia this year.
He’s operating out of a leased building on East 12th Street that in previous times housed a body shop, an upholstery shop and a flower business. In it is the landscaping business, called Groves Lawn & Home.
And how is the sign business doing?
“Surprisingly, good, and I haven’t advertised yet,” Groves said in an interview last week.
He makes conventional signs, banners and stickers, including magnetic ones.
“We can make custom sizes, five-feet tall or whatever it needs to be,” he said.
Most of the work uses vinyl letters. The letters are then cut out and applied to various materials, depending on the customer’s needs.
Groves said he’s flexible about the work. Though customers will have suggestions, he offers guidance and does a lot of the design work himself.
“I like computers. For the most part, I just jump in and things work out.”
If the vinyl won’t work, Groves showed a sign he’d made carved out of wood. And though he’s not keen on it, he said he could do hand lettering.
One thing he does not do is create illuminated signs or electronic billboards. “I don’t have the ladders for that sort of work,” he said.
When he’s not working on signs, there’s always the lawn care business. “We do a lot of mowing, remodeling, landscaping,” he said. “I can do whatever someone needs for lawn maintenance.”
He added: “I like to be outside, brush hogging. I really like the tractors and stuff.”
One of the tractors he’s especially proud of is a 1954 Ford tractor, which he’s worked on and uses.
Groves said he’s looking forward to moving to Sedalia. He grew up in the Smithton area but graduated from high school in Alma. Bobbie is a native of Washington state.
She handles some of the office work, including answering the phone. She cuts out the vinyl letters for some signs and calls on customers.
Austine keeps the books, though.
“He’s more of the numbers man than I am,” Bobbie said.