A sign to stay
Published 1:25 pm Sunday, September 24, 2023
BROOKHAVEN — COVID and a new sign company is what kept Chris Kennedy in Brookhaven. Kennedy owns Titan Signs and Wraps at 1531 Industrial Park Road close to where The Dart landed Thursday
He was raised in Fair Oak Springs out towards Harmony in eastern Lincoln County and attended Brookhaven High School. He went to Southern Mississippi where he earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture before earning a masters at the University of Tennessee in architecture.
His first job out of college was working as an architectural consultant for a signage company and things naturally progressed to where he is today. Layoffs were common in Knoxville but he usually found work as he moved around from signage company to signage company.
Kennedy and his wife had kids and decided to move home. He worked with signage companies in Jackson before taking a job at Select Signs in Brookhaven. The leap to start his own business began on January 3, 2022.
“We hit the ground running and have not slowed since,” Kennedy said. “My dad was in general construction. We built houses and I got a lot of my blue collar side from him. I liked the concepts of architecture but I didn’t like the atmosphere. It is a white collar job and you end up being stuck behind a desk. It gets you down if you aren’t made for it. In signs and wraps, it is something new every day. Constantly evolving from job to job. You are always creating something new.”
He said trying to capture and keep the attention of potential customers is increasingly more of a challenge as people become desensitized. Kennedy likes the psychology in sign making. It is similar to how architecture subtly draws attention.
His creative perspective is thinking about the impact the sign will have on the person seeing it. Signs are supposed to grab the attention of the public and he tries his best to do so. Kennedy is involved in the production of his signs. As an owner, he has other responsibilities such as taking into account the payroll, purchasing supplies and supplying cokes for the fridge in the break room. The job is more than a typical nine to five role.
Signs are one creative side of the business and his custom wraps for cars are also attention grabbers. One may have seen his wife’s Cadillac driving around town with lime green trim, matte black paint and a cheshire cat on the front of it.
“We had a coworker here who said we should do it and trim it with green colors and the car has just evolved from that,” Kennedy said. “It is a shock value. My wife’s name is Alice so Alice in Wonderland is the theme there.”
Most of the wrap work the shop does is for advertising purposes. Real estate agents, fire extinguisher suppliers, pest control and others use the wraps to advertise their businesses. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Brookhaven Police Departments also use Titan Signs and Wraps for their vehicles.
“We have ideas for everyone,” Kennedy said.
In his freetime, Kennedy tries to make the most of his time with family away from the shop. His son recently got into Robotics and goes to By Faith Academy while his daughter plays soccer and softball and goes to Alexander Junior High.
His life has turned into something he never expected to become. Looking back, Kennedy said he was kind of aiming for this path without knowing it and he would not change a thing.
He thought he would be in Knoxville just for school but he spent 10 years there. The Kennedys still have friends in Knoxville and were going to move back up there a few years ago.
“We took some seasonal stuff up there thinking it would help us in the moving process. On the way back, everyone started stockpiling toilet paper because COVID hit. I thought ‘what now?’ We were stuck indoors. It was our sign to stay here and stick it out and it worked out. You never know what life will bring you.”