Signs lead to success: Pride Neon builds on decades of quality in evolving family-owned business

Jan. 26, 2021

This paid piece is sponsored by Pride Neon Sign Solutions.

 You’d expect a trip inside a sign company to reveal lots of signs.

And that’s the case at Pride Neon Sign Solutions, the Sioux Falls-based comprehensive sign business that has served the community and beyond for more than 70 years.

There are modern, cutting-edge, LED-lighted signs.

There are electronic message center signs.

And, of course, there are handcrafted neon signs.

The possibilities are limitless.  Anyone interested in doing business with Pride Neon is welcome to take a tour of the facility.

Look and listen closely, though, and it will become clear there are other signs within this family-owned business too.

Signs of innovation.

Signs of evolution.

Signs of outstanding service.

“It all comes down to focus,” said Bret Menke, a third-generation member of the family business who serves as vice president of sales.

“Quality and value were how my grandfather decided to build this company over 73 years ago – high-quality signs for a fair price. So we’ve put a lot of research, time and effort into making sure we’re doing everything first class and creating a positive customer experience.”

By guiding customers step by step through a uniquely designed custom sign experience, Pride Neon has built loyal relationships with community-minded business owners and leaders. Organizations from health care to retail trust the company to enhance their image and brand through signage that combines cutting-edge technology with the highest quality materials.

“The right sign in the right place at the right time is so important,” Bret Menke said. “They bring customers in, they serve as landmarks to help people navigate, and ultimately they create a brand and an image in the marketplace that tells a story.”

Building on success

Bret Menke’s grandfather, George Sr., bought the business – then called Pryde Signs – with his brother-in-law in 1947 and became the sole owner two years later, renaming it Pride Neon Signs.

George Menke and members of the original Pride Neon crew.

His sons, George Jr. – Bret’s father – Bob and Dick, all ultimately helped lead the business, specializing in different areas.

George Jr. has now retired, Bob’s retirement is planned for 2021, while Dick serves as president and CEO and is working on his own transition. Dick’s son, Dan, is vice president and chief financial officer. Bret’s brothers, Mitch and Nick, serve as vice president of operations and supply chain manager, respectively.

Second- and third-generation owners of Pride Neon.

“With the help of our advisers, our transition is going really well,” Dick Menke said. “We have a lot of trust, and a key part in a family business is communication. All the family members seem to be very committed and have a love for the business.”

The family also is committed to continually improving its operations.

“In recent months, we’ve embraced LEAN principles and processes and have really benefited,” Dick Menke continued. “We’ve done equipment updates, and the flow of the sign going through the shop floor has really improved. We’ve always had great quality, and that hasn’t gone down at all. The scheduling has improved, so the work is done more efficiently, and ultimately that adds value for the customer on multiple levels.”

The culture has changed too, Bret Menke added.

“You can see that out in the shop,” he said. “Everything is where it’s supposed to be, and it’s impressive when you walk through. It is clean and organized. It’s a different vibe, and it’s done wonders for our culture and our employees’ engagement. You can feel the energy. People feel good working here, and it’s contagious.”

Combining state-of-the-art technology with outstanding craftsmanship, Pride Neon is able to take a customer’s vision and bring it to life inside or outside a building.

“If you can dream it, we can make it,” Bret Menke said. “There’s no project too big or too small.”

“Sometimes, because of the name, the business is still associated with classic neon signs,” he added.

“And it’s not that we can’t make those, but we’ve become a total sign solutions company, and there really isn’t anything associated with signage we can’t help you with,” he said.

“By designing your exterior free-standing or monument signs with electronic message centers, building signs, lighted letters, interior displays, vehicle wraps and vinyl graphics, we help make your message known and bring it all together under your branding strategy.”

Everything is manufactured in house from raw materials, so customers receive a true custom sign.

“We design and build signs in ways that other companies don’t or can’t.” Bret Menke said. “Our designers turn an idea or logo into a sign design, and our fabricators know how to create it. It’s a team approach, and we are so fortunate to have some of the best in the industry working here. And the customization gives our customers a feeling of ownership and a unique experience they can’t get anywhere else.”

“We’ve really become a one-stop operation,” Dick Menke said. “And we have an excellent service department, so when the signs do need service, we have quality employees to take care of it.”

New additions, future focus

Its graphic department is one Pride Neon’s fastest growing product lines.

Launched in 2017, it offers vehicle wraps, wall wraps, window graphics and banners for a complete branding package.

Pride Neon is the only company in South Dakota and one of 97 nationwide certified by 3M and United Applications Standard Group for quality vehicle graphics installation.

“We are really enhancing that product line, and they just do a wonderful job,” Dick Menke said.

Vehicle wraps in particular present an innovative way to market businesses, Bret Menke said.

“Anyone in a service business with a fleet of vehicles should consider leveraging them as a part of your branding and marketing strategy,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity to build brand awareness. From tractor trailers to vans to automobiles and everything in between, we can turn them into rolling billboards for your company.”

“Wall murals or wraps and interior displays are also growing areas of interest for businesses,” he said.

“People see them when they walk in the front door, and it’s like artwork, but it says something about the company,” Bret Menke said. “It might be the mission statement or history or leadership team. We’ve got some really talented designers, and it’s an area we enjoy.”

Pride Neon also is proud to have grown with Sioux Falls. Decadeslong relationships include some of the region’s most recognizable organizations in industries such as health care, banking, petroleum, retail, real estate development, manufacturing and advertising.

“We absolutely grow with our clients by following and supporting them wherever they go,” Bret Menke said. “And we have a network of sign companies we trust if installation is required outside of our area. We’re able to fabricate and ship a sign anywhere in the country, trusting it will be installed to our standards.”

Pride Neon has extensive knowledge of local and national sign codes to ensure customers’ signage is always in compliance with their zoning regulations wherever that may be.

As for its own business, Pride Neon is looking even further into the future as a fourth generation enters its early working years.

“We’ve started discussions already about what it will look like to pass the business on to the fourth generation,” Dick Menke said. “They’re currently involved by working over school breaks, and we’re starting an internship program that will introduce them to the various roles within the company to see what fits them individually.”

Despite decades of evolution, the company remains focused on its core values: customer satisfaction, ethical behavior, honesty, integrity, fairness, respect and continuous improvement. They’re values reflected in its current approach, past success and future vision.

“It’s quality signage at a fair price that’s going to last a long time. We have signs that have been up since the 1950s. And then it’s really our personable staff who provide excellent service,” Dick Menke said.

“We’re very proud of our Pride Neon family and hope to continue into the future for another 73 years plus.”

In the immediate future, 2021 is shaping up “to be one of the best years we’ve ever had,” Bret Menke added. “There are a lot of opportunities coming up, a lot of construction, a lot of growth to keep pace with. Our company is growing, and we’ve used 2020 to ramp up our processes and strategies. We’re prepared and ready to get off to a really fast start in 2021.”

Ready to get started with your next sign project?

Connect with Pride Neon at prideneon.com/contact/request-a-quote.

Contact Bret Menke directly at  bret@prideneon.com, or call 605-336-3563.

Want to stay in the know?

Get our free business news delivered to your inbox.



Signs lead to success: Pride Neon builds on decades of quality in evolving family-owned business

You want signage that sets your business apart — so does this local leader in the sign industry that’s evolving for the future.

News Tip

Have a business news item to share with us?

Scroll to top