By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
The family-owned Signs & Designs in Hays has a mural of its memories inside its office at 1201 Canterbury.
But the wall will not feature the 35-year-old company's next step: Closing May 30 and relocating to Kansas City for more business opportunities.
Bill Billinger, co-owner, said he and his wife/co-owner, Cindy, are happy in the area, but the move was a business decision. They recognized an opening to move to Kansas City because their daughter will enroll in the University of Kansas this fall.
Although the store is shuttering, Bill will return to Hays every two weeks to serve clients.
"We just thought it was an opportune time," Bill said. "We just got a surge of work there, so we feel the opportunity presented itself, and we're ready to run with it."
The new location will be centrally located for their customer base. Working in Kansas City also will allow Bill to return to his speciality, hand-painting outdoor walls.
Uprooting the family will be hard on his other children, an 8-year-old and another set to begin high school.
"We're excited for the new challenge, but we're not going to lie, it's hard to see my kids have to leave their friends," he said. "They've established some really good friends here."
Bill said his family has fostered "close relationships" throughout the area.
Cindy said her parents reside in the area, and she expects to return often and see friends.
The company evolved from producing tall, lighted signs on the sides of buildings to printed products for trucks and banners. Eleven employees worked for the company during the 1990s, but operations were downsized to only include the couple.