Henrico-based sign maker closes and files for liquidation | Local business news


Henrico County-based Acorn Sign Graphics Inc., a maker of custom architectural signs that twice landed on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, has ceased operations.

The company closed after filing for Chapter 7 liquidation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond on Wednesday.

Acorn Sign Graphics, founded in the 1970s, has been co-owned by husband and wife Beth and Steve Gillispie since 2003.

The company listed between $500,000 and $1 million in assets and $1 million and $10 million in liabilities, according to court documents.

It had between 200 and 999 creditors. The filing does not list the company’s major unsecured creditors, but many of the creditors are from the Richmond area.

Acorn Sign Graphics said in a statement that it is recovering from the business impacts of the pandemic and supply chain challenges.

But the company said it “was unable to prevail in a dispute over contract payments with its largest customer, LL Flooring. The resulting cash crunch forced the company to close “.

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The company said it planned to pursue its claim in bankruptcy court against LL Flooring, the Henrico-based flooring giant, which was formerly called Lumber Liquidators. Acorn Sign Graphics did not provide any details of the payment dispute, including the amount.

Beth Gillispie, who is listed as the company’s president and CEO, could not be reached for comment.

“We are deeply saddened by the difficulties of this situation for our stakeholders, 43 employees, suppliers and customers,” the company statement read. “The legacy we hope for remains true to our vision: to have enhanced the human experience in the built environment and provided a place where our employees would thrive.

Acorn Sign Graphics was known for its high quality design, manufacturing and installation services. He has fabricated tens of thousands of signs for offices, retail stores, hospitals and schools in Virginia and elsewhere.

The company was also a for-profit corporation, or B Corporations, dedicated to social and environmental responsibility.

This meant that his mission was to carry out a process of manufacturing signs in an environmentally friendly way. At Acorn’s main office and production plant on West Clay Street near Dabney Road, the company had invested several years ago in equipment designed to assemble and paint panels with less waste and less toxic chemicals. It has also used recycled or eco-friendly materials in its signs.

In 2015, the company was recognized in the “Best for the Environment” category of the Best for the World awards program by B Lab, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that certifies companies as B Corps and champions this business model.

Acorn Sign Graphics has also been twice named to the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest growing private companies based on three-year company revenue growth rates.

In 2017, the company was ranked #4,756 with a three-year growth rate of 47% generating $6 million in annual sales. In 2015, it experienced a growth rate of 66% with sales of $5.9 million, earning it the 4,193rd position.

The company is represented in its bankruptcy case by Richmond law firm Spiro & Browne PLC.

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