May 27, 2020 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Sign ‘em up: Wagners to change locations in downtown St. Joseph

Jim and Jen Wagner want to invest in St. Joseph because the community has invested in them.

“Community support is everything to us,” Jim said. “If it wasn’t for the support of this town and our love of this community, we wouldn’t be seeing the growth we have.”

The Wagners recently purchased the building located at 209 E. Lincoln in downtown St. Joseph and plan on moving their business, Wagner Signs and Graphics, to its new location this month.

The Wagners are excited to have a building of their very own. Currently, their shop is at 109 N. Main, which houses several other businesses.

“The biggest benefit is we have bought a building that we can do our own improvements and changes on instead of putting rent or improvements into a space we don’t own,” Jen said. “It also gives us more flexibility to do changes that we feel are needed to improve our business needs.”

The Wagners have seen their business grow over the past few years.

Jim said a lot of their customers not only use them for their personal needs, like St. Joseph-Ogden High School and St. Joseph Middle School apparel, but also use them or recommend them for their businesses in Champaign or Danville.

“Our family is very grateful that many residents like us as a local business,” Jim said.

Customers can expect the same great service, Jen said, but with some changes.

Hours will be expanded from the current setup, which has the store open from 2:30-7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The new hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, then 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. The same hours on Saturday — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — will continue.

The Wagners hope to have their store moved by Oct. 23, with the anticipated new equipment and new hours in place by Nov. 11.

“Both Jen and I will be there to work with our customers along with our staff members,” Jim said.
Their equipment will also be moved from their home to the new location.

“We will be doing our printing and embroidery on site,” Jen said.

The business will also be ordering new equipment to expand their capabilities.

The Wagners said owning their own business has allowed them to have a life work balance that wasn’t possible before.

“We like the flexibility that owning your own business has,” he said. “We have been able to help out with school events, like field trips, the Panther Walk and setting up the book fair. We get to spend more time with our family, even if we are working.”

Jim said he never expected the success his business has found.

“It has been very rewarding,” he said. “We never really through it would have grown as much. It’s a lot of long hours and sacrifices for both of us, but it has paid off.”

The Wagners make 95 percent of their items in house, which allows them to control the quality of the products. They ship items all over the United States.

Jim said the success is due to the team that works at the business, like Kate Smith and Makayla Duckwitz.

“Jen has been a very dedicated wife, mom and business partner. Kate is our store manager and has done a great job running our store and helping the growth as well,” Jim said. “And special thanks to Makayla for her support. She not only picks up part-time hours at the store but she keeps our family life in line by keeping track of our kids so we can work offsite events.”

Jen and Jim said they are excited about the changes for their business.

“We can call it ours,” Jen said.

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