Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Couple Follows the Signs to New Life on First Coast

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Couple Follows the Signs to New Life on First Coast

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTOPHER CALNAN, The Times-Union

Business owners Paul and Cheri Vianello seized the day and went into the sign business.

The former Long Island, N.Y., couple decided last year that life was too precious when Cheri received a kidney transplant -- and a renewed appreciation for what's important.

The Vianellos got out of the congested Northeast and moved to Jacksonville, a place they had heard about many times. Their Sign-A-Rama store opened on Southside Boulevard last month and they plan to open more in Jacksonville.

"Discovering Sign-A-Rama came at a perfect time in our lives because after being the gift of life by a friend who donated a kidney to me in February 2003, I was reminded that life is too short not to follow our dreams," Cheri Vianello said.

The West Palm Beach-based Sign-A-Rama started in 1986 and describes itself as the world's largest sign franchiser. Sign-A-Rama has about 500 stores nationally and the Vianellos' store is Sign-A-Rama's 48th in Florida, spokesman John Pugsley said.

Neither Vianello had previous experience in the sign business, but both have management and customer service backgrounds that they expect will carry them a long way.

"We truly believe you can build a business on those building blocks," Cheri Vianello said.

The store is at 4195 Southside Blvd., 1 mile north of Tinseltown.

Ebel update

Jacksonville's Ebel Inc. is undergoing more changes.

In 2000, the 15-year maker and distributor of casual furniture relocated to a larger facility at 8270 Arlington Expressway and started an Ebel's Casual Elegance store. Within two years the store made the industry list as a Top 100 Powerhouse retailer, Ebel said in a news release.

Now, Ebel's is changing its name to Florida Backyard by Ebel and expanding its product lines.

The store will sell grill islands and spas and open two new showrooms in the first week of March. A new store on Fleming Island will offer the same great selection at Ebel's Regency and Mandarin locations. …

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