Benchmark Community Bank, Kenbridge, VA

Benchmark Bank, headquartered in Kenbridge, VA, has grown from its humble beginnings in one location in 1971 to 17 branches today located throughout Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. The bank prides itself on its local focus and its mission to provide residents and businesses in small communities banking resources for all stages of life.

Several of the bank’s locations have had signs with 19mm monochrome digital message centers from Watchfire Signs for about a decade. The signs have worked reliably, so when it came time to upgrade them and add a sign at a new location, bank leaders were glad when Watchfire once again was specified. Benchmark worked with Sign Enterprise of Fredericksburg, VA, on the upgrade and new installation. Jonathan Dabney, senior vice president at Sign Enterprise, suggested that the bank invest in four-color, higher resolution signs to amp up the kinds of messages they could display.

“Jonathan talked with us about how color signs could help us better market our services, and then Watchfire brought a demo truck so we could see a sign for ourselves,” said Helen Person, vice president and director of marketing and PR, at Benchmark Community Bank. “Once we saw the capabilities of the sign, we knew we wanted to upgrade to color.”

Benchmark uses the signs to promote banking products and services, and also to be a resource for the local community. “We call what we’re doing ‘edu-tainment’,” said Person. “We educate our customers about our hours and products, post seasonal messages, and also inform the community about local events, all in a way that is entertaining and eye-catching.”

Benchmark received bids from other vendors, but liked that Watchfire stocks parts and can quickly dispatch them if a sign needs service. “Watchfire is my go-to partner for digital signs because of their reliability and strong customer support,” said Dabney. “The signs work great and parts are readily-available, if needed.”

Benchmark also upgraded to Watchfire Ignite’s cloud-based OPx content management software, enabling managers to program messages from any location using a computer. This feature was especially important given the region’s occasionally volatile weather.

“If we have to change branch operating hours or refer customers to a neighboring branch due to weather conditions, having the capability to remotely edit the signs is a huge plus for us,” said Person.

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