Devitt’s Nursery & Supply, New Windsor, NY

Devitt’s Nursery & Supply in New Windsor, New York, sells everything customers need when improving their outdoor surroundings. Its inventory includes a full nursery, gardening tools and sheds, mulch, pavers, and even children’s playground equipment. Situated on heavily trafficked Route 32 in upstate New York, the 25-acre horticultural center is set back far enough from the road that drawing in passing customers had become a challenge.

In 2014 Devitt’s elected to replace the manual reader board sign out front with an LED message center. The effect was immediate and noticeable. Chris Fitch, Devitt’s owner explained that there were no other signs competing visually for drivers’ attentions and yet, his business was still sometimes passed by. “We are just outside the town limits and there are only a few street lights in the area,” said Fitch. “It was easy to miss the sign before, but now our Watchfire sign is impossible to miss as you come up the road toward our driveway.”

Because of the facility’s size, the retail building is set nearly a half-mile back from the road and many in the area thought Devitt’s was strictly a commercial landscaping operation. The new Watchfire sign allowed the company to more effectively advertise retail sales and inform the public that everyone was welcome there to shop. Fitch also reports that several other local businesses have asked him about the operation of the sign and its effect on business. 

The sign has had a quantifiable impact on retail traffic and sales. “At the end of each growing season, we have a big sale,” said Fitch. “Last year we had a 50% off sale in September and we only advertised it on the LED sign out front. For the first time ever, we completely sold out of inventory.” The sign has been useful year-round in advertising everything from spring plantings to their family-oriented events and sales during December.

Going forward, Fitch plans to stretch the capabilities of the sign even more, and has already replaced the majority of his traditional media advertising with sign content that is controlled through his office. “We can avoid the cost and time needed for expensive newspaper advertising and focus on targeting customers through social media and the LED sign,” said Fitch. “The software seems pretty easy to use. I’m looking forward to doing more with it this coming year. We know that we haven’t begun to use it to its fullest.”

“We knew the sign made a difference,” said Fitch. “But when we sold out of sale items that were only advertised on our Watchfire sign, we confirmed that it was measurably effective.”

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