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Family Owned Business Awards

Ad-Craft Signs and Graphics

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Mark Klosiewicz | Photo by Luigi Ciuffetelli

Founded: 1960

Generations: Two

Employees: 6

WILMINGTON — Mark Klosiewicz has been living and breathing his family’s business since before he was born.

His father, Jesse, started Ad-Craft Signs and Graphics in the garage of their family house in 1960 so that he could pursue his passion for art and supplement his income as a biology teacher. One of the business’s first accounts was printing shirts for Al’s Sporting Goods in Wilmington.

“My mother was about six months pregnant with me,” Klosiewicz said. “It was a hot summer day, and the windows and doors were open. My mom was laying on the couch in the living room, and she was almost overcome by the thinner fumes … My father always teased me that I had this business in my blood.”

While Klosiewicz’s friends were playing kickball and football, his dad would bring him to work at the shop on Saturdays, where Klosiewicz learned how to do silkscreen printing with squeegees and apprenticed under a couple sign painters.

By the time he was a teenager, Klosiewicz was helping build and install signs, and he expanded into doing some construction work for the business in his early 20s.

After Klosiewicz graduated from college in 1981, he said the job market “wasn’t really booming,” so his father encouraged him to take over the family business.

Klosiewicz’s wife, Carol, handles payroll and accounting for the business. Their three children — Jessica, Michael and Janie — worked at Ad-Craft when they were growing up just like their dad, but they have since moved on to other careers.

This year, Ad-Craft was slated to have its most profitable year ever in the company’s 60-year history. The pandemic derailed those plans, but through careful budgeting he business has been successful enough to not lay off anyone, Klosiewicz said.

Klosiewicz is also focused on adding new services and forming relationships with companies across the country to grow their footprint. Recently, he paid two of his installers to fly down to Jacksonville, Fla., where they rebranded the graphics for a plumbing company’s fleet of 34 trucks.

If Klosiewicz notices an issue with the work, he has his workers redo it at no cost to the customer because he would rather fix it before it leaves the shop than present the customer with a sloppy job — another one of his father’s lessons.

“He said, ‘Do what you say you’re going to do, for the price you’re saying you’re going to do it for, and do the best job that you can humanly do within your talent capabilities,’” Klosiewicz said.

 

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