Need a way to announce new products in your store? List services with prices? Celebrate holidays and seasonal changes?
Try a chalkboard.
The medium allows for quick and easy updating, with only chalk — whether paint, marker or old-school stick — and an eraser as supplies.
“Chalkboards are a forgiving and affordable way to produce fun and attractive menus,” says Sherry Shupe, owner of Fur Baby Boutique, Daycare & Spa in Milford, DE.
They can become merchandising masterpieces, too.
“We discovered a very talented artist who could turn our ideas into amazing pieces of art,” says Allen Larsen, who owns Firehouse Pet Shop & Grooming in Wenatchee, WA, with his wife, Jennifer.
Whether you DIY or outsource, use these examples from pet businesses across the country to spark your creativity.
Firehouse Pet Shop & Grooming WENATCHEE, WA
Owners Allen and Jennifer Larsen hired chalk artist Josie Rutherford to create signs for their business. She incorporated store colors red, black and white, as well as whimsical canine characters. A fire hydrant and Dalmatian continue the firehouse theme. Large chalkboards for grooming and self-wash services hang inside, while two A-frames outside catch the attention of passersby.
The owners chose strength of design over flexibility.
“We primarily use our signs for subjects that are non-time restricting,” Allen explains. “We used to write daily events or sale items, but found more value in eye-popping signs that capture the customer and then allow us to verbally seal the deal.
In fact, the Larsens couldn’t change the chalkboards even if they wanted to, as they are sealed to prevent damage from weather and wet dogs.
Cloud Canine LITTLE FALLS, NJ
Chalkboard signage appeals to Melissa DiRoma as a new business owner.
“I chose a chalkboard and chalkboard paint because it’s relatively inexpensive and looks cute,” she says.
DiRoma hired artist Christine Walsh to create her sweet grooming services menu, but with the overall design set, she plans to make any needed changes herself.
Belly Rubs ’n’ Suds ASHBURN, VA
The chalkboards at this grooming salon are a team effort. Owner Teresa Hogge purchased framed boards and chalk at a hobby store, and came up with copy. She then turned the design and any updates over to an employee.
“Her strength is her artwork,” she says. “I like to support my individual team members’ creativity and strengths.”
Fur Baby Boutique, Daycare & Spa MILFORD, DE
Chalkboards take up almost an entire wall at Fur Baby. Info about various services, pricing and even an event calendar appear in bright colors. Owner Sherry Shupe assigned design and upkeep over to her staff.
“We have a team of self-proclaimed artists who volunteer their skills to help make our boards fun and attractive,” she says.
Shupe recommends chalkboards to new pet businesses in particular.
“They’re especially great for those that may be still growing, and adding or changing frequently.”
Town & Country Pet Resort CAMPO SECO, CA
Owner Trish Elliott frames the chalkboards at her boarding facility, hanging some from rods and setting another on an easel. They welcome pet parents, list prices and encourage participation on Town & Country’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
“The freestanding chalkboard changes weekly,” she says, adding that text remains the focus instead of art. Such simplicity makes the most of limited space.
Bath & Biscuits GRANVILLE, OH
Owner Danielle Wilson loves the chalkboard look but prefers precision when it comes to sign design and execution. She used her sense of humor and Canva, a free design website, to create the board that hangs in her self-serve wash area. A local sign company then printed it on canvas for her to hang.
“I like using the permanent, printed chalkboard because it’s fun, different and easy to read. Plus, my salon environment can be damp and hairy, so the printed chalkboard menus won’t get accidentally erased or smudged.”
Shop Dog Boutique SIOUX FALLS, SD
Owner Ellyn Suga uses the large chalkboard in her store to promote and price bakery items.
“It’s a fun way to highlight new cookies that we have for specific holidays or seasons,” she says.
The chalkboard fits into Shop Dog’s rustic chic decor, with string lighting above that spells “Woof” helping to draw customers to the area.
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of PETS+.