Our history helps drive our success. Founded in 1947 by Robert V. Protesto, Pro Signs began as a hand painted sign company for local businesses. From there, the firm grew into a national company, and we now work with some of the world’s most recognizable and influential brands.
Pro Signs is a company that grew from the adversities and challenges presented by the Great Depression and World War II. That history continues to inspire the company’s work today.
Our founder, Robert V. Protesto, fondly known as Bob, was born during WWI and the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson. By the time Bob was eleven, the Great Depression had created unimaginable hardships for many in the Philadelphia area and across the United States. As a result, the Protesto family became homeless and hungry, moving from abandoned home to abandoned home until it became necessary for the children to be placed into foster care. It was when Bob moved into his grandparent’s oyster house in Broomall where the seeds of the sign company that would become Pro Signs were planted in his young mind.
Bob watched closely as a sign painter hand-lettered a message on the Oyster House’s window. This experience, along with his growing interest in art, inspired him to begin painting signs himself. As his skills developed, he became employed as a sign letterer for a grocery store until, shortly thereafter, he was drafted into WWII. While serving, he adopted the nickname “Pro,” derived from his last name ‘Protesto.” When WWII ended, he returned home to marry and began building his dream: Upper Darby Sign Co.
The company grew with the help of Bob’s wife, Kay, who managed the business’ administration and later with sons Bob, Jr., Jack, Vince, and Ed. In the late 80’s, Bob Jr. realized his vision of his father’s sign business by turning it into more than a local sign shop and expanding business operations. Bob Jr. changed the company to Pro Signs in a nod to his father’s military nickname and commissioned the redesign of the logo — a logo still in use today.
In the late 90’s, Pro Signs outgrew their location and found themselves in need of additional space. This prompted a move to our current facility in Downingtown. The additional space enabled the business to continue expanding through the early 2000’s, growing into one of the largest signage and graphics providers on the East Coast.
Since its founding in 1947, Pro Signs continues to fulfill customer’s signage and imaging needs on a national basis.