The Charro Mexican Restaurant
Biltrite Sign prides itself on manufacturing signs that will last a long time. This is especially good
for institutions such as schools and government buildings, but for retail stores, restaurants, and
similar businesses, it is a good idea to plan to refresh your signs after 5 to 10 years. An old sign
needs upkeep to continue looking good and sometimes graphics can look “dated” and not as
appealing to customers.
We’ve had the opportunity to help a local restaurant keep their sign looking fresh over the span
of 5 decades. The Charro in Greeley was first opened in 1970 as El Charro and it has been
operated by the same family over its time in operation. Biltrite Sign founder, Neil Clark, built
the first sign for El Charro. The sign utilized common lighting techniques of the time, exposed
neon and incandescent bulbs.
Their first sign served them well for many years, but the restaurant was ready to update their
sign to continue attracting new customers to sample their delicious menu. Neil’s son, Lynn,
built El Charro a “modern” sign using a cabinet internally illuminated with fluorescent lamps
concealed behind plastic faces decorated with translucent painted graphics.
Nearly 2 decades passed and once again El Charro was ready to update their sign in 2000. This
time the third generation of family ownership, Scott, was working at Biltrite Sign to assist Lynn
with providing a new sign for the restaurant. Unfortunately, the sign code had changed, and the
sign had to be made shorter to conform with the current regulations. Creative mounting was
required to utilize the existing steel column and save El Charro the expense of installing new
support structure. In the time since the last sign update the methods for making signs had also
changed. The painted graphics were replaced with translucent vinyl films. The new sign for El
Charro utilized colorful vinyl films to create an attractive and eye‐catching design.
By 2013, El Charro had updated their restaurant name to The Charro, and it was time to change
their sign to match. Lynn and Scott had been joined by Lynn’s daughter, Nicole, who also
happens to be Scott’s wife. This time around the sign only required new face panels to be
installed in the same sign cabinet and no alterations were required to meet current codes. Sign
manufacturing techniques had changed again, and the new graphics were accomplished by
printing the artwork on translucent vinyl film.
The Charro sign updates over the decades are good examples of how to keep a sign relevant.
Not only should a sign be kept in good operating condition, but it’s important to keep the
design fresh and appealing. A stale, old sign soon gets ignored as it slowly becomes part of the
regular scenery no longer attracting interest.