A new Stratford business celebrates its grand opening
by Heidi Riley
SignCut Inc. is a new business started by Mark Li, a recent immigrant from China. He and his wife and two young children moved to Stratford in 2015. Mark started his business by offering the production of commercial signs, customized and personalized plaques, nameplates, and wall stickers.
He has now expanded to selling the computer numerical control (CNC) machinery used to cut metal, plastic, acrylic, wood, and stone. He says this is the only business on PEI that sells laser engravers and laser cutters. He also sells vinyl cutting plotters and supplies.
The business opened in October 2015, and now there are two staff members, as well as a visiting technician from China.
Ruby Burt is the Office Manager/Sales and Marketing Associate. She also designed the company website, the promotional material, and brochures. She attends tradeshows to promote the company, and also helps make the signs. She has an administrative background, and went back to school in 2004 to take the Marketing and Advertising program at Holland College.
Ruby handles sales and email correspondence with clients across Canada as far away as the North West Territories. “Eventually, Mark will be hiring a salesperson to expand sales even more,” she says.
Tad Montgomery is the Technician. He was hired in June, and is a recent graduate of the two-year Holland College Welding program. He programs and operates the CNC machines sold by SignCut. “The machines here are very similar to the CNC machines used in the welding program, but on a smaller scale,” says Tad.
PEI Connectors is an initiative of the Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce. This government funded program connects new Islanders with the business community.
“Most of our clients are from China,” says Amy Zhang, Program Officer. “Mark Li came to my office asking for help to invite a technician from the Chinese company which manufactures the equipment Mark sells to come to PEI to install the equipment and train the staff on how to use it. We issued a supportive letter to explain the reason why the technician was needed here. We also asked MP Sean Casey to issue a letter explaining the situation. These letters convinced immigration officers in China to issue a visa to the technician. We were pleased to be able to support Mark Li get the help he needed.”