Sign of the Times

by | Nov 12, 2019 | Business, Business Profiles, Holly Ridge

Jaxon Signs has been making a creative impression in the Topsail area for more than a decade.

You could say that Cathy Jackson saw the sign to start her own business after years of working at several print shops, sign shops and ad agencies as a graphic designer and commercial artist.

“I really liked the sign shops I worked in, so I just decided to give it a go and first try to do a little bit by myself on the side,” she says. “And it kind of worked out.”

That was in 2008. More than a decade later, her business, Jaxon Signs, is still making a statement. This is because of her decision to venture out on her own through her hand-painted signs, which can be found hanging on beach houses in Topsail and along the North Carolina coast. Her creative imaging studio also designs commercial signage of all sizes, vehicle lettering, banners, magnetics, logo design and overall printing services.

She and her husband, C.J., work out of their home in Holly Ridge, along with a few part-time employees over the peak summer season to cover production.

“We usually split the workload, with C.J. doing all of the woodworking, cutting and assembly,” Jackson says, “and I do the design work for the smaller vinyl signs.”

Jackson says their clients are equally split between commercial and residential, from business, restaurant and Realtor signage to the customized beach house signs.

“These are a little time consuming, but they’re the reason I did all of this, because doing graphic design full time can get a little monotonous,” she says. “It’s my creative outlet.”

Creativity, Jackson says, is most definitely the company’s standout strength. They consider each project, each situation, a seriously unique one and work with each client to craft an innovative design that expresses the needs, goals, imaging and messaging through photos, hand paints, text, graphics and dimensional art.

“We really pride ourselves on the handmade, hand-painted work because we try to make things not look so generic,” she says.

“Even in the vinyl work, so it looks a little bit different and looks like a little bit of time was put into the design and thought process of it, rather than generic signs.”

What potential clients will find when stopping by the Jacksons’ home-based studio and shop (or website or social media feeds) is a couple working with passion and precision.

“We have a lot of people drop in just to look at the stuff we’re working on,” she says. “They like to see the process and see, hands on, what something looks like as far as scale and size. You don’t really understand that until you’re looking at it.”

Their plans to add a new building to work on larger pieces, including steel work, have also come into fruition. This will need to be followed up by detailed exterior visuals like the driveway and landscaping, or what Jackson calls “tedious things we don’t have time to nail down when we’re busy.”

“We got some new equipment, but we don’t have it quite mastered yet,” she adds. “We just thought a bigger space than we had was much needed.”

Originally from Dunn, North Carolina, Jackson says her family has always vacationed in Topsail and that she and C.J. have called the beach home for more than 20 years. When the Jacksons aren’t at work in the studio part of their home, they just enjoy downtime on the recreational side of their home.

“We go out and about a little and pretty much know everybody here locally, but, other than that, we turn into hermits,” she says with a laugh, adding that she also enjoys visits from her children and grandchildren, who love it when  “Mimi makes them stickers.”

Stop by and see the Jacksons’ handiwork for yourself.
They’re open Tuesday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and Saturday from 9 am to noon.

874 N.C. Highway 50, Holly Ridge / For an appointment, call (910) 467-3409 or visit

Laura Glantz Photography

About the author

Ashley Daniels

Ashley Daniels

I am a full-time freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons. My folio boasts nearly 20 years of regionally and nationally published work, including profiles on such South Carolina celebs as Darius Rucker, Dustin Johnson, Vanna White, Nancy O'Dell, the late author Mickey Spillane and more. I've also taken home two Best of Show ADDY awards and numerous silver ADDYs for my copywriting work that ranges from travel/tourism and hospitality campaigns to food and apparel retail, telecommunications and more. I received my BA in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh and my MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. When I'm not in front of my laptop, I'm by the water on the beach or on the water on the boat with my family.