This is Carolina: Sign maker designs more than a thousand signs for graduates, teachers

Published: May. 18, 2020 at 5:28 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - One Socastee woman is using her talents to do something special for the Class of 2020, teachers and frontline workers who have been impacted by the global health crisis.

“We just want to make one more thing special for them,” Debbie Flinchum told WMBF News inside her store on Socastee Boulevard.

Since restaurants and schools closed across South Carolina, she’s been making signs for little to nothing in return. You could say her store, MB Showcase Signs & Reprographics, has the lights on more often. Flinchum is working all hours to help restaurants and recognize graduates, teachers and frontline workers during the pandemic.

“I pretty much took care of the restaurants. Giving them free banners, free road signs. Then graduation came and the seniors couldn’t do their graduation. So, I started doing signs for all the grads, all the schools, colleges, elementary schools, pre-schools, doing signs all the way from Florida, New York, Alaska and all the local schools," Flinchum said.

It started with restaurants. Flinchum designed banners and signs to give to 138 local restaurants for people to know they were still serving. Then, a greater need called for the graduates and essential workers.

“I get everything from one to 200 emails a day. I get phone calls, I get Facebook messages. I get a lot of referrals,” she explained.

Flinchum said at first she didn’t charge anything for the signs, seeing it as her way to help her community. Now, she said she only charges a little over what it costs her to make the sign and/or banner. She’s now made over 1,000 to make others feel special. Her shop will be one year old on June 1 of this year.

“A passion and compassion. They don’t realize it, but at the time I am blessing them, they’re blessing me because this is my passion and this is what I like to do. So to be able to see them smile and feel special, that blesses me back,” Flinchum said, smiling. “I make sure that every piece of that sign is, the color is just right. These signs will last them 10, 20 years so it’s something that is special for them. It’s special for me to be able to make it, but it’s special for them and their friends and their family. They earned it and they deserve it. They should be proud.”

Flinchum said it takes her anywhere from ten minutes to an hour to make a sign, depending on the graphics and Photoshop editing needs.

She pointed out the signs and banners aren’t just ‘signs,’ but pieces of art. Many are unique and can be hung after being in the yard as a memory.

Flinchum has made signs for the St. James High School dance coach, pre-K graduates, Girl Scouts, Citadel grads and a Horry Co. grandmother whose grandsons are graduating from Ocean Bay Middle and Princeton University. However, Flinchum has a favorite design of hers.

“This one,” Flinchum said, holding a Citadel graduate’s sign. “This one just touches me a little bit because he’s going to serve our country, and he really earned it, he’s earned this and they cried, so, this one stands out the most to me.”

The sign is one of a kind for Citadel grads, with the ceremonial cannons, an American Flag and uniform ceremony that isn’t being performed for the 2020 graduates.

WMBF News spoke with two senior Girl Scouts who received a special surprise of Flinchum’s signs from their troop. The troop signed them and put them in the yards of the seniors.

Girl Scout Sloan Jordan said she’s learned a lot about taking things for granted from her senior year.

“I think we’ve made a bigger point to spend the time that we have together now and just realize you don’t know when your last goodbye is going to be,” she said.

Jordan is headed to Vanderbilt University in the fall.

Flinchum is still making signs for graduates.

MB Showcase Signs & Reprographics is located at 4504 Socastee Blvd. You can learn more about the store by clicking here.

Sign requests can be made via email, calling or Facebook messaging the business.

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