(quote) If not for the assistance and counseling I received, I would not have successfully acquired Express Sign and Neon - Edgar Aceituno, former employee turned owner of Express Sign and Neon
For more than 16 years, Edgar Aceituno worked as a general manager with Express Sign and Neon, a signage company based in South LA. When the owners announced that they were closing the business in 2020, the Pico-Union/Westlake BusinessSource Center (BSC) helped Edgar find the resources to buy the business and save the jobs of his eight co-workers.

Established in 1989, Express Sign and Neon was previously owned and operated by a father and son team. The company provides customized signage, including design, permit processing, fabrication, installation and maintenance services. The company has produced signs for a variety of clients, including municipalities, public parks, restaurants and universities.

Due to COVID-19, the company's business stalled dramatically for two years. The need for new signs diminished as former commuters continued to work from home. Edgar predicted that this was a temporary setback and once the economy began to recover, the business would bounce back. Therefore, he decided to purchase the business with his wife Janette.

Unfamiliar with the process of purchasing a business, Edgar was referred to Redy Babasa-Thompson, a business and loan counselor at the Pico-Union/Westlake BSC. Edgar sought assistance with buying the business from his employer and acquiring a working capital loan to relaunch.

Redy provided Edgar with extensive business counseling. He helped Edgar develop a business plan to acquire the business, along with cash flow management and he recommended a CPA to assist Edgar with business accounting. Redy also reviewed Edgar's credit report, provided loan preparation assistance, and helped him create a financial forecast for the next three years.
In addition, Redy helped Edgar incorporate his business, apply for an employer identification number (EIN) with the IRS and assisted with obtaining business permits and licenses, negotiating a lease agreement and preparing a loan application.

On January 1, 2022, Edgar Aceituno purchased Express Sign and Neon and transformed from employee to owner. He successfully acquired an Economic Development Administration (EDA) loan, which he plans to use to pay off the existing business debts and purchase new equipment.

Edgar retained all eight of his former colleagues and the business continues to serve its long-standing customers. "If not for the assistance and counseling I received from Redy Babasa-Thompson, I would not have successfully acquired Express Sign and Neon."

Express Sign and Neon is located in LA City Council District 10.

EWDD’s BusinessSource and WorkSource Centers offer a variety of Business Services, including several Financial Programs and Development Incentives for businesses of all sizes. Learn how EWDD can help.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of April 25, 2021. Read this issue and more.