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Complete Sign Illumination

With clients including Heathrow Airport, CSI has achieved a lot in its short history. Genevieve Lewis talks to Simon Clarke, sales office manager, on how a simple switch has led to success

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CSI was founded in 2015, and recently celebrated its fourth birthday in March

Prepare for takeoff with CSI

After celebrating its fourth birthday in March, Complete Sign Illumination (CSI) has come a long way since it was formed by Adrian Lee in 2015. Lee is one of the partners in a group of businesses that link together, and Simon Clarke, sales office manager for the company, explains: “The group started off with one company, selling traditional lightbulbs and fluorescent tubes, and have grown and expanded year on year since then.”

The team at Complete Sign Illumination

Despite its growth since 2015, Clarke says that CSI is still one of the smallest firms in the group, but it is definitely mighty. It has serviced contracts with the biggest supermarkets in Britain and has even provided solutions for Heathrow Airport. He explains how the company came to deal in the signage industry: “We are the exclusive UK distributor for GE’s signage arm Current by GE. The largest company in the group also sold GE products in the general lighting industry, like the tubes and the bulbs, so it was a natural fit when we wanted to expand into signage illumination.

CSI has provided LED products to some big clients, including Heathrow Airport

“Four years ago, we came to ‘we’ve got this other arm, the signage lighting’, which we weren’t really involved with – except for putting fluorescent tubes behind signs. LED modules became the Vogue and that’s what people were selling and obviously the group wasn’t selling those, but we were dealing with GE. Within the next day, the next year, the next six months, CSI came to be, and we are now selling LED signage modules across the country.”

Taking off

CSI started out life with just a couple of people, but now has a more permanent team with five full-time members of staff focusing on all things CSI, and extra pairs of hands in a shared warehouse. Clarke continues: “We started out with two people, one on the road and one in the office. There’s now three of us in the office, two people out on the road, we’ve got dedicated pickers in a shared warehouse and seven people in our bespoke factory.

We’ve certainly grown quite rapidly over the course of the last four years. Already this year, we’ve increased our customer base by over 10%

“We’ve certainly grown quite rapidly over the course of the last four years. Already this year, we’ve increased our customer base by over 10%. We also have a number of large projects lined up, it’s exciting times here at CSI.

“Our technical manager works on the bespoke manufacturing side of our business, which complements the LED module side. We’ve supplied airports, including Heathrow, with landing lights on runways, as well as creating signage for emergency exits which have to function without mains power.”

Clarke highlights some of the projects that have bought CSI and the group of businesses some pride over the last four years, one of which was the Heathrow project: “Doing the work for Heathrow Airport was a big thing. This was converting signs so that they were emergency compliant. We were quite pleased with that. To be fair, we can be proud of most of the things that we do; we work with pretty much all of the major supermarkets in the country for example.”

Giving Back

We’ve started working with a charity called Candlelighters. They support children with cancer, a worthy cause close to everyone’s heart

Even with a busy schedule, Leeds-based CSI still manages to find the time to support local charities. “We’ve started working with a charity called Candlelighters,” says Clarke. “They support children with cancer, a worthy cause close to everyone’s heart. We have visited their site near the local hospital – they provide practical, emotional and financial support from diagnosis, through treatment, after treatment and for as long as families need them. They rely on donations from the general public to continue their work and need to raise over £1.6m every year. You can read more about their work on their website or follow them on social media. It’s a really worthwhile cause we are really happy to support.”

CSI is just one company in a group of businesses

One way the charity raises money for its children is through running events. “We offered to build them a sign, like a cheerleading sign in essence,” explains Clarke. “They will use it at their events to raise awareness and to cheer people on that are running on their behalf. We’ve already arranged the construction of the sign, once built we can put our modules in and finally we will present it to them so they will be able to use the sign at all of their events.”

It is clear that Complete Sign Illumination is a company that has raced down the runway before taking off, continuing on its upward trajectory. Even with a small team, in a short amount of time CSI has grown to win some major contracts and despite this, managed to stay true to its roots and support the local community. 

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