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Meet Marco San Antonio of One Day Signs in Downtown Encinitas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marco San Antonio.

Marco, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Wow! Well I have been working in this sign shop since I was 13 years old, and I am now 45, so I have quite a timeline. After serving 21 years in the US Navy, my Dad was trying to figure out what his next career move would be, as fate would have it, my Mom’s side of the family all had sign shops thanks to my Grandpa teaching all the kids how to hand letter signs growing up. My Dad ended up going to Hawaii for one month to apprentice under my Uncle Nestor’s tutelage. After a month of on the job training, he came back to Encinitas and we started our sign shop in our garage in 1988. By 1989, we opened One Day Signs in our original location here in Downtown Encinitas.

In 1989, I was learning to paint the alphabet in different types of styles and learning the fine art of sign design. Every day after school, I would practice hand lettering the alphabet the same way my uncles did so many years before me. Sign making back in the early 90’s was so much different than today. After becoming proficient in hand lettering, I was painting banners and other signage, as we were slowly learning how to use the computer to cut out vinyl graphics and clip art logos to make graphics and signs. When I moved to Santa Barbara for college, I painted those fluorescent colored sales and holiday windows to make extra money. Nowadays, hand lettering has become a lost, but fine art.

Today, we produce most of our signage on large format digital printers instead of cutting vinyl graphics, although that is still one of our most popular products, digital printing in UV inks has changed the game. We have produced banners that cover the sides of four-story buildings, signs to keep the community safe and graphics that grab your attention. I have 32 years in the business, before actual technology and the internet, so I have seen the business change so drastically between the 90’s and today. I am grateful to say that my sign designs are rooted in a mixture of fine arts and hand skills, skills that I think a lot of this generation of graphic artists might lack since most only learned to manipulate a mouse, where a lot of us older guys have sketched, painted, cut and molded, and I think it all adds up to just having a little deeper roots in the industry.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
To be honest, I am going to say that we, my Dad and myself have been pretty blessed. I can’t remember a time where things were particularly rough in our business. Sure, there were slow times, but over these soon to be 32 years in business, I was lucky to have such a hardworking, persevering, business savvy Dad/Businessman at the helm of One Day Signs to always keep us moving forward.

I truly think the toughest struggles of most family businesses, is the family part. There are so many family dynamics that permeate into the business. My Dad and I definitely butted heads as I grew into my own man, with my own ideas and ambitions. I would say that those times are, and always will be the most defining and toughest of our business. Finding and trying to define those boundaries so that family topics don’t creep into the business, and vice versa, all while trying to keep our business growth was the true struggle for me in our family business.

Please tell us about your business.
One Day Signs is a family business that specializes in making signs in One Day. I know, it sounds simple enough, but our ability to design and produce a large variety of quality signage within a 24-hour period seems to have put our company in a very small, yet specialized niche. We produce signage for everyone from city municipalities and large corporations, to real estate and small businesses, down to banners and vinyl graphics for a school project.

Although we love really large multi-faceted jobs, I think we are known for our well designed quickly made sign packages for our local real estate agents and small businesses. Often, customers see our work, give us the basic information and a quick idea of what they are looking for, and leave the rest to us. Nothing compliments our business more than when a customer can essentially set it and forget it, only to come back with exceeded expectations.

As a company, we are most proud of the trust the community and the businesses in it, put in our company to help make the vision of their business to their customers something to be proud of. We make signs for all our surrounding municipalities, so when I say the community trusts us, it is nice to know that the cities we work with have put their trust in our company to make their signs long lasting, durable, and effective. Those businesses we are so grateful to work with give us the responsibility to design a sign, that is often the first thing a consumer sees when looking for their business, we take a lot of pride in producing a sign that gives the right first impression to their customers.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Today, my Dad has retired again, and I am now running the business entering into my second year as owner, and I am loving every minute of it. Learning the ropes of being a business owner, instead of an employee has been a mountain of unexpected paperwork sprinkled with long workdays, but ending with some satisfying drives home after a great day’s work. From the countless hours of painting alphabets to Art School, and the years of starting at the bottom of this business and learning how to build, produce, design, and now running a successful business as the owner, I can say I couldn’t have made it here without standing on the shoulders of some great men and women who have supported me through all these years. My Dad who taught me, my Uncle Nestor who taught him, and my Grandpa Poly to taught him, as well as all his sons this business.

My Mom, who has taught me the art of organizing paperwork, timelines, and taxes. I could not stand here without looking back at all the shoulders that have carried me to the heights I have already reached; to look back on it all from halfway up this mountain and know that I haven’t even peaked yet. I am just standing on the strongest tallest foundation for personal and business success to get me to the top of this proverbial mountain. I am grateful for the friends and family I have surrounded myself with to get me where I am today, I couldn’t have gotten to this point without them all.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 460 South Coast Hwy. 101,
    Encinitas, CA 92024
  • Website:
  • Phone: 760-942-0111
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @onedaysignsencinitas
  • Facebook: @onedaysignsencinitas
  • Yelp: One Day Signs

Image Credit:
Noelle San Antonio

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