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70-year-old Wichita firm to sell to competitor with plans to grow locally and beyond

Miracle Signs is purchasing George Lay Signs, its competitor for 70 of the 75 years the original Miracle Decal Co. has been in business.

Since brothers Matt and Zach Roth and their cousin, Chris Roth, purchased Miracle in late 2021, president Matt Roth said “we have continued to grow pretty significantly.”

With the new deal, which closes Friday, he said, “It allowed us to bring on additional experienced help and facilities to help us continue to grow.”

The George Lay Signs name isn’t going away. The companies will be co-branded.

Miracle, which has 17 employees, plans to keep all of Lay’s 25 employees and the Lay office at 1016 N. Waco in addition to Miracle’s office at 3611 N. Broadway. The extra office will allow for more facilities and, importantly, storage.

Chris Roth, left, and his cousins, Matt Roth, center, and his brother, Zach Roth, of Miracle Signs this week are buying George Lay Signs and considerably growing their business.
Chris Roth, left, and his cousins, Matt Roth, center, and his brother, Zach Roth, of Miracle Signs this week are buying George Lay Signs and considerably growing their business.

John Lay, who in 1991 took over the business his father, George, started, is ready to retire. He said he had interest from a few buyers, but he liked what he saw from the Roths since they bought Miracle and thought the companies’ cultures would be a match.

George Lay had worked for another sign company before entering World War II.

“When they found out he was a sign painter, they didn’t let him finish basic training,” John Lay said.

His father painted signs at bases and “did a little bit of nose art on the airplanes when he was in the Pacific.”

Eventually after returning home, he started his own business, initially from his garage while he worked elsewhere.

John Lay never planned to enter the sign business until “realizing it was a lucrative business.”

“It provides a good living for a lot of people.”

George Lay Signs evolved through the decades, including becoming a YESCO franchisee for the service side of the business.

That was part of the attraction for the Roths.

Matt Roth said Miracle’s service department always has been capable, but YESCO, which started as Young Electric Sign Company in 1920, will significantly enhance the service side.

In addition to servicing signs, Miracle will continue to design, fabricate and install them.

“We take a customer all the way through the process,” Zach Roth said.

This photo captures work that Miracle Signs did at the Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, left, and George Lay Signs did at the nearby NICHE culinary school. Miracle is buying George Lay Signs this week.
This photo captures work that Miracle Signs did at the Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, left, and George Lay Signs did at the nearby NICHE culinary school. Miracle is buying George Lay Signs this week.

He and Matt Roth said another attraction for buying George Lay Signs is all of the national installations it does. The purchase will allow them to continue to expand nationally and regionally by bringing on Lay’s customer base and having the expertise of its staff.

“That’s a critical piece,” Matt Roth said. “The people are what makes the business.”

He said it’s impossible to overstate how the the companies will not only merge resources but also bring together a lot of industry knowledge and creativity.

Before buying Miracle, Matt Roth had most recently been in health care, and Zach Roth had been in aviation.

They and their cousin had long talked about owning their own business.

“We come from a family of entrepreneurs,” Matt Roth said. “It’s ingrained in us to work hard.”

He said they had more time to think about it and process it during the pandemic, and they saw owning their own business as a way to take care of other people as well.

That includes each other. Still, lots of people wonder about family members working together.

“Oh, yeah, we’ve heard it,” Matt Roth said.

He said each of the partners has his own strengths.

“We’re two years in and doing well.”

This vintage photo shows George Lay Signs on North Waco, where it remains today in an expanded footprint. Miracle Signs is buying George Lay Signs this week and plans to keep the companies co-branded along with keeping both of their offices.
This vintage photo shows George Lay Signs on North Waco, where it remains today in an expanded footprint. Miracle Signs is buying George Lay Signs this week and plans to keep the companies co-branded along with keeping both of their offices.

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