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Legacy Plaques for San Francisco Small Businesses: A Public Sector – Private Sector Collaboration

Written by: Juliana Choy Sommer
Published: October 28, 2023
Category: Featured Clients

Priority Architectural Graphics was recently selected to help manufacture and install 50 Legacy Plaques for small businesses from restaurants to retailers, manufacturers and service providers all over the city of San Francisco.

Working with the San Francisco Office of Small Business, the Legacy Business Program produces and installs 15-inch bronze plaques commemorating local small businesses with longstanding historic and cultural roots in San Francisco. Originally inspired by programs in cities such as Buenos Aires, Barcelona and London, Former Supervisor David Campos proposed legislation and a ballot proposition that ultimately became the Legacy Business Program in 2015. Since the program’s inception, a total of 376 businesses have been added to the Legacy Business Registry in the city.

In order to qualify as a legacy business, a business must have operated in San Francisco for 30 years or more, had no break in local operations for more than 2 years and helped contribute in some way to San Francisco’s history or identity. Legacy businesses must be nominated by a member of the Board of Supervisors or the Mayor. Legacy businesses are located city-wide across San Francisco and can be found on the Legacy Business website.

Priority Architectural Graphics was hired in 2021 to complete the production and installation of the latest set of legacy plaques in San Francisco. As with all signage projects we manage, our goal is always to make these “friction free” in terms of our client’s experience working with our team. The key to achieving a “friction-free” relationship is in the planning and the prep work for each engagement.

Project Manager Michelle Savage-Conley notes, “I am always reminding myself that you can have great success or great failure whether you’ve been a PM for 30 years or 30 days. Finding what works for you, your client and your team is key, and being consistent with your approach and execution will get every successful project through to the finish line.”

The legacy plaque project was well scoped in terms of signage requirements, so the majority of the collaboration and communications with the City of San Francisco’s team involved conversations about specific signage product specifications, fit and finish. Project mobilizations were executed carefully and made concise, organized, and manageable for both internal and external team members. The Priority team created a detailed plan for project flow and adhered to all timelines while communicating around obstacles and unforeseen external challenges. The signage team at Priority was in constant communication with the client team to ensure there were no surprises and information was shared across the broader team throughout the course of the work. The installation crew was provided with prompt on-site support and solutions from the project team when needed in order to reduce the need for extra mobilizations.

This project continues with an additional two locations/business plaques a “work in progress” between the Priority Architectural Graphics team, the client (City and County of San Francisco), and the small businesses.

Project Manager Michelle offers a concluding thought, “The Legacy Plaque project has been such a rewarding project from my perspective as a signage professional in San Francisco. The client (CCSF) and the businesses have been so happy with their plaques and so appreciative of Priority Graphics. We’ve seen them hash-tagging the project on social media all over the place!”

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