Carrie Rengers

George Lay Signs completes 60-year acquisition project

This 1965 photo shows the original George Lay Signs building on the left and a 1963 addition to its right. To the south of that building, a longtime laundromat’s 15-cent wash sign is barely visible. George Lay Signs recently purchased and razed that building. To the north of the company’s building is a slim building where a barbershop once was. The company bought that building and the 2-story house next to it in about 1973. It demolished the buildings and expanded its building to the north.
This 1965 photo shows the original George Lay Signs building on the left and a 1963 addition to its right. To the south of that building, a longtime laundromat’s 15-cent wash sign is barely visible. George Lay Signs recently purchased and razed that building. To the north of the company’s building is a slim building where a barbershop once was. The company bought that building and the 2-story house next to it in about 1973. It demolished the buildings and expanded its building to the north. Courtesy photo

John Lay finally has completed a project his father started in about 1959.

That’s when George Lay started George Lay Signs just north of Ninth and Waco. He demolished an old house to build his first building and then continued acquiring adjoining lots for the next couple of decades.

His son followed in his father’s footsteps, both at the business and with acquiring surrounding properties, the last of which came recently with his acquisition of a longtime laundromat to the south of the sign company.

“The owner of the old laundromat decided he wanted to retire, and we bought the property,” John Lay says.

Lay says he is not interested in getting in the laundry business. He razed the building, which is now an empty lot to go with the empty lot George Lay Signs already owns to its south.

“We’ll probably build on it eventually,” Lay says.

He says he’ll expand part of his operations there at some point. Lay says some of the company’s production areas are cramped.

Part of the move also is to ensure no one builds “something we didn’t want to have next door to us.”

“This was the last piece of the puzzle,” Lay says.

His company now owns from Ninth and Waco halfway up to 10th Street.

“It was almost a 60-year project to get all the property accumulated,” Lay says.

Though he doesn’t have immediate plans to build on the property, Lay says he is having it leveled, which is the work that’s happening there now.

“They’re filling in the hole so we don’t have a pond when it rains.”

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