After building fire, Innovative Signs setting up temporary home base until it can move into new facility

Wreckage in the wake of the Auer Steel/Innovative Signs facility fire in the town of Brookfield. Photo courtesy of Chad Schultz/Innovative Signs
Wreckage in the wake of the Auer Steel/Innovative Signs facility fire in the town of Brookfield. Photo courtesy of Chad Schultz/Innovative Signs

Last updated on January 27th, 2022 at 02:34 pm

Innovative Signs Inc. is working to set up a temporary home base until it can move into a new building after a fire over the weekend destroyed its existing town of Brookfield facility.

Chad Schultz

The industrial building at 21795 Doral Road caught fire around 12:55 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, according to a news release from the town of Brookfield Fire Department. Its occupants were Innovative Signs and Auer Steel. Nobody was injured.

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Chad Schultz, president and owner of Innovative Signs, said half of the 12,000 square feet the company was leasing in the building was destroyed. Innovative Signs lost a 60-foot bucket truck, two work vans and three printers.

The fire comes just months before Innovative Signs is to move into its new headquarters building across the street, at 21700 Doral Road. But it can’t move there until two existing tenants clear out in April, Schultz said.

Innovative Signs is setting up temporary operations in the meantime. Schultz said the company is able to use some of the front-office space at 21700 Doral Road. It is also considering occupying about 2,000 square feet over the next few months in a nearby facility, which a client had offered up.

The company still has vehicles and equipment it can use. Schultz said Innovative Signs will be able to continue some printing and manufacturing work, thanks to equipment it is salvaging and assistance offered by other companies. It also has two other bucket trucks in operation.

Besides that, the weather has proven too cold to do any installation work in recent days.

“Honestly, this week is going to be a blip on the radar,” he said.

Schultz said many clients and other businesses have offered their support in the days following the fire.

“The love and support we’ve gotten from the business community, and even the sign community, has been amazing,” he said. “People (have been) offering up buildings and office space; it has been truly amazing. My team has also been fantastic, just stepping up and getting things done so we can keep moving forward. … And if it wasn’t for my partner and my wife, Stephanie Schultz, I couldn’t get through this without her.”

The Fire Department stated the cause of the fire is under investigation, and the building is a complete loss. A total of 16 other fire departments from Milwaukee and Waukesha counties assisted in combating the fire.

Milwaukee-based Auer Steel didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The Doral Road building is one of the company’s eight locations.

Innovative Signs late last year announced the purchase of the 19,600-square-foot building at 21700 Doral Road. The building will allow the company to double its manufacturing within the next three years.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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