New Documentary Video Series Showcases the Small Businesses that Define Cleveland

The first episode of Behind the Sign hit the Internet last week, and we're definitely excited to see more from this series by Cleveland SGS. 

In this debut, the filmmakers chronicle the work of Earl Phillips, owner of U-Need-A-Sign Company on East 131st Street. Phillips has been at it since 1960, and you've certainly seen his iconic red-white-and-blue handiwork at some point all over town. 

What's so great about this series — and about other projects under the SGS aegis — is that the men and women helming small businesses in Cleveland really do form the backbone of this city's economy. They're rooted in history and blood and sweat. They have stories to tell about how we got to where we are — stories that both contrast and complement the downtown development boom narrative with context and depth. 

"In 1960, I was the first brother to move into this neighborhood with a business," Phillips says. "(laughing) Are you listening? I didn't make no waves, and the customers came, you know.

"I'm one of the few old-timers still around..."

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About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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