Brian Freeman and Bob Kirby, owners of the Split restaurant and ice cream parlor, had a vision. They dreamt of an expansive ice cream cone as part of their building’s downtown Kannapolis, NC, façade. This wasn’t just any ice cream cone, though. They envisioned a 30’ tall, 11’ wide iconic structure that would serve as a landmark within the newly renovated downtown area that would draw customers to their lively, fun, and family-friendly ice cream shop. Rite Lite Signs’ creative team of designers, fabricators, and installers were thrilled to help bring their vision to life with this one-of-a kind showstopper.
Traditionally, architectural elements like this are found on beach boardwalks (think Coney Island) and are made of molded polycarb or EFIS framing – the easiest and cheapest materials to complete the job, but not always the best quality. Freeman and Kirby wanted something more upscale, though, and the Rite Lite team, skilled in the use of unique materials and custom fabrication techniques, went to work to make this architectural feature not merely shine, but stand the test of time. The materials were carefully chosen to provide sustainability, all while providing a design that fit perfectly with the owners’ vision. Our team used several different materials to build the ice cream cone, including aluminum, Sintra, hand-carved foam, and sustainable weather-proof sealant, all of which were coated in a bright enamel (that just screams fun!). The cone’s sprinkles are also a custom-routed design that helps bring the colors and shapes to life. In addition to the larger-than-life ice cream cone, Rite Lite Signs also developed a full sign package for the Split. The commercial sign package included flush-mounted channel letters, A-frame/gutter style awnings, and directional signs.
The Split project was a true testament to the word “team,” thanks to the multiple Rite Lite Signs departments working together to bring it to fruition. Team members from the vinyl department assisted the paint department in painting the ice cream cone sprinkles. The fabrication team worked on the heat-formed grid pattern for the cone, and our own production manager even assisted with hand carving the custom ice cream scoop. This collaboration is precisely why our team members are cross-trained in all areas. We can minimize errors and maximize efficiencies while unleashing the creativity needed to bring ideas like Brian Freeman and Bob Kirby‘s to reality.
Overall, there was a feeling of excitement swirling around this fun, playful project. We’re proud to add this one-of-a-kind project to our team portfolio, but we’re even more excited to have had a hand in the area’s largest man-made ice cream structure. It was certainly the cherry on top! (Pun intended).