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Omaha company celebrates 81 years with female...

Posted at 3:17 PM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 18:26:55-05

Their marquees are all over the metro, but the story behind this business, is one of pioneering in an all boys club.

Signworks started 81 years ago, the business of Elizabeth Hatcher and her husband. It was 1935, and the company was named Neon Products Co. Next their daughter, Elizabeth, took over the business.

"She was a pioneer," said granddaughter Gaby Ryan, "She was a businesswoman in a man's world. She'd be the only woman in a meeting with the city, trying to figure out signage codes. She'd be the only female at an architect's meeting."

The generations would continue at the helm, always women. Next, Elizabeth's daughter, Dorsey Olson lead the business. Many of the folks still on staff today were hired by her.

Today, Dorsey's daughters, Ryan and Mikaela Layson, run the company. They've made it through the recession, without laying off any of the 21 employees. They say they've learned so much from the other matriarchs before them.

"Being strong females, good business women, having a lot of integrity," Ryan said.

As for the future, both sisters have young children. Only time will tell if another generation will take the lead. One thing is for sure, there's no sign they're stopping anytime soon.