DAVENPORT – Call it the manufacturing of politics.
In a state with relatively low unemployment, the presidential campaigns have spent their Iowa visits focused on plans for better-paying jobs and not simply more jobs.
Yet instead of the politics of manufacturing, a Davenport company is in the midst of an intense surge until Election Day. Its business is making signs — for display at political rallies and campaign office to supporters’ front yards and the sides of barns.
“Around six million this year,” VictoryStore.com founder and Chief Executive Officer Steve Grubbs said on the production floor when asked how many political signs his company of 80 workers would create and ship out. “That’s a reasonable goal.”
The business started in 1997 as an online company, headquartered out of a shuttered elementary school in Davenport, and a few miles from the Quad City International Airport.
“What the Internet did was it allowed us to take what would have previously been a small, local printer and make it a nationwide printer,” said Grubbs. “Because of our lost cost of business and how close we are to an airport, it makes it very advantageous to us.”
Grubbs said the company will “ship out 500 orders” each day to customers across the country. Political races make up 60 percent of VictoryStore.com’s business, and signs for sheriff and city council contests fill the multiple buildings.
Grubbs also operates a separate business that advises Republican congressional candidate, but he pointed out the building is full of signs representing all major political party candidates.
Even as he tries to move his business into non-political areas, Grubbs knows the political pull remains strong.
“The next round of elections will start three months after this election is over,” Grubbs said. “Elections don’t stop in the United States so, somewhere, there is an election.”