Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Young Family Saga
1/10—Salt Lake City, Utah
The story of YESCO’s founder, Thomas Young, is the story of a young America – a saga rich with all the adventure and opportunity that made our country great.
The adventure began 100 years ago, in 1910, when 15-year-old Tom Young and his family said goodbye to their native England and stepped aboard the S.S. Dominion in Liverpool. They were bound for Ogden, Utah, deep in the American West, carrying with them all the worldly possessions they hadn’t sold to raise money for the journey.
The ocean passage made Tom’s mother so sick she wished she was dead. But after 10 days the Youngs disembarked in Montreal, Canada, and boarded a train bound for Chicago and then on to Ogden. The industrious town, located on the main line of the Transcontinental Railroad, buzzed with opportunity. The Youngs moved into a bright, cheery home at 284 33rd Street with room for a garden – a vastly different setting than their former worker’s cottage in England.
Every member of the family that could work, did. Tom’s father, George, took a position with the Southern Pacific Railroad, and young Tom found various jobs in a local meat packing house and at the railroad. Eventually he found employment doing what he loved: art and lettering. He worked as an apprentice sign-painter under the guiding hands of a number of sign writers, learning the art of lettering.
Soon Tom was lettering coffin plates, gold-leafing store windows and pin-striping wagons. He took a correspondence course and graduated with honors from an applied art school, then went on to earn a diploma from the Detroit School of Lettering.
Now a master sign-writer, Tom accepted a position with the Electric Sign Service of Ogden, where he stayed until 1916, and then with Redfield-King, outdoor advertisers and builders of electric signs. He learned the art and science of the budding electric sign business while working for these firms.
In 1920 Tom achieved his dream. With $300 and the support of his wife, Elmina, he opened the door to his own sign shop. The shop grossed $7,400 its second year, at a time when the average wage was $120 a month. By 1929 Tom’s sign business employed 27 full-time workers. His dream had become a successful reality.
Today, 100 years after Tom Young and his family left England and 90 years after opening his small sign shop, the business he created has become a large and growing icon of excellence in the industry. Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) has been capably led by three generations of Youngs.
Though technology has changed the face of the electric sign industry, YESCO continues to thrive on the same values upon which the young immigrant from England founded his business 90 years ago: a strong work ethic, integrity, and a commitment to customer service and innovation.