Mystic carves a niche in island signs — and beyond

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 7:45pm
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The Mohegan Café. Water Street Inn. Harborside. New Shoreham House. Seacrest Inn.

For anyone who’s been to Block Island, these signs are hard to miss. And one of the reasons is the unique signage created by Cameron Bortz and his team at Mystic Hand Carved Signs.

Bortz has been creating signs for customers that meet their needs and build their image since 1988, when he started as a one-man shop on the island. Feeling the need to expand, he’s been building his business on the mainland since 1990, but has not forgotten where he began.

“I started living on Block lsland back in the ’70s, and began my business on Block Island in a tiny rented garage on High Street in 1988,” Bortz says.

His shop’s specialty is hand-painted and hand-carved signs. Volume is not his goal — high quality is. And he’s developed a niche that is appreciated by hundreds of customers.

One of the first questions prospective clients ask is how well these signs will last in the harsh New England environment. The answer: Use the most durable materials, paints, and genuine gold leaf available.

Most of his signs are not made of wood. They are made of a man-made product called high-density urethane. Unlike wood, HDU does not absorb water, warp, crack or decay, and lasts for decades in the most demanding environments.

They must be doing it right, because his business continues to grow, and his team’s work can be seen throughout the region.

Because of his success on the mainland, Bortz wants to return to his roots. “There's a whole generation of island business owners who don't know me, so it's time to re-introduce myself,” he says.

Mystic Hand Carved Signs is located at 256 South Broad St, Pawcatuck, Conn. 06379. Contact info: mysticcarvedsigns.com; (860) 599-0477; cambortzsigns@gmail.com.