Meet our founder, Dean Blazek.
Dean combined his experience in the early 50s at Everbrite Electric Signs, Artcraft and Layton Art School when he started Northern Advertising in Antigo, Wisconsin, in 1955. The mainstays of the business were billboards and neon signs – which remains true to this day.
Wanting to give back to the sign business he loved, Dean joined the Wisconsin Sign Association, (WSA) in the mid 70s serving as a board member and President. His colleagues in WSA prompted Dean to start a neon training school as so many of the post-war-trained glass benders were reaching retirement age. Northern Wisconsin Neon Workshop began in 1979 and over the next 20 years, Dean and his staff trained over 500 students from many countries. These glass benders rejuvenated a sagging neon industry through the heyday of the 80s. With the help of his daughter, Julie Blazek, he released three NEON ABC books to complement his glass bending courses.
In 1981, Dean and his son Michael, owner and founder of Western Neon in Seattle, published NEON: the next generation through Signs of the Times.
One of Dean’s great passions is buying, collecting, refurbishing and re-selling porcelain-enamel and neon signs. His knowledge of the early manufacture and distribution of these iconic American signs comes from living through the mid-century advertising boom.
This passion to save the signs of his time is at the heart of DB Collectibles. To this day, his sign collection in northern Wisconsin is one of the best in the country.