Your Missoula Sign Company

Big Bear Sign Company has been serving the Missoula Valley for 48 years. When we first started, Russ Johnston, was the owner and he worked to produce street signs for the city of Missoula and sometimes the state of Montana. At the time, we were known as Montana Flasher and Barricade. Through this business, Russ sold construction barricades, portable toilets, and construction signs. We have come a long way since the 70’s thanks to innovation, technology and our community.

Above is an example of one of our biggest projects undertaken with our new printer. This was a traveling MRI vehicle for Monida.

Above is an example of one of our biggest projects undertaken with our new printer. This was a traveling MRI vehicle for Monida.


Our growth in innovation has brought new technologies and capabilities to the Missoula Valley and surrounding areas. When Russ first started in the sign business, he was hand cutting stickers for construction signs, sometimes in his living room and often with his wife and three children. It wasn’t until 1994 that the company bought the Gerber Edge printer and this little local sign company revolutionized.

We have been family run and operated for the entirety of our existence. In 1998 Montana Flasher and Barricade segmented itself and the name of Big Bear Sign Company was born. In 2001 Russ’s daughter, Wendy, bought out the company after running its operation for the 10 years prior. In 2004, Wendy’s husband Jeff joined full-time as co-owner. We are proud of our family-oriented business and proud of the community and friends we have been able to serve throughout the years. We work to improve our community through innovation and ever-changing technologies implemented throughout our business model. Technologies are constantly changing and to keep up we continue to attend events and trainings to enhance our knowledge of the field of signage. In addition, we have continued to expand our inventory of machinery    throughout the years in order to take on a greater diversity of jobs. To see more of our job work check out our gallery.

One way we like to honor our community is through volunteering. Since 2001 we have donated over $100,000 in cash, in-kind donations, and sponsorships, all in addition to being members of multiple committees. Each year, our co-owner Jeff sits on the fundraising committee for Boy Scouts of America, as a way to give back to those who care about Montana lands and history. In addition, Jeff is a lifetime member and habitat partner at Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, board member to the Blackfoot Challenge, a member of the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, and many other organizations. Most recently, Big Bear Sign Co. won the Boy Scouts of America Community Partner Award for 2018. Below you will find a list of organizations that we dedicate our time to as members. Each one is near and dear to our hearts.

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In addition to sitting as members of several boards, we also commit a number of donations and services to the Missoula valley and surrounding areas. We frequently give donations to Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Missoula High School Golf Fundraisers, I Run For Bob, Montana Ducks Unlimited, etc. Below is a thorough list of the organizations we often donate to.

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All of these efforts are made for the betterment of the community and people we care for. It is important that we work to grow and preserve our community for the years to come. We believe that it is important for all local business to give back to the community that helped them grow.  The protection of Montana’s natural resources and wildlife is a top priority for us and is why we invest in the organizations we do. After all, it is a huge reason why we all call this place home. Big Bear Signs chooses to invest in organizations that believe in a grander purpose. Investing in us means investing in your community.

In conclusion, our company has come a long way since the days of hand cutting stenciled decals for construction signs. We are proud of our growth and innovation we have provided to our Montana community and the relationships we have made along the way. Without you, there is no us, so the least we can do is volunteer and donate to the efforts we find admirable.

To learn a bit more about our mission statement as a company in Missoula, check out our information page. And to inquire about ordering, click here.

Darby McNally