A Cool Rebranding


Cone Palace is a long-time restaurant/ice cream shop in Kokomo, Indiana. In the past two years, Cone Palace has undergone some major renovations and used our company, Huston Signs, for all their signage needs.

We recently provided them with a full-color electronic message center (EMC), new sign faces, front-lit and reverse-lit channel letters, architectural letters, and brushed aluminum logos for the interior, as well as vinyl applications to the windows and an awning over the back entrance.

Huston Signs was excited to have assisted Cone Palace with its branding by combining the most up-to-date sign technologies with the classic logo they’ve used since opening in the 1960s.

Jeff and Lisa Smeltzer, owners of Cone Palace, reached out to Huston Signs during the initial planning stages of their renovations. They wanted to use new LED technology and modernize their signage to showcase their brand.


Working together, we came up with several ideas via digital renderings.

During the first phase of signage updates, Jeff and Lisa chose to have a large carport removed from the front of their building. In its place on the storefront, Huston installed front-lit and reverse-lit channel letters that read “Cone Palace” bookended with two ice cream cone logos. 

The faces of the channel letters are white and are illuminated with white LEDs. The back-side of the channel letters are encased with blue LEDs, which provide a halo effect at night. This style of signage is very sophisticated and makes a great impact.

“We are very pleased with the illumination the storefront channel letters provide,” says Lisa Smeltzer. “It definitely enhances the visual appeal of our building.”

At this time, they also added non-illuminated architectural letters that can be seen from the highway to the drive-thru area.

Cone Palace has a long-standing history of marketing using the most current platforms available. Years ago, they purchased a static changeable copy readerboard to advertise their weekly specials. They were great at keeping it up-to-date and constantly changing the message based on the current special or new food item.

But as technology has evolved and more and more businesses turned to using EMCs, Jeff and Lisa recognized the effectiveness of their marketing power. To educate them further, we provided them with a traffic count of their location, facts and figures (including the estimated ROI), and renderings of how it would look.

Jeff and Lisa ultimately chose to purchase a full-color EMC. The EMC has the capability to show actual photos of Cone Palace’s arctic swirls, sandwiches, and drinks, as well as short video clips. Cone Palace does an excellent job of updating their specials, which really grab the attention of those who drive by.

Their marketing is very effective. Every few seconds, a new message or photo is displayed using bright colors and appropriately sized fonts. With the amount of traffic they receive, they are able to market to a million people on a monthly basis.


The Smeltzers are ecstatic about the EMC. Customers are responding to it in a positive way, and it makes marketing even easier.

“With the freezing temperatures this past winter, the staff have truly appreciated the ability to change the signage from inside a warm building, rather than standing in below freezing wind chills fighting to slide changeable letters on a frozen track!” says Lisa Smeltzer.

Once Jeff and Lisa decided to make the investment in an EMC and replace the changeable copy board, we encouraged them to also update the sign faces with the Cone Palace logo. The sign faces were previously flat polycarbonate with a vinyl application of the words “Cone Palace” and the two cones.

Now the sign faces are pan-formed; they’re painted from the inside and feature embossed lettering. The colors are much more vibrant, and the embossed lettering helps give the sign more dimension and rigidity against the wind.

The new signage doesn’t stop with the exterior. Our shop also installed two brushed aluminum cones onto an interior wall. The cones are actually named “Sprinkle” and “Twinkle,” and they fit right in with the charming atmosphere that Cone Palace promotes.

The Smeltzers also chose for us to install brushed aluminum “CP” letters to the store’s interior as a decorative piece. “This brushed aluminum signage provides an attractive and modern look to the front counter area,” says Lisa Smeltzer.

We also applied vinyl versions of the Cone Palace logo to two sets of windows.

Finally our company installed a new illuminated awning to cover the back entrance that employees use.

“When we made the decision to undertake the renovation in 2012, we wanted to modernize and update the look and feel of the Cone Palace building, as well as its signage,” says Lisa Smeltzer. “Huston Signs developed a package that allowed us to bring the Cone Palace signs up-to-date but keep the familiarity of the logo our customers have known since the late 1960s.”


Our company believes strongly in branding and the power of marketing, especially using EMCs. Cone Palace does an excellent job of branding their business, and we were thrilled to be a part of their renovations.

By Samantha Milburn, account executive at Huston Signs/Eight38 Graphics, a full-service branding, graphics, and custom signage company serving central Indiana. To learn more about them, visit www.hustonelectric.com and www.eight38signco.com.

All photos:Geary Photography.

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