ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Lehigh Valley is home to many businesses you'd probably never expect some of which make things you see every day.
WFMZ Business Reporter Tim Silfies is tracking them down and found one today that gets its power from the sun.
Solar Tech is one of the leading companies that makes solar power billboards.
And they're in Allentown.
Sabrina Zerphy is the co-owner.
“We make the big orange signs (you see) when you go into a workzone and you're probably stuck in traffic that say ‘road closed ahead’ or ‘construction ahead’,” said Zerphy.
When she says "make them" she means it. They really make a lot of the parts themselves.
“There's a very robust manufacturing niche here in the Lehigh Valley” said Zerphy.
They do the welding and the painting. They make the circuit boards. Then they put it all together and ship them out.
“We sell throughout the U.S. and throughout the world,” said Zerphy. “We are in all 50 states and have presence on pretty much every continent.”
A lot of their workers have specific skills that they learned at Vo-Tech or LCCC.
“We have approx 100 employees,” said Zerphy. “We get 'em right here in the LV, the majority I'd say almost 95% grew up here.”
The company was started in 1991 by Sabrina's father-in-law.
He was stuck in traffic, saw a diesel powered sign pumping out fumes and had an idea -- to fuel them by the sun.
“He built the first one in his basement, in his rented house,” said Zerphy.
Now the average sign sells for $18,000 $20,000.
“Business has been very robust for us, but we also have a strategy to have market domination,” said Zerphy.
So the next time you see one of these signs, in the U.S. or around the world, just think: it might have been built right here.
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