Little print shop in Elgin creates most candidates’ signs in Kane County

During election season, Awesome Campaigns Inc. churns out thousands of signs for hopefuls

The term “A sign of the times” — as defined by Merriam-Webster — is something that shows what’s happening in popular culture or during an important or particular period in history.

As the March 19 primary approaches — the defining cover act for the Nov. 5 general election — signs of the times dot parkways, roadsides and yards announcing support for candidates in races.

In a tucked-away place called Awesome Campaigns Inc., off Route 25 on the edge of Elgin, signs of times past and present cover the walls. Screen printers the size of trucks rumble and chug in the background while an ink bouquet fills the air. About 100 buckets of ink are stacked in a room on the way to the print shop in the back.

Loreta Kavaliunas, owner of Awesome Campaigns Inc. in Elgin, prints many of the campaign signs for candidates throughout Kane County and Illinois. Sandy Bressner/Shaw Media

“This is our busiest time,” owner Loreta Kavaliunas said. “We go six days a week.”

It might be the only time opposing candidates fill a room and don’t argue. Workers slide cardboard signs for candidates through the machines for the screen-printing process as each color is applied separately.

Truth be told, Kavaliunas said sometimes she is asked not to print an opponent’s signs.

She laughed at the idea of not doing a print job because a political opponent thinks a yard sign gives him an edge.

She shook her head.

Of course, she prints everyone’s signs — and then some.

There’s a giant check replica in a campaign against home rule in Rockford, declaring its passage would mean a blank check of “UNLIMITED $$$$” for the city.

A sign for McHenry County Recorder Joe Tirio declares “”

Tirio currently is the McHenry County clerk/recorder.

Awesome Campaigns Inc. in Elgin prints many of the campaign signs for candidates throughout Kane County and Illinois. Sandy Bressner/Shaw Media

Kavaliunas printed signs for former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and current Mayor Brandon Johnson. She printed 20,000 signs for Mike Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign — and then he pulled out of the race.

Other familiar names on campaign signs are Jim Oberweis for Congress, Laura Curtis for state representative, Kane County Treasurer Chris Lauzen when he ran for chairman, Clerk Jack Cunningham and Sheriff Ron Hain.

She even printed “Justice for Ludwig” after Ludwig the dog was shot to death in 2021 in Wayne.

If you’ve ever parked and noted the warning that you might be towed, Awesome Campaigns probably printed it.

Or if you passed a house declaring a high school graduate lives there or a promotion for a theater production, she probably printed those, too.

Kavaliunas came to the United States from Lithuania in 1987.

“My first job was as a waitress,” Kavaliunas said. “In the Lithuanian community, I met people in manufacturing, stamping presses and engineering.”

She married, had a daughter, and she and her then-husband were in the printing business.

He printed for Sears, a major client in Hoffman Estates, which is why they set up shop in Elgin.

She disagreed with his total focus on Sears alone.

“When you have only one customer and all your eggs are in one basket and something goes wrong, you’re basically screwed,” Kavaliunas said.

“Things started not going the way I wanted. I said, ‘If you go that way, it won’t work,’” she said she told her now ex-husband.

He didn’t listen.

“I started my own on the side, bought my own equipment and started printing on my own,” Kavaliunas said. “I liked it. … My little business has been going 15 years now.”

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