Wally’s: The Great American Road Trip in Pontiac, IL

This gas station and convenience store is unlike anything we’ve seen before. This newly built facility opened in early September 2020 on a 20-acre site in Pontiac, Illinois. It is located between Chicago and St. Louis on Interstate 55. The location offers 76 fueling pumps, diesel fuel at every pump, 2 lanes of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), and multiple high-speed electric-vehicle (EV) chargers.

Located inside the 30,000 sq. ft. facility are “experience stations”, including a BBQ station, café, coffee station, and popcorn station. You’ll also find an 8,000 sq. ft. retail section with camping supplies and road trip essentials, as well as shirts, hats, mugs, and more.

Wally’s was an incredibly unique project and has challenged our team in new ways and has helped to expand our signage background. Every part of this project was meticulously thought-out and executed, from beginning to end.

The owner of Wally’s came to us with ideas already in mind of how he wanted his business to be portrayed, so we tried our hardest to make it happen. Of course, we ran into typical shop challenges and reworks, but we never gave up until we got it just right. For instance, the owner’s vision for the entrance sign required many different lighting effects all running simultaneously. Our team tested multiple circuit controllers before finally landing on the right one necessary to achieve these effects.

Another challenge involved mixing colored acrylic with LED lighting. The owner wanted the “Roadtrip” section of the sign to appear yellow and black during the day but alternate between yellow and orange in the evening when illuminated. After multiple rounds of lighting configurations, the final setup used yellow acrylic with red and white LED modules that flashed between white only to white and red combined.

Ziglin Signs also fabricated and installed a 125’ tall hi-rise sign of the Wally’s logo that is 21’ tall and 28’ wide, a massive structure. The sign required 100 yards of concrete and over 30,000 lbs. of steel.

Overall, the team took any challenge and faced it head on to find a solution. From beginning stages to final installation, the project took one year, but the fun doesn’t stop there. The Pontiac, Illinois location was the first of its kind and the company plans to expand with nine new locations throughout the Midwest. Up next: Fenton, Missouri. Stay tuned as we take on phase 2 of this adventure!