One year after he volunteered to restore the fire-damaged Fort Langley IGA sign, custom car builder Mark Unrau has finished the job.
The result of his labour was undergoing some minor last-minute touch-ups at Unrau’s Vintage Coach Works shop on Landmark Way on Tuesday, Jan. 10, the day before he planned to give the 50-year-old red-and-white sign back to the Lee family who owns the IGA store.
He put it together using parts from the original sign and two others of identical vintage.
“I found [this side] face down in their parking lot,” he said, running a hand over the raised IGA logo.
“Been there who knows how long.”
For the benefit of a Times camera, Unrau showed how he rendered a crack in one of the translucent plastic ovals virtually invisible using a dental pick, razor and modeling glue to repair it.
His fingers made a squeaking sound as he rubbed the now completely smooth surface.
The once-yellowed IGA letters are now a proper bright white.
The metal parts have been sandblasted smooth and powder coated grey.
Unrau doesn’t think the colour is an exact match to the grey he found under the brown paint someone had slapped over the metal trim, but the sign is otherwise exactly as it was when it was first manufactured, with all-authentic 1960s parts and wiring.
“It took many hours, but to look at it now, it was worth every minute,” Unrau said.
“Can’t wait to see the IGA oval light up on the new store.”
Unrau, a loyal customer of the store owned and operated by the Lee family on the corner of Mavis Avenue and Glover Road, offered to restore the sign after the IGA grocery store burned to the ground Jan. 4 of last year.
Unrau said the unpaid project got a boost from other local businesses.
Balkan Signs owner Todd Detchev donated parts and time, as well as Rick from Guillevin International Co. for parts and wire, along with U-Blast who sandblasted the metal and Hi-Pro who handled the powder-coating.
Work on building the new IGA in Fort Langley began in November.
It is expected to be completed this fall.