Utah Stories

Beginning in 1930, Leonard and Harvey Brimley Started One of the First Neon Sign Shops in Utah

Whether it is repairing or creating Brimley Neon can do it all.


David Brimley at work at Brimley Neon. Photos by Steven Vargo.

Brimley Neon, originally “Brimley Brothers,” was created by Leonard Brimley and his brother in 1932. The brothers were painting and fabricating billboards in the cold winds of Chicago when they realized that this new product had potential, so they seized the opportunity.

Dave Brimley, owner and operator of Brimley sign shop in Salt Lake City, is a fourth generation glass blower. Neon is a dying art, and whereas there were once six shops in Salt Lake, there are now only two. This keeps Brimley busy. Besides servicing local shops he is sometimes hired to do work for big nationals such as Nike, Walt Disney Productions, and the NFL. They sought him out as the go-to guy, not only for modern signs, but for his novel techniques for making new signs appear old.

At 68-years old, Brimley might have been the last glass blower in his family to practice the dying art, but he found an unexpected apprentice. His daughter Emily, says, “I love working with family and helping people find something that represents our business. It’s something that will last for a long time. I don’t see it as work, it’s just something that we do. There is close contact between the client and myself. There’s a lot of one-on-one, which makes it possible for our creations to be very specialized.”

Brimley Neon is proud to be old fashioned. They craft each sign using a traditional process. “What we do may look like a mad science experiment,” Emily says, but the final product is worthy of legacy. Brimley Neon is not short on skill—they fabricate signs, bend glass, mix elements, and personalize signs. There isn’t much they can’t do. They’re a Utah original, and they like it that way.

Located at 1177 S 300 W, Salt Lake City

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