The Address America Story

Our Story

Every Great Story Must Start Somewhere

America’s Deep South: a cultural melting pot of musical and storytelling genius. Here, in Jackson, Mississippi, with the Blues Highway running west of the city like a cool black ribbon, Address America is open for business. We are more than a custom address sign shop serving clients across our great nation. We are a family business with a story of our own, one that spans three generations.

Beneath the aluminum, steel, and polypropylene that can be found in our workshop daily, Address America’s history snakes its way through the Delta, filled with more stories than the Pearl River. Ours is a humble and folksy narrative that home state heroes would be proud to tell — those Mississippi writers and bluesmen whose stories changed not just America, but also the world.

Tennessee Williams famously said, “In memory, everything seems to happen to music.” In our family, milestone events are marked by beautiful address signs and the most loyal and happy customers.

Humble, Down-Home Beginnings

Where does our story begin? In Jackson, Mississippi — a city built on the banks of 444 miles of spiritual water, known as the Pearl River. Our hometown’s slogan is ‘The City with Soul’, which perfectly mirrors the core of our business, a family shop born from vision and necessity nearly 30 years ago.

In October 1991, our founder David Ashley was out delivering firewood to help support his family. He’d been doing this as a side business since he was a freshman in college, and it was hard work. David would manually cut trees and drag logs out of the woods. Then, he would hand-split the timber to prepare the firewood for customers.

With just a beat-up old truck and a helper, he’d transport firewood around Jackson’s neighborhoods, delivering to homes across the city. Finding the right address was tough during the day, but in winter, when the sun set just after 5, finding addresses in the dark was a near-impossible task. Even if a home had address numbers on the house, reading these numbers at night was no easy feat. 

An Urgent Problem

Night after night, David or his helper would walk up to houses and shine a flashlight on mailboxes, walls, posts, and doors. Often, they would go so far as knocking to ask residents what their address number was. 

This challenge left David tired and frustrated each night, but it also made him think about how police, firefighters, and paramedics must face the very same predicament. Did they have a better way to find homes when every second counts?

A short time later, David got the answer when he talked to a friend who worked as a paramedic. There was no secret, no magic bullet, no ideal solution. Emergency services had brighter spotlights, but they still had to use the same process as David when looking for homes at night. Drive slowly, look, and knock on doors if needed.

David knew there had to be a better solution, and the urgency of this problem inspired him to launch a new business painting address numbers on curbs in the Jackson area. Little did he know, this was the start of a new business that would soon transform into something amazing.

The Birth of a Business

Renting time on a computer at a nearby Kinkos, David designed and printed flyers that he delivered all over neighborhoods in the Jackson area. His curb painting initiative was no longer just a seed of an idea, it was a promising entrepreneurial business. On March 19, 1992, he hand-painted his very first house number on a Jackson curb, marking the official birth date of Address America.

Little Victories

Business was booming! Address America was a hit around Jackson. With masking tape and brush in hand, David painted curb numbers for anyone who called him. But a monumental event would soon test his business model, leading him to reconsider his idea. A near-tragic accident involving his family proved both a wake-up call and a catalyst.

Inspiration born from Adversity...

The Night That Changed it all

On a peaceful fall night in September 1992, David Ashley’s father-in-law Hilton suffered an embolism at home, a potentially fatal blood clot that can kill without warning. Hilton’s wife Lina dialed 911 and anxiously waited for the medics but the ambulance passed their house many times, unable to find them.

Lina grew fearful at Hilton’s side and wondered what was taking so long. She could hear sirens drawing near before rapidly fading out. As the flashing lights approached again, Lina flagged the ambulance down. By the grace of God Hilton survived and a major lesson presented itself.

The next day, as David drove around the neighborhood, his business’ major flaw became apparent. Leaves, snow, trash, and parked cars sometimes hid the curb numbers, preventing people from seeing them. Despite his method being better than nothing, David knew he had to do better. Jackson, Mississippi required something radical and innovative that would change the face of home identity. 

The Start of Something Truly Special

On a cool October evening in 1992, David Ashley drafted the blueprint for a cutting-edge solution. He wanted to prevent what had happened to Hilton and Lina from happening to others in the community. What materialized on the page was something exceptional, an address sign that could be viewed from both sides day or night, from hundreds of feet, in all kinds of weather.

In the months that followed, he dreamt up a collection of products that would revolutionize the home address market — preventing unnecessary deaths, aiding emergency services, and beautifying front yards. The original, unadorned ‘C Sign’ was born from a moment of pure inspiration, its painted metal featured 4-inch reflective numbers that could easily be seen day or night in all types of weather.

David proudly drove its post into his front yard, knowing he was onto something. Address America was no longer just a curb painting business, it was rapidly evolving.

Business Inroads Across America

Between 1993 and 1996, David Ashley worked hard to develop his business, travelling across Alabama, Florida, Minnesota, and Louisiana, sometimes with his family and sometimes alone. His business was swiftly progressing into yard sign offerings, based on interactions he had with residents.

David listened to thousands of people in communities all across America, learning what they truly wanted when it came to home address signs.

One heartbreaking story struck a chord with David whilst he was working in Mobile, Alabama. A woman told him that her husband had suffered a heart attack just a week earlier. After calling 911 for help, the ambulance passed their house, which delayed treatment for several minutes. Sadly, that night, her husband passed away, leaving her a widow.

The woman said she wished she’d had a home address sign and wondered if it might have saved her husband. This story echoed David’s own experience with his father-in-law Hilton and again highlighted a pressing issue.

The insights David acquired when talking to everyday people solidified his understanding of what was needed. Communities required an intelligent solution —highly-visible signs that could be seen in both darkness and light, 365 days a year.

But it didn’t stop there. Residents wanted decorative signs that would bring a smile to their face when they pulled into their driveways. Though he’d created the only real solution available on the market, David began to rethink his blueprint, taking aesthetics into account, as well as functionality.

This era of industriousness set a powerful precedent for what was to come — ornamental signs that would provide a tangible solution for home location issues. Every evening, David labored over his prototypes, improving the ideas that had been swimming in his head. This preoccupation helped lay the cornerstones of our business; it’s why we’re still here today.

In 1996, David made the now iconic Oak Sign from durable wood. It featured midnight black paint, a polypropylene bracket, hand painted white numbers, finial, and steel post. Soon after, David upgraded the sign with powder-coated steel blanks and swapped the painted numbers for reflective vinyl digits. He realized that he could produce signs with low-grade materials for a cheaper price, but cutting corners was never his thing.

Even today, at Address America, excellence is never sacrificed for profit. Every sign that our workshop produces must meet rigorous standards of style, efficiency, and quality. David drew up a blueprint that has stood the test of time, one that continues to guide our family. As we say here in Mississippi, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

From Backyard Garage to Official HQ

Address America’s design improvements prompted an increase in demand. David received an influx of interest from various parties who were keen to sell his signs. Realizing that people’s requirements were greater than expected, David experimented by offering his signs wholesale to clients around the country.

In 1997, back on his home turf of Jackson, David honored wholesale distributor orders straight out of his garage. His father Bill erected a workshop in the backyard to help fulfill the needs of customers. Every day, the family worked together to ship sign materials across the country. Address America was picking up speed faster than they could control it.

On December 19, 1997, Address America, Inc. formed, outgrowing the garage as business exploded. The company established its headquarters in Ridgeland, Mississippi, paving the way for further development.

Over the next few years, David conceived exciting new signs including the Rose, Annandale, Le Paris, Boardwalk, and Excalibur, bolstering his business as the leading producer of home address signage across the whole of North America. 

Then suddenly...

In December 2007, the United States’ economy descended into recession. Sadly, many of Address America’s wholesale customers rapidly went out of business. During this time, David Ashley began the critical process of downsizing the company to help keep it afloat. All across the city, ‘for sale’ signs were cropping up and shops were being boarded.

In November 2013, David made the gut wrenching decision to sell the Ridgeland, Mississippi facility, transitioning to a smaller operations base that was both cost effective and efficient. During this time, Address America took a significant leap that proved to be transformational — turning its focus to shipping signs direct to US and Canadian customers online, primarily through Amazon.

In April 2015, the business found new footing and moved its headquarters to its current location in Jackson, Mississippi, establishing itself once again as the leader of the home address sign industry.

From Our Family To Yours

Swing by the Address America workshop on any given day and you’ll find us making striking wall mounts, RV camping signs, and other elegant designs. But our biggest seller is still our signature: the home address signs that kick-started it all.

From those early days when the Oak Sign reigned supreme, to present day when new designs like the Orleans are winning fans across the nation, we’ve never forgotten David Ashley’s singular vision: to make signs with exceptional visibility.

Over the years, we’ve heard countless stories about how our signs helped guide emergency services to the right address, cutting time, conserving resources, and saving lives in the process. Every sign we ship prepares another home and family for an emergency; preparation we believe to be as important as having a good smoke detector. It’s an honor and privilege to be serving communities this way, not just in our hometown but all across North America.

Celebrating Our Success

Today, on our home turf of Jackson, a few minutes west of the winding Pearl River, our family carries on with Address America's mission. Our decorative home and recreational vehicle signs are as beautiful in appearance as they are functional, infused with the spirit of the Mississippi landscape and the folk of the city we serve.

Since 1992, our family has had the privilege of serving countless customers all across the United States, Canada, and other countries overseas. David Ashley drafted prototypes for signs that caught attention, saved lives, and assisted emergency services. Today, we still design from that same source of inspiration, always improving our output.

Some say that the “Devil is in the detail” but we like to think a higher power was at work when Hilton’s life was saved that day. After all, Address America was transformed in that single moment. Coincidence or destiny?