Van Wrap Provides Hope

Sunset Signs and Printing coordinated a group-donated wrap for a special-needs school.
Sunset Signs and Printing coordinated a group-donated wrap for a special-needs school.

Do you enjoy stories about one person who involved other people to make a difference for a worthy charity – oh, and the story also includes a vehicle wrap? Well, I’ve got a good one for you. 

According to its mission statement, Hope School in Buena Park, CA is “dedicated to preparing students with special needs for lives of purpose, quality, contribution, and independence.” The preparation includes helping their students’ transition to their working adult lives after graduating. “Guy Vilardo, a member of the Sunset install team, brought it to my attention that Hope School had just raised money to buy a van for the school and was looking to get it wrapped,” said Bret Carlin, lead estimator for Sunset Signs and Printing (Anaheim, CA). Guy’s wife, MaryAnn, who is on the Hope School faculty, then contacted Bret about the wrap, and explained its funding had to come from outside of the school district’s allotment. 

“Once I heard what they wanted to do and needed all the help they could get,” Bret said, “I realized that I have the resources to help. I thought to myself, ‘If the staff at Hope School can go the extra mile to help the students, I should do my part as well.’”


Bret received approval from Sunset Signs’ owner Tracy Eschenbrenner to contact manufacturers and suppliers on behalf of the company, and immediately began coordinating. Epson donated an ink set for the shop’s Epson S80600 printer. Manny Larranaga, sales rep for Montroy Sign & Graphic Products, supplied Moncor Wrap Material (Montroy’s in-house brand). Christie Guerrero stepped up with Avery Dennison DOL 1360Z Cast Vinyl Gloss Laminate, and an anonymous donor came through with Contra Vision 60/40 printable perforated vinyl, a necessary last-minute addition. The Rob Machado Foundation donated the funding for the labor to wrap the van, and Sunset Signs did their part by preparing the files, printing and finishing the vinyl.

“Hope School was very involved in the process,” Bret said. “The principal, Louie Lemonnier, and staff member Mark Fieldhouse visited Sunset’s facility and took a tour. There were many emails back and forth to ensure the project would be completed by the tight deadline.” The school had their own designer come up with a basic rendering, which Sunset Signs’ designer Kim Heffernan adjusted for printing, using the Adobe suite.

The plan called for the wrapped van to be in Hope School’s hands for their opening-of-the-school-year assembly, and for the administrators to unveil once the assembly let out. “We did receive the van early but found out it was not a cargo van,” Bret said. “The van had windows everywhere, so I had to reach out to another vendor and have printable perforated vinyl donated.” This last-minute surprise didn’t require a major redesign, though. With the shop’s ONYX RIP software and Epson S80600, they were able to simply crop the existing file and alter the printer settings in order to change materials (from wrap vinyl to PPF) with the same files. Once everything was printed, Sunset Signs applied the laminate using their Seal 62 base laminator, then proceeded with a normal install. 

With the wrap completed, Eric Russell and Bret delivered the van to the school – and just in time. “Louie quickly put me to work handing out T-shirts to students who had worked hard to earn them,” Bret said. “It was awesome to see the kids’ expressions and a great experience to be a part of.”

Sunset Signs and Printing coordinated a group-donated wrap for a special-needs school.

Sunset Signs and Printing coordinated a group-donated wrap for a special-needs school.