Sign spinners are at the five-minute car wash, the Smoothie King and new apartment complexes around Atlanta. Some of these spinners come from one company that values skill and integrity in the craft.
“For us, AArrow and sign spinning is much more than just a company,” said Max Durovic, founder of AArrow Sign Spinners. “It’s a sport and it’s a form of artistic expression.”
Max Durovic and his friends started AArrow in 2002 with a base in San Diego and in Washington, D.C. In high school, they were sign holders and noticed they got more attention spinning compared to just holding a sign. Today, AArrow employs over 2,500 people. They are located in most major cities in the United States and have international hubs as well. AArrow also hosts a yearly sign spinning championship.
While most spinners like the job because of its flexibility and because it’s well-paid (spinners can earn up to $20 an hour), the founders have done a good job developing a sign-spinning culture. They have “spinonyms” and a “tricktionary” of patented tricks like basic flip, Rings of Saturn, Bruce Lee, Buddha Spin and Chicken Wing Surprise.
Durovic and the AArrow staff want sign spinning to become not just an advertising method but an afterschool activity or a sport much like something that would appear in the X Games.
Flair aside, Durovic said AArrow is dedicated to youth employment.
“As we’ve grown the business, we’ve learned the social impact of having a job at a young age,” he said. “High school students that work part time are less like to engage in criminal activities, do drugs, become pregnant, and they become economically viable members of society and tax-paying citizens.”
AArrow’s been in Atlanta since 2010, but the business grew too quickly and the quality of service went down. Recently, however, they hired 21-year-old Tyler Cartwright as general manager to beef up the staff and grow the AArrow brand.
Cartwright hosts practices and performs audits on the spinners. He occasionally does recruitment and sales.
He’s enthusiastic about AArrow’s future in Atlanta, and is looking to hire more people so that there can be a unified team of spinners.
“Skaters can spot other skaters, musicians can spot other musicians, sign spinners can spot other sign spinners, even if they are not a sign spinner yet,” Cartwright said.
For him, spinning is a career, an art, a sport and a lifestyle.
“When sign spinners get together, it’s a really special thing because it doesn’t matter where you are from or what your past experiences have been,” he said. “If you’re a sign spinner, you have so much in common. It’s just a really unique thing. It’s something I haven’t experienced with anything else.”