MADE IN NEVADA: Accents On Glass

RENO, NV (KOLO) - Accents on Glass is gaining in popularity among women who want to decorate their homes with personalized signs to express their love for family and relationships. But this local sign making business also has a line of gag signs that is sure to make your house guests laugh.

Kimberly Thomas holding a custom made wedding sign in her Meadowood Mall store called Cal Neva Handmade.

Owner, Kimberly Thomas, sells about 1,000 signs a month. But the road to this point has taken many unexpected twists and turns.

It began in the year 1999 when Kimberly and her husband Brian Thomas launched a furniture making business. The two made and sold rustic benches, shelves, and hutches made of pine. Then the economic recession in 2008 hit and that's when a customer wanted a special sign on her pantry. Her request prompted Kimberly to think about a new business opportunity.

"I looked at my husband when it was all done and I said, 'Why don't we take that door, flip it sideways and put sayings across there? Maybe it'll sell,'" Kimberly said.

Accents On Glass was born. The perfect transition for Kimberly and her family to survive the recession. She found a product with a price point people would buy during difficult financial times. Then the second hard blow came a few years later.

Kimberly remembers is clearly, "We were at a show in April of 2013 down in the Los Angeles area and he (her husband Brian) came in and was noticeably yellow and itching and I sent him to the hospital and he was diagnosed with liver cancer."

Brian died exactly six months to the day later in November. The blow was almost more than Kimberly could bear, but what are the odds? Kimberly can't make furniture on her own. The first hardship set her up perfectly to provide for herself after her husband's untimely death, but she admits without him she struggled harder than ever before, because he was no longer there to carry out the many responsibilities he was responsible for.

Kimberly started to find her own way alone when she drove from her Lincoln, California headquarters to Reno, Nevada for an art show.

"I was approached by Meadowood Mall to open a store and I said, 'Ah I don't know'...I decided I'd bring my RV up and live in an RV Park so I lived in an RV Park for a couple months," Kimberly said.

She eventually bought a house and fell in love with the people of northern Nevada. She now calls them her friends and neighbors because she says the people living in the Silver State are generally kind and down to earth.

Additionally her son who finished playing college football in 2018 decided to help his mother and her now booming business.

"It's great. It's getting back to having a family again," said Accents On Glass co-owner and Kimberly's son, Jacob Pluta.

"It's allowed us to get really, really close and really come together. The funnest part is just coming together on something. Figuring out, like how do you want to do this?" Jacob said.

He says he's working between 60 and 70 hours a week making frames at the company's Sparks shop.

"What drives you to work so hard?" asked KOLO 8 News Now's, Noah Bond. "To try to see my mom really be happy," Jacob responded.

Kimberly says business is booming and has doubled since the comeback in 2017. She says growth is only speeding up.

Kim and her son Jacob also have a store at Meadowood Mall called Cal Neva Handmade. You can get a custom made sign there or buy a pre-made sign at that location. It's open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The store is also filled with other Made in Nevada products like baby clothing, crafts and souvenirs.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019