Introduction to NOAZ



Phil Keesee, like his father, Larry, worked for SmithCraft Custom Architectural Signage in Phoenix. Larry directed the art department, joining after his own sign shop, Graphics Hardware, was purchased. Phil was brought up around the sign business and began working at SmithCraft part-time when he was 15. After completing his education, Phil continued there, eventually managing graphics production.

Phil and his wife were blessed with a daughter in 1995, followed by a set of twin boys in 1997. When the boys were born, the Keesee family decided it was time to leave the metro Phoenix area and look for a smaller, more rural community to raise their family. They considered Colorado, where Phil’s in-laws lived.

With some trepidation, Phil broke the news of his impending departure to the owners of SmithCraft. Unbeknownst to Phil, at the same time, leadership at SmithCraft looked to expand operations to include a second location. A joint decision was made for Phil to spearhead that effort as the general manager of a new shop in Flagstaff.

In June of 1998, NOAZ opened its doors. Soon thereafter, Hillarie, then a recent graduate of NAU, was recruited from her local job in advertising. Hillarie also had a close family connection to SmithCraft. Her late father, Bert Nickerson, was an owner. Their moniker is referenced in our corporate name “F & N Enterprises, Inc.”

NOAZ took root. Installers, graphic artists, and fabricators joined the team. The sum of their efforts and talents are the business today.

Our story is about a second generation of sign people questioning the “bigger is better” mentality, striking out and heading north. Nearing its twentieth year, NOAZ continues as a testament to local entrepreneurship and the value of a place where people find their connection and purpose.