One local print shop is doing its part to pitch in during the recent trying times by helping local restaurants affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns.

Dataprint Initiative LLC is donating free 24-inch, full-color, two-sided yard signs for restaurants to post on their properties or stick in their windows to let customers know they are still open for carry-out and curb-side service, despite their dining rooms being shuttered.

“We did this because we have a lot of good friends in the restaurant business,” said Dataprint owner and president Dan Foster.

In an effort to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered all restaurant dining rooms in the state closed the afternoon of March 18.

No word has yet emerged as to when restaurants might reopen.

But to help restaurants now, Dataprint has provided nearly 30 free signs for local eateries, according to Foster. Local spots talking advantage of the signs include Big Eyed Fish, El Azteca, Wings Etc., Pizza Hut, and the Venice, among others.

Foster said if his firm were selling them, the signs would cost about $15 a piece, plus around $2 for the stands to hold them. He said the businesses have been grateful for his generosity.

“We’re just doing our part to help everyone get through this,” Foster said. “And some of these small places don’t really have the wherewithal to do this.

“I gave (a sign) to the owner of the Venice (restaurant, 2242 Goshen Road) yesterday,” Foster said, “and I thought he was going to cry.”

Foster said he knows the pain that restaurants are feeling right now. His business usually sees a production uptick this time of year because of signs, printed books and worksheets he normally creates for business conventions and corporate gatherings; however, many of those events have been canceled or postponed due to the virus.

Foster said word of his free-sign idea has spread quickly. One shop in New Jersey heard of his initiative and asked him if they could borrow the artwork necessary to produce similar signs for restaurants on the East Coast, as well.

Dataprint’s usual enterprise encompasses a varied range of print services, from wide-format printing to contour cutting and finishing, Foster said. Dataprint normally produces everything from point-of-purchase displays for retail stores, to business cards and stationery, mailings and brochures. The company, located at 1710 Dividend Road, has been operating in Fort Wayne since 2006.

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