Something huge recently came to downtown Watertown, and Persona was a big part of it.
When the Friends of the Goss Opera House nonprofit group were looking for new signage for the majestic old building, they chose Persona. The main component was the exterior sign, a large gold-colored metal “G” that was installed on the front of the Goss June 30. Interior signage, also manufactured by Persona, was installed earlier.
The Goss Opera House’s main outdoor sign is a massive, 11-foot “G” topped with a gold crown. It is mounted near the roofline on the building’s diagonal facade overlooking the intersection of Kemp Avenue and South Maple Street.
“It’s really huge,” Persona Project Manager Aaron Schmillen said of the golden “G.” “It is going to be impressive.”
The sign was manufactured the week before at Persona’s Madison, S.D., facility. It was installed by workers from SEW Enterprises of Willmar, Minn.
All of the Goss signage was designed by Watertown native Adam Wiedman of Wiedman Design in Fargo, N.D.
“He did all of our logos and branding,” said Goss Executive Director Missy Sinner. “He also did the branding for Dempsey’s and for the Watertown Brewing Company.
“We had to answer a lot of questions about what we wanted to be. We want to feel regal and opulent; we want to feel put together, clean and safe. Those were the things we wanted the branding to reflect.”
Sinner said the designer wanted to create a brand identity that was so strong, people could see just the crown or even just the “G” and know it was the Goss.
The “G,” in fact, is in a custom font that Wiedman created just for the Goss, Sinner said.
Sinner said it was just over a year ago when she began the process of getting signs for the Goss.
“It’s the first thing I wanted to do,” she said. “I went to Persona and the other sign companies in town, because we wanted to have them done locally.
“But Persona was the best. We are just thrilled with everything they have done. It was an incredibly smooth process.”
In addition to the Goss signs, Persona is also doing interior and exterior signage for Maverick’s Steak House, which will operate inside the Goss.
The large exterior “G” sign measures 11 feet tall and just over 5 feet wide. Another sign, placed below the “G” between the second- and third-floor windows, reads “Goss Opera House.” That sign is 6 feet, 8 inches wide and 4 feet tall. Both are back-lit.
“Because the corner of our building is angled, no matter which way you are driving downtown, that sign will be a beacon,” Sinner said. “That’s exactly what we wanted.”
The Goss Opera House in 1889 by Charles Goss after a fire destroyed his original building. The building slowly went dark after the Great Depression, and by the late 1950s, it was largely forgotten. Attorney David Berry purchased the building in 2007 and began the restoration process. He sold the building to the Friends of the Goss nonprofit group in 2018.
Now the Goss Opera House is coming back to life. Every inch of the historic building was restored in an extensive $5 million renovation project, funded by community contributions.