A Sample of a Perforated Window Display* Project
Jay Williams Design Company Creates a Dramatic Window Display
Highlighting Local History.
August 23, 2015
Jay Williams, owner of the Jay Williams Design Company in Beltsville, Maryland and Bob Mignon, owner of Minuteman Press of Laurel worked together to create a dramatic window display of local history at the Minuteman Press's storefront on Main Street, in Laurel, Maryland. 

In 1994, Bob started his printing business in Beltsville, Maryland where he occupied that space for 19 years. Jay started his graphic design company in 1979 and moved his business to Beltsville in 1990, where he has lived since 1975. The two men worked together as business associates and have become good friends. Bob and Jay are among the founders of the Greater Beltsville Business Association, established in 2010 and both have served on the association's board of directors.

In 2000, Bob expanded his printing company by occupying a historic building, circa 1885, on Main Street in Laurel, Maryland. 13 years later in November 2013 he consolidated both of his locations to this historic building. When he undertook that move Bob conceived of the idea of utilizing his large storefront windows for something special, departing from the usual product and services advertisement displays.  Together he and Jay decided to create a window design that would promote the historic aspects of the region by selecting several prominent historic images to aesthetically, tastefully bring attention to prominent historic sites in the area.  

The project presented a challenge to Jay to find only five images out of more than 45 possible historic places to choose from in and around the local area.  Karen Lubieniecki (karenlub@aol.com) of the Laurel Historical Society at the Laurel Museum contributed her expertise and most of the images and information for the selected historical sites. Jay also obtained some information from the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore for the historic train stop on Main Street.

Interestingly, while Jay worked on the design there was a fortuitous meeting with a former prominent Laurel family. On August 20, 2014 Bob noticed a small group of onlookers across the street from his office on Main Street. Bob, ever the friendly greeter, went out to chat with the group looking at and discussing his building. He soon discovered that Shirley Ellis Siegel, age 90, was visiting with her sons to reminisce about the house she grew up in during the 1920s. 

Bob invited them inside to see the interior and to discuss various aspects of the Ellis Food Market, which had once occupied his building.  Shirley’s parents, Edward P. Ellis and his wife Ida, had immigrated to America from Russia and lived in Ellicott City before settling in Laurel in 1920 to start their grocery store.  The Ellis family served the local area for many years thereafter. Shirley’s sons supplied family photos from New York, Florida and California of the Ellis Food Market for the proposed window display. One photo is of Shirley, age 2, held in her mother’s arms. Jay used that photo, as well as two others from the Ellis family collection, in a part of his overall window display design and production.

At the end of Prohibition in
1933, the Ellis Food Market was the first store to introduce beer, liquor and wine in the Laurel area. Edward Ellis became a central figure in the Laurel business community.  Earlier, in 1932, he was one of the founding and charter members of today’s Laurel Lion’s Club.

Jay’s design also includes historic images of the Laurel Railroad Station, built in 1884, and coincidentally the “Save Our Stop” campaign was a current effort by residents and others to prevent the station from being moved one mile north to Laurel Park. Jay was not aware of the “Save Our Stop” campaign when he included the images of the station in his design. The display points out the importance of the station to local history and helped to draw further attention to the issue and to hopefully save the station stop.  For information about this campaign, contact H. Edward Ricks, president of the Laurel City Council at 301-725-5300 (ericks@laurel.md.us).

The window design can be viewed anytime from the outside at 335 Main Street, Laurel, Maryland. For information about the window display of local historic places contact Jay Williams at 301-937-8633 (jwdc@jwdc.com).

The top photo is this historic building today showing the storefront window graphics promoting local historic places using our perforated images.

The bottom circa 1933 photo shows the storefront of the then, Ellis Food Market. Owners Edward and Ida Ellis on the right.

Click here to see an
enlargement of this window project.

Click on these five images we used on this project
to see them in more detail. Also the see
Identification panels that we had placed
on each of the five images.

*A perforated window displays has a
distinct feature. Looking from the
inside you can see clearly to the outside
through a very lightly tinted window and
those on the outside only see what
appears to be the image on the window.
Below is the wording at the top
of the Ellis Store image so it
can be more easily read.

The photos below were provided to us by Shirley Ellis Siegel who, at the age of 90 in 2014, stopped by here with her sons to visit. The small 1925 photo shows Ida Ellis holding her daughter, Shirley, as a baby. Along side are Shirley’s siblings Bertha and Leon. Leon Ellis took over the store’s business soon after WWII until 1955.

The larger photo below shows the owners, Edward P. Ellis and his wife Ida, inside their early grosery store. Edward became a central figure in the Laurel business community and in 1932, he was one of the founding charter members of today’s Laurel Lion’s Club.