Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Brief History of Vinyl Graphics and the Signage Industry

Since 2002, Mike Loftus has served as the president of MLE, a middle-market company that provides branding services. A major part of MLE’s business involves the design, creation, and installation of large-format digitally printed branding material inside or outside of commercial shops. Mike Loftus has a strong passion for vinyl graphics and dedicates a great deal of time to learning about new, cutting-edge techniques, as well as the history of this industry.

Machines called vinyl plotters are used to cut graphics on vinyl sheets that have an adhesive backing. Since the mid-1990s, this technology has been the main staple of sign production. Only a few decades ago, most signs were handmade or painted. The first vinyl plotter was made in the early 1980s, but the manufacturer retailed it for $10,000. Once personal computers became more popular in the 1990s, other companies began offering more affordable machines.

Toward the end of the 1990s, hybrid plotters became commercially available. These machines printed full-color images on vinyl, which meant that customers no longer had to choose between a few colors. Today, most companies use cut vinyl and digital printing to produce cost-effective signs that require much less time than in decades past.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Examples of Great Grilled Desserts

Founder and president of MLE, Inc., Mike Loftus oversees and finances all operations at the merchandising and sign solutions company. Outside of MLE, Mike Loftus loves grilling; he grills everything, from breakfast dishes to desserts. When most people think of grilling, they think of grilled steaks or chicken, but there are actually several desserts that can easily be made on the grill. Following are just a few examples of grilled desserts:

- Skillet pie: Though it takes roughly two hours to cook, a grilled skillet pie is great for showcasing some seasonal fruits. The grill creates a golden brown pie crust that is still tender and mixes perfectly with some ice cream or whipped cream.

- Skillet grunt: A classic dessert in the United States, grunt is a combination of dough topping and fruit stew. When made in a skillet, it can easily be cooked on a grill while everyone is enjoying the main course.

- Peach melba: Another well-known dessert, peach melba can easily be adapted to the grill. Grilling the peach halves before topping them with ice cream and puree helps caramelize the fruit while giving it a unique grilled flavor.

- Banana bites: Perfect for kids, grilled banana bites sandwich lightly charred chunks of banana, marshmallow, chocolate, and peanut butter in small rolls. The dessert takes around 10 minutes to make and is a simple way to finish off an outdoor meal.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Properly Caring for a Dachshund


Mike Loftus has spent the past 14 years leading the merchandising and sign solutions company MLE, Inc. as president. When he’s not busy with his responsibilities at MLE, Mike Loftus enjoys spending time with his family and pets. He and his wife have three children, a jack russell, two great danes, and a dachshund.

Dachshunds are friendly and loving dogs, but as with any breed, they require a bit of personalized care.

Most dachshunds have either wirehaired, smooth, or longhaired coats. Typically, dachshund owners can get away with occasional grooming for medium-length coats. As the length of their coat increases, so does the need for regular grooming. Grooming can often be done at home, but it must include regular nail trimming and ear checks.

Dachshunds’ teeth should also be brushed regularly. Some owners may decide to brush their dog’s teeth every day, but the actual length of time between brushing can be determined by a veterinarian.

Beyond general grooming requirements, dachshunds also require specific health care. As with other breeds, there is a risk of dachshunds becoming overweight. To prevent this, owners should discuss what sort of feeding guidelines are needed for their dog because some dachshunds may have different digestive needs.

Further, they need some exercise to stay happy and healthy. Due to their short stature, dachshunds are prone to back issues, especially if they are overweight.

In addition to regulating food and exercise, owners should keep their dachshunds from climbing up and down stairs too often and jumping on furniture, since both activities may strain their backs.