3OYS: Valley businesswoman finally gets company sign she ordered

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- It's a small businesses that just opened in a big city and Barbara Cassata is the proud new owner.

"Well, I opened Oct. 1," she said with a big smile.

The Phoenix business, Creating Magic, specializes in nail and hair services. But it was pretty difficult to find Cassata's new salon when there was absolutely no signage outside.

"Do you know how much business drives by that don't see the sign? They don't even know we're here," she said.

Cassata said she hired X-Treme Illusion Grafic back in January to make and install a sign.

In fact, she even handed over $1,900 in advance, which was half of the total price for the sign.

Cassata then received a computer-generated picture of what her sign would look like. Months later, the real sign had not been delivered.

To make matters worse, she said the man she gave the money to repeatedly ignored her phone calls.

"He would text ... and call me and say, 'I'll be right over to talk about it' and he would never show," Cassata told 3 On Your Side.

3 On Your Side got involved and discovered the sign company and its owner are not licensed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors as required by law. Also, the sign company's address on the contract is either incorrect or does not exist.

However, after we started poking around X-Treme Illusion Grafic, the owner, Joel Lopez, immediately put up Cassata's sign. But even though it was installed, the lettering didn't appear to be centered and it looked crooked in spots.

"The arc isn't right. The 'I' is supposed to be black, the stars are supposed to be red, and it's not hooked up to any electricity," she explained.

Lopez showed up at Cassata's business at my request.

This time, he claimed he would do the job right. That's good, since he's already been paid $1,900 for a job he technically shouldn't be doing in the first place.

While he was there, I wanted to know more about him and his business. Lopez told me he does not install many signs. In fact, he says he does about one a month.

He also indicated all of his signs are fabricated by a another company but that he is the one who installs the signs like Cassata's.

I also wanted to know more about his lack of licensing. Every time I told him he is not licensed, he kept insisting that he is. Lopez eventually acknowledged that he is not licensed.

As for why it's taken him four long months to install Cassata's sign, Lopez blamed the process of obtaining a permit to hang the sign.

He also added that despite the lengthy wait, he always intended on finishing the job.

Lopez has finally completed the rest of the job.

Cassata said she couldn't be happier that the sign is not only installed, but it's straight and hooked up to electricity so customers can find her store at night.

And the sign appears to be working. She said business has picked up, and clients have told her they didn't know she was even there.

Cassata said she wonders if she ever would have received her sign if she hadn't contacted 3 On Your Side.

"I'd like to thank Gary Harper and his crew. Thank you so much."