You have probably noticed the beautiful and sometimes whimsical car wraps while driving through town. Wrapping cars is one of the many talents of Jeff Cloud, owner of Lightning Graphics Inc.
Cloud, who was born and raised in Blountstown, started creating and selling art in the third grade. When he was only 13, Cloud built a stained glass window for Angle Street Pentecostal Church and won a scholarship with National Teen Talent Competition. Only two years later, his mother dropped him off daily, during the summer, at Golden’s Drugstore in Blountstown, where he designed and sold his airbrush artwork.
At 16, Cloud began working at Airbrush Island in Panama City Beach, during the summers. This allowed him time to finish high school and attend Chipola College. Cloud continued working as an airbrush artist at Panama City Mall in a business called T-shirts Plus, year round. It wasn’t long before he became interested in screen printing. He moved to Nashville, where he opened an airbrush shop in Rivergate Mall. In 2003, Cloud decided to move back to the area to be closer to family. His original plans were to open a store in Wal-Mart, but instead he opened Cloud Designs in downtown Marianna.
At Cloud Designs, he began making vinyl signs, while he continued his screen printing and airbrushing. In 2007, he changed his business name to Lightning Graphics, which was indicative of the business’s growth — at lightning speed.
Now Cloud offers full-color digital printing, vehicle wraps, banners, color business cards, sales sheets, yard signs and permanent signs. Cloud and his staff can print large photos on canvas, and wallpaper with patterns, textures and photos. Cloud said his company has “wrapped more than 450 vehicles,” including cars, trucks, semis, boats, vans, RVs, jeeps, ATVs and airplanes. He added, “We cater to businesses in helping them develop a brand and business cards.” He can even assist with low-cost website development.
It is difficult to believe Cloud has time for much more with such a successful business, but he is a family man who enjoys carpentry. In fact, he built a theater inside his home. He is a member of Evangel Worship Center and enjoys helping schools and churches with signs, shirts and wall graphics.
Cloud also enjoys flying. Not surprisingly, he built his own airplane. “I’m hoping to expand to an aircraft painting business in the future at Marianna Municipal Airport,” Cloud shared. With a name like “Cloud” and a company named “Lightning Graphics,” what could be better?
Shop locally, support Marianna businesses and visit Lightning Graphics at 4505 Lafayette St., Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. For more information, call 850-482-3553. Also, take time to visit their Facebook page and website at www.myLGonline.com. Visit the City of Marianna’s website at http://www.mariannafl.city/335/New-Businesses-and-Other-Community-News to learn more about new businesses.
Kay Dennis, MBA, MPA, A.I.C.P., is the director of Municipal Development for the City of Marianna.