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Ormond Beach Observer Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 3 months ago

Car tag artist branches into bamboo art

Growth of the plant in his yard led to a new business.
by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor

After 42 years in the Atlanta area, Willie Jackson has brought his custom car tag business to Ormond Beach, and he also has something new to offer.

In addition to tags with personalized messages, he also offers hand-carved, lighted bamboo for home décor at his shop, Custom Auto Tags, 344 S. Yonge St.

A wide array of signs and license tags can be seen at the shop, with messages such as sports teams, flags, slogans, fraternities, nature scenes, car models or unique, customized designs.

Ormond Beach resident Don Williamson, who used to be in the small sign and tag business locally, admires Jackson’s skill.

“I know quality and interesting work,” Williamson said. “Willie does custom car tags cutting the vinyl by hand, something that I had to rely on a computer to do.”

Jackson also hand paints designs in addition to using vinyl.

Jackson retired to Palm Coast, but he wants to stay busy so opened the shop. He’s doing what he loves, plus gets to interact with customers.

“I love people,” he said.




Jackson said he planted one stalk of bamboo at his Atlanta home, not knowing anything about the plant, so he was surprised when it took over his yard. He decided to figure something to do with them and started carving designs with a jigsaw. He adds battery operated candles that flicker

“They are beautiful at night,” he said.

He cut bamboo stalks in sections from his Atlanta home to bring to Ormond Beach and has enough to last for a long time. But he can go back and get more, if needed.

He’s going to be displaying the creations at a monthly craft show in St. Augustine.

He said that he never considered himself an artist until recently.

“I now have an artistic vision,” he said. “Ideas can come from anywhere.”




After going to the Art Institute of Atlanta for a couple of years, and working in a sign shop, he decided to open his own business 42 years ago. It was a struggle at first, but using principles he learned during a stint as an Amway distributor, such as setting goals, he made it work.

It took a lot of knocking on doors and perseverance. He said it was a business that wasn’t supposed to work.

“Plant a positive seed in your subconscious.”

WILLIE JACKSON, on developing a successful attitude

“I didn’t know of any full-time tag businesses,” he said. He also painted window signs to get started.

He had waited three weeks after starting the business before quitting at the sign shop. He was nervous and had to work up to it.

“I told myself if I didn’t do it now, I never would, so I walked right into the office,” he said.

After giving his notice, his anxiety about quitting was released and he’s never looked back.

In Atlanta, he would talk to students in schools on career day. He told them to set a goal with a date, even including the time of day. Then, reset the goal if it’s not accomplished. Another important point, he said, is to have a positive attitude.

“Plant a positive seed in your subconscious,” he said.

Jackson said he had wanted to move to Florida for a long time, and it finally became possible.

“I’m just very blessed,” he said.

Visit or call 404-289-0078.


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