Boulder Designs: Messages Written in Stone

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Shirley Molapisi-Corpe and her husband Ed have had a successful sign business, but over time, they noticed something was changing. Customers were asking for signs that fit in with nature. The catchy “Eat at Joe’s” in bright colors seems to be making way for a more subtle, natural look that would stand out … but blend in. With this in mind, Shirley decided to buy a franchise in which signs could be put on stone–that’s about as natural as you can get! The bottle is tipped into the stone and is dispensed with a spigot.

Her showroom on Albemarle is stocked with an amazing array of choices, from the very small engraved stone business card holder to the colossal signs used by industry with their company’s name and logo. One of her best sellers is an engraved stone beverage dispenser, so often bought for gift giving.

Address, company name or memorial

What is it about stone the attracts so many customers? “I think it’s the permanence of it–you know it will be there long after you are gone.” Customers can choose the size, shape, and color of the finished product. “We can do it all,” Shirley said, “from design to installation.”

They also offer garden stones, address markers, personalized driveways and walkways, and something that is becoming increasingly popular, pet memorials. “It seems people don’t simply want to just bury a pet anymore without some way to commemorate it,” Shirley said. “That was a member of the family.”

To memorialize a person or a place

In addition to the above, her showroom features a square, outdoor fire pit that can be personalized and set up with gas, firewood, or propane–an amazing focal point for a back yard. Garden stepping stones can be engraved with words of encouragement (Believe! Live! Love!) or colorful pictures of birds. Especially attractive was a stone with our state’s bird, the cardinal, in bright, eye catching red.

What was something unusual that a customer wanted in stone? “Someone asked if we could make a ping pong table of stone,” Shirley laughed. “That would really be heavy!”

Outdoor fire pit

What does Shirley like best about her business?  “I like that it’s unique,” she said, “It seems people are drawn to look at it.” She said she loves that “Aha!” moment when the customer sees the finished product and knows it will be a lasting tribute.

Personalized Beverage Dispenser

Boulder Design’s showroom is at 668 Albemarle Road; however, her Boulder Designs product can also be ordered on line through In the end, a sign is just a sign, but now you can do something, well … bolder. Pun intended.

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