Let There Be Lights

by Oct 10, 2023Business, South Brunswick

Liz and Burke Shuford, owners of Alpha-Lit Carolina Coast, illuminate special events from Oriental to Calabash.

Have you ever imagined seeing your name in lights? That is just what Liz and Burke Shuford are doing for their customers.

“We take our marquee letters to weddings, birthday parties, graduation celebrations and baby showers,” Burke says. “We spell out whatever you want. When guests arrive and see our letters all lit up, it really creates that WOW factor.”

The Shufords are originally from Raleigh. Burke worked as a home inspector, and Liz had her own event business, creating balloon bouquets for family and friends. The couple also co-owned Alpha-Lit in Raleigh.

Their goal was to someday live by the beach.

“We knew we wanted to move to the coast, we just love this area,” Liz says. “The market in Sunset Beach was open, so we were excited to make the move.”

In 2021 the Shufords bought a franchise from Alpha-Lit Marquee Letters. Their company, Alpha-Lit Carolina Coast, provides the highest quality marquee letters to customize special events along the coast from Oriental to Calabash. It is their goal to make their customers’ celebrations memorable and unique.

Owners Alpha Lit Letters

Alpha-Lit Marquee Letters was founded in 2019 by Makenzie and Dan Skipper in Dallas, Texas. Dan is an offensive lineman for the Detroit Lions. During the off-season, he works with Mackenzie to run their company and deliver letters to events. The Skippers have now expanded their business to more than 120 locations nationwide.

Mackenzie Skipper has years of experience in the event industry. It was her dream to own her own event business and to help others become successful business owners.

“She’s so amazing to work with,” Liz says. “She recognizes the importance of being there for all the special life moments and the significance of making sure the person feels special.”

Whether it is a wedding proposal or a corporate event, Alpha-Lit Carolina Coast can make any occasion feel special.

“We took letters to a car dealership that was celebrating an anniversary,” Liz says. “They displayed ‘50 YEARS’ all lit up for 24 hours each day for a month. It was really impactful to their customers and the community!”

Special Occasion Lit Letters

You will find Alpha-Lit Carolina Coast at several events along the coast, including the King Mackerel Tournament, Dogwood Festival and Ocean Isle Beach Oyster Festival.

“You walk into the event and it’s a statement piece,” Burke says. “Everyone’s reaction is great!”

The Shufords also partner with many large events, including the Keli Wagner Lady Angler Tournament in Morehead City. This one-day tournament is one of the largest ladies-only fishing events in the world.

Many of their clientele are returning customers.

“We get to be part of their wedding day,” Liz says. “Then they call us again when they have children. There are birthdays and graduation parties. We have a lot of customers that we do several events for each year.”

And there are occasionally things that do not go quite as planned.

“We set up once for an event at a university and we went back to pick up the letters the next day and found that there was one letter missing,” Liz says with a laugh. “We have also set up letters stacked several feet high and the wind has knocked them over.”

Alpha Lit Letters Special Occasion

The Shufords’ business requires a lot of traveling and attention to detail. They keep duplicate sets of letters in stock and deliver to anyone in their service area. But some requests require them to reach out for support. “Different franchises can lean on each other. If we need to borrow a letter, we can work hand-in-hand with them to get what we need,” Burke says.

Plans for the future include expansion to the north. “We plan to grow the business and add some staff who can help us in the Wilmington area,” Burke says. “We will have another set of letters and have them kept farther north to serve those customers.”

The Shufords are excited to spread the word about Alpha-Lit Carolina Coast and the work they do.

“We would love to get more business in Southport and Oak Island. We want to get the word out that we are here and we are lighting it up with Alpha-Lit.”

Want to customize your event?
Alpha-Lit Carolina Coast
(919) 740-3660