Retail trends change quickly. A well-made sign can last for 100 years. Blue Vue Shopping Center opened in 1957 and has seen more profitable days. Its freestanding sign, however, still looks magnificent. A Kansas City company, United Neon, built the porcelain-enamel-on-steel beauty. At night, its cool neon glow goes a long way to explaining nostalgia for the 1950s. The sign's longevity is a testament to pre-plastic construction materials. "You put quality into it, you get quality results," says David Pickett, president of United Neon, which became United Sign Corp. Pickett joined the family business after he got out of the Army in 1954. The first project he worked on? The sign atop the VFW national headquarters.