My friends at Grape and Bean have won a small victory against the strict code regulations in Alexandria, VA and made it into USA Today for their troubles:
When David Gwathmey and his wife opened their coffee and wine bar in Alexandria, Va.’s “Old Town” section, he defied a ban on sidewalk signs to try to steer customers their way. Now that the city has eased its restriction, what Gwathmey did surreptitiously, he can do in the daylight. Already, he has seen the difference.
“It definitely drives foot traffic,” says Gwathmey, 38, noting that the sign may have boosted the number of weekend visitors to his shop, Grape + Bean, by 20%. “This is a very strong statement and action that supports (the city’s) claim to want to support small businesses.”
Alexandria is one of several communities that have lifted or are considering loosening restrictions on sidewalk signs and banners to help shore up businesses struggling to survive a recession that has slowed consumer spending and depleted municipal tax revenue.
Grape and Bean is one block off the main strip of King St. in Alexandria, so it was easy to miss without the sidewalk sign. Check them out if you’re in the area.