They’ve never been allowed under town code, but many downtown businesses have been relying on A-frame or sandwich board signs to attract customers off the street and into the shops.
Now faced with uncertain economic times, the Camp Verde Town Council is going to allow the practice to continue on Main Street.
The council voted last week to allow the signs on Main Street between Arnold Street and General Crook Trail; the signs are still prohibited anywhere else inside town limits.
The code changes require that the businesses using the signs are liable for any problems that arise from putting them in the town-owned right of way. The code now also allows businesses to hang signs as large as 12 square-feet from the tops of buildings, provided that they conform to the town’s rural western design aesthetic, don’t project above the roof of the business and aren’t lit internally.
Jerry Tobish, owner of the Ancient Bear Gallery on Main Street, has been an ardent supporter of the use of A-frame signs.
He told the council that much of his business depends on the signs, and that customers have told him they’re why they stopped to shop.
Removing the signs would “absolutely kill” business for the town’s struggling merchants, Tobish said.
Tobish was joined by a host of other downtown business people speaking out in support of the signs.
The argument convinced the council; while they would eventually like to see the signs replaced by other means of advertising, the council felt that now is not the time.
Instead, Councilman Greg Elmer said that more work should be done to find ways to bring in more traffic from the I-17 and Hwy. 260 interchange.
Councilman Ron Smith said that if the signs prove to be a problem, the issue can be revisited in the future, possibly by a different council. In the meantime, the council should do what it can to help business, Smith said.
“Merchants in the downtown are more endangered than the bald eagle,” Smith said.
The signs will only be allowed during business hours and for other special town-sponsored events.