With local businesses continuing to struggle during tough economic times, the need for advertising to drive revenues has increased. Last September, the Oro Valley Town Council unanimously voted to allow A-frame signs to be placed outside of businesses to help increase customer traffic.
Previously, such advertising was prohibited, largely for aesthetic reasons. To make for an easier transition, Oro Valley requires the A-frame to be professionally made, and they must comply with zoning code.
Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath said the Council’s vote reflects its desire to help businesses through the recession.
“In these tough economic times, we wanted to do everything in our power to offer a relief strategy for businesses,” he said.
Hiremath said the ruling is temporary, and will be up for review again in February of 2013. Still, he says that so far, the overall process has been a “win-win.”
“We have received a lot of positive responses from businesses by implementing this change,” he said.
John Piccoli, of the Ace Hardware on Tangerine Road and First Avenue, was one of those to speak up for businesses regarding outdoor advertising.
Piccoli said Oro Valley was earning a reputation as being “business unfriendly.” With the Council’s approval for outdoor advertising. Piccoli has since taken a lighter stance.
“The Council has a ways to go, but it is great that they are beginning to look out for local businesses,” he said.
Jenny Ritchie, owner of Trouvaille Salon and Spa in Oro Valley, has seen good results from the use of A-frame signs.
“We get between two and 15 walk-ins a week because of our sign,” she said. “We are fortunate to have a great location, but the signs have still really helped business. It is working out great for us.”
For businesses that are not as easily accessible to the public eye, A-frame signs are convenient since they can be placed closer to roadways to attract attention.
This has been the case with Sequel’s Upscale Resale.
“Our business is tucked away from easy visibility,” said store manager Angela Hansen. “A-frames are working out fabulously for us. We had them up before, but the Town had us take them down. We are thrilled to have them back. The signs have definitely increased business for us.”
While some companies have experienced similar results, other businesses are still not allowed to use A-frames due to rules and regulations in certain planned area developments.
“If there are two sets of entities, with Oro Valley allowing A-frames, but rules and regulations in the development area prohibit them, the stricter of the two rules are enforced,” said Hiremath. “It depends entirely on the location and the property owner.”
Hiremath said he has heard from various business owners who are upset they are not able to advertise with A-frame signs. While Hiremath said there is not much the Council can do, he believes a solution to the problem might come with increased communication.
“There seems to be a lack of awareness on the part of the property owners,” he said. “These property owners may not realize the Council supports the allowance of these signs. If the Council is trying to create a relief strategy for businesses in Oro Valley, landlords should be making the same exception.”
Businesses located in the Safeway shopping center on Tangerine and First Avenue are some of those which have faced obstacles with outdoor advertising.
Despite the complications, Hiremath sees the effort as a progressive step for Oro Valley’s economic future.
“This effort gives credence to the fact that Oro Valley businesses and the local government are in collaboration to help businesses succeed,” he said.
Permits for A-frame signs can be purchased for $50 annually from the Town.