Reader Dan Johnson, from the Main Street Mall and Perkins Pizza Factory in Perkins, Oklahoma, asked about getting noticed when you're in the middle of the block. With a row of brick storefronts, it can be tough to stand out!

Traverse City
When you're one business on a long block,
how can you stand out?
This block is in Traverse City, Michigan. 

He writes: "I am considering the purchase and installation of an LED sign, but my building is located in an old downtown area--in fact it is a National Historic Register Historic District (although my building was not a qualifying building when the designation took place).
I don't want to upset the apple cart and stand out like a sore thumb downtown, but I sure need to get my business noticed, as it is in the middle of the block and otherwise rather easy to miss.
Do you know if this has been done successfully elsewhere? City ordinance does not prevent it, and we are no longer a Main Street community. Any advice? Thanks!" 


I can share some advice from Scott Day who did a session on "50 ideas for retailers under $50." He said you shouldn't even need an open sign, because the whole front of your store makes it ultra clear that you are open. You might open the front door or set out special exterior displays to make it obvious. He showed an example of using a garden gate with a chalkboard signboard attached that one place used as a sidewalk display. For a pizza place, how about a little table with a red/white check table cloth that sits out when you're open? Something like that. The rest of Scott's ideas are here: Small Town Retail Ideas Part 1.

Traverse City
One store in that Traverse City block, Cherry Republic,
uses a sidewalk display to show they are
open for business. 

A couple of other ideas occurred while brainstorming with my husband about this question:

How about a pic of your building right on the front page of your website? That way when people come looking for you, it will be easier for them to pick out which place you are even in the middle of the block.

How about a cooperative project with a neighboring business or the guy at the end of the block? A simple A frame sign could advertise both places, and draw people down the block.

What about you? How do you use your exterior or window space to get noticed?