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November 23, 2017, 08:35:41 am
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Author Topic: Business visibility in Downtown  (Read 2225 times)
godboko71
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« on: April 29, 2010, 01:29:06 pm »

TheArtist made a good point in another thread:

Took a stroll around the area the other day while a game was on and went hunting for this place.  If I hadn't read bout it on here, I wouldn't have found it and I doubt that a good majority of the people at the ballpark wouldn't know it existed either unless they had to walk past it on Greenwood going to and from parking,,, if they parked around that area.

I thought it very unfortunate that they don't have any visible sign on the ballpark side.  They need to fix that or they are going to lose a LOT of potential business.  Great location on the one hand, but the potential will be wasted if nobody knows its there and arent easily reminded of it.

On a similar note, we ate at Joe Mommas and sat in front in the outside area.  It was great to see all the people walking by going to the ballpark.  It was also nice to see how they would walk by, see in,then look up at the sign to see what the place was and go "oh, its a pizza place!".  For many of them it appeared and sounded as though it was the first time they had ever seen the place.

On the other hand people would walk right by Dilly Deli and not even notice it.  The group I was with when we walked past, I had to point it out to them and even then we had to make an effort to see if it was open.  The signs in the window were the only clue. Peeking in through the darkened windows I saw what looked to be one lone waitress standing in the restaurant. Meanwhile, Joe Mommas was hopping. My friends said,,, I wouldn't have even noticed that Dilly Deli place if you hadn't said anything, and even then didn't realize it was open.   

There are all kinds of signs on buildings downtown, most of which have nothing to do with restaurants or retail establishments and such, even on buildings that dont currently have anything in them.  I doubt most people pay any attention unless they are searching for a particular thing and will thus likely not take notice of everything else. If you dont look open and "alive" your pretty much only going to get those who know your there for some other reason.  Your not going to get those just passing by who dont already know about you.


Lees Bicycle, though it has a different crowd and people are likely to go to it specifically, also has a "visibility/getting noticed/is it open" problem imo.

I really want to see these businesses do well, but some of them are missing some VERY basic advertising and getting noticed strategies.

I have to agree, many businesses all over downtown have poor visibility to both pedestrians and motorists. The Blue Dome as a whole is doing one thing right by starting the BDMA which will help them spread the word about there businesses but the BDMA will do little to help me, the guy walking around downtown all the time find a place for a bite to eat or a good drink.

I love Dilly Deli and I talk to the manager every time I am in, I have talked allot about mailers and other such things but never really thought about bringing up the lack of a real street presents. I will have to next time I am.

Business owners: What do you think? Are we crazy, is there something limiting your ability to have a street presents?

My Fellow Common man: What are some things that would help you know a business is there and that its... open?
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custosnox
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2010, 01:35:25 pm »

I was eating at Webers the other day, and while not downtown, the thoughts I had on their setup could apply for downtown as well.  I couldn't help thinking that if they faced the business opening towards the street and opened up the front area more with windows and seating that it would be a lot more inviting.  Driving down Brookside afterwards I noticed one bar that had no windows, a plain face wall and just a door.  This seemed to be a bad idea to me.  To attract people as they pass by, which is what is needed downtown, I would think that an open face that allow people on the outside to visually connect with what is on the inside is a must.  Dark windows, drawn down shades and hard walls seem to give the message of "Go Away".  Really visible signage really helps as well Wink
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Townsend
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 01:39:29 pm »

I believe alot of districts have rules about signage.

I was under the impression that Brookside was strict about any signage facing out over their businesses so that they were facing oncoming traffic.  I thought about that last night while in Keo last night.  QT and Blockbuster were the only ones I saw.

I think Cherry street is the same way.
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TheTed
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2010, 01:42:39 pm »

There are at least three places in the middle of downtown with giant "Now open" banners visible from a block away. These places are open like 15 hours a week, so the overwhelming odds are they're not open during vast majority of normal human waking hours.

Maybe some places like the Dilly Deli could have some big now open signs. Doesn't the Dilly Deli have some type of sandwich board on the sidewalk out front? Their darkened windows are definitely a problem, as are their ever-changing hours. I haven't been there much recently just because I hate wasting my time with some place that changed their hours or decided to close early today, which seems to be a major problem downtown.

Dilly Deli needs a bigger sign, and I don't even understand the darkened windows. Shades would've worked better. Maybe their patio should be more open to the street, as well.

Joe Momma's has got it down: be visible with signs and activity visible from the street (the kitchen and the patio area). Don't jerk around with your hours. Don't close early or stop serving food 30 minutes before closing time, etc.
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godboko71
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2010, 01:53:58 pm »

Yes playing with hours is bad, but I guess its better then going under because of costs. Though as our economic conditions improve I have high hopes that Dilly Deli and others like it go back to there extended hours instead of the limit hours they had before just recently.

I agree opening Dily Deli like Joe Momma's would be nice, though I understand most of the afternoon/evening it can be hard on customers eyes. Sadly the layout of Dilly Deli isn't right to be opened up much.

As for open signs, I have gotten tot he point I hate them, Most open Signs now have the business hours on them and if the open part is not light the hours don't show (poor design I guess) and even when thats not the case, who ever closes up normally forgets to turn the open sign off.

I like Joe Momma's sign but I would not want to see it on every business, though better signage is a most if we are going to increase business visibility.
I was eating at Webers the other day, and while not downtown, the thoughts I had on their setup could apply for downtown as well.  I couldn't help thinking that if they faced the business opening towards the street and opened up the front area more with windows and seating that it would be a lot more inviting.  Driving down Brookside afterwards I noticed one bar that had no windows, a plain face wall and just a door.  This seemed to be a bad idea to me.  To attract people as they pass by, which is what is needed downtown, I would think that an open face that allow people on the outside to visually connect with what is on the inside is a must.  Dark windows, drawn down shades and hard walls seem to give the message of "Go Away".  Really visible signage really helps as well Wink

Why I kept the scope narrow your correct, these issues apply to any of our walkable districts.
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2010, 02:01:30 pm »

I believe Dilly Deli will be helped significantly by the bowling alley next door.

If their patio is used to its full potential then they'd do great over the warmer months.
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2010, 09:39:27 pm »

I believe Dilly Deli will be helped significantly by the bowling alley next door.

If their patio is used to its full potential then they'd do great over the warmer months.

Where is the patio, on the 3rd St. side?  There is a weed-infested alley with a gate on the Elgin side next to the future bowling alley that could be a cool space if they cleaned it up.

I will add that putting menus for restaurants on the exterior near the front door is a common practice in walkable districts.  You see this on some restaurants in Brookside, maybe a couple in downtown and Cherry Street.  This helps people walking around figure out which restaurant looks the best.
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CharlieSheen
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2010, 09:02:59 am »

Dilly Deli stops serving food early?
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TheTed
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2010, 12:27:50 pm »

Dilly Deli stops serving food early?
Not anymore, but during the winter they changed their hours to close at 4pm daily, I think. Of course they didn't update the hours on the website for a month or more, so I wasted a trip there.

Now that spring is here, they've re-extended their hours.

And that patio is a giant improvement from when it was 1974, but that's not saying much. The patios downtown are getting better (nice second deck at Hunt Club), but there's still no marquee beer garden, the kind with a permanent outdoor bar, some TVs, fountains, trees, potted plants, etc.

Basically a major investment. Doesn't seem too much to ask for a downtown bar owner to do that. Every other city in the southern half of the US seems to have better outdoor bar/restaurant spaces.
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BKDotCom
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2010, 12:39:38 pm »

On the subject of visibility downtown...
I thing Yokozuna suffers the same problem that Dilly Deli does:
a)  I can't tell there's a restaurant there.
b)  It appears closed.
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2010, 12:44:49 pm »

On the subject of visibility downtown...
I thing Yokozuna suffers the same problem that Dilly Deli does:
a)  I can't tell there's a restaurant there.
b)  It appears closed.

I believe I heard Yokozuna is putting up a lighted rooftop sign.
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cynical
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2010, 01:19:42 pm »

WRT Dilly Deli, that is what the ordinance legalizing rooftop signs is about.
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Floyd
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2010, 09:45:36 am »

Any developments on this? 
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sgrizzle
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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2010, 12:00:08 pm »

Any developments on this?  

Boomtown and Lee's both hung neon signs with at least some minor bit of roofline projection. More are planned, although you'll see them on new businesses more than existing.

I think blue dome diner should stick to diner food and put a giant blue neon sign that just says "DINER" on the roof. I know the owner likes to make fancy meals, but that is why some people have more than one restaurant.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 12:01:41 pm by sgrizzle » Logged
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