Digital signs popping up

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Coli Hunt programs a new digital sign for Joe’s Boot Shop on Mabry Drive. Hunt said the sign seems to be an attention-getter to passing traffic.

Sharna Johnson

A new breed of sign cropping up around town is downright moving.

In recent months, several businesses — from banks to car dealers, restaurants, furniture stores and more — have installed electronic signs with changing digital feeds, depicting everything from political advertisements to community events, time and temperature information and more.

And the newest additions show video clips such as speeding sports cars and cowboy hat creasing.

“I think it’s stopping people,” said Coli Hunt, who inputs data and creates video for a digital sign at Joe’s Boot Shop on Mabry Drive.

“I’ve had a bunch of comments.”

Hunt said the sign was installed about a week ago and has certainly attracted attention.

It was a concept the store toyed with for a while before taking the plunge and investing in the sign used to announce specials, play video, showcase products and give the time and temperature.

Laughing, owner Joe Rhodes said, “I’ll tell you in a year if it was expensive.”

Joe’s Mabry Drive neighbor Hamilton Ford recently installed a similar sign showcasing video car advertisements and community messages.

Curry County Events Center Manager Kevin Jolley said a digital text sign placed on Norris Street near Mabry Drive has been a benefit to the facility.

Though not as fancy as its private industry counterparts in the community and minus the video and photo functions, Jolley said the sign is a great way to reach passersby with event messages and other things.

“I think it’s a great idea. We get a lot of phone calls (generated by messages),” he said.

The sign offers the ability to fluctuate advertising messages through quick computer changes, he said, as opposed to more static methods of advertising.

Event staff loads a month of events onto the sign at the start of each month and makes changes throughout as new things come up, Jolley said.

“I think it’s worth it and I know that it’s a good way to advertise. It keeps the public notified,” he said. “It’s a lot of exposure.”

For Joes’ Boot Shop, positioned along a busy thoroughfare into Clovis, Hunt said there was concern about zoning regulations and the impact the signs would have on drivers.

Hunt said the store chose to position the sign closer to the top of an existing post out of consideration for drivers.

“We don’t want to blind drivers,” he said.

City Building Safety Director Pete Wilt said as long as signage meets size, location and installation permit requirements, there is no ordinance preventing video signs.

“As long as they’re not strobe with emergency flash colors like emergency vehicles (they’re all right),” he said.

And Wilt said their haven’t been any complaints from citizens.

Clovis Police Lt. Jim Schoeffel said while, “There’s nothing to say that the passengers in the vehicles can’t enjoy the signage,” drivers need to remember they need to pay attention to the road.

“The driver’s primary responsibility is the safe operation of their motor vehicle and anything that distracts from that could put the rest of us at risk,” he said, reminding that drivers can be cited for careless driving if they allow themselves to be distracted.