Monday, August 26, 2013

Meet the New Sign, Same as the Old Sign*

I suppose this sort of thing happens all over the country, if not the world. Unfortunately, I don't get out of town that much, so I have nothing to which to compare my new town of residence. I hope this isn't just some sort of College Town thing, but come to think of it, I don't recall seeing this happening in Former Home Town.

I'm speaking of the phenomenon of new businesses coming into an existing building and not removing the signage of their predecessors. Here are three examples:

This is an old church in downtown College Town. It's on the National Register of Historic Places, and it has had quite an interesting history. Back in the early 1980s, the building was desecularized and turned into a nightclub. No shit. Later is was turned back into a church, called St. Augustine's. The church opened a coffee shop, called Augie's, in what used to be their community center or rec room or whatever they called their more-modern attachment:

Not long ago the church closed the coffee shop, and either sold, rented or leased the space to a new Indian restaurant with an oddly similar name - Gogi's. Gogi's owners put a lot of work into putting up new awnings and signs and other nice touches, but for some reason they left one Augie's sign on the gable end of the structure which overlooks the Transient Center parking lot. Maybe they took a quick eye-level glance at that end of the building and saw nothing that needed fixing or changing? Maybe it's an homage to Augie's? I don't know!

An interesting aside about this one: There is some kind of rule in California (and hopefully in many other states, because it seems like good and sensible rule) against giving a business the same fictitious name as another already existing business. For example, in College Town there is a famous trio of restaurants (all under the same ownership) named Burger Hut. Once upon a time a nice man named Bo opened his own burger joint in Former Home Town. He may have meant no duplicity, but he called his place Bo's Burger Hut, perhaps thinking that the addition of his own name made it not a fictitious business name. Well, the original Burger Hut didn't like that, and Bo was forced to change his place's name to Bo's Burger Island.

So in College Town we have a couple of same-owner restaurants called Crazy Taco. Then we (briefly - shockingly briefly) had the place seen above: El Taco Loco. Wait, doesn't that mean "crazy taco"? Why, yes, yes it does. Do the rules about same names not apply when they're in different languages? Or does that have anything to do with El Taco Loco's short life? The world may never know.

The evanescent El Taco Loco had moved into a restaurant building formerly occupied by another short-lived place by the unlikely name of Paradise's Place:

The name didn't have anything to do with a northern California retirement mountain town which may or may not be near College Town. Instead, they seemed to be trying to apply a sort of tropical vacation island ambiance to average American diner food. It didn't work, especially since other than pictures of palm trees and beaches on the menus, all the other decor was typical diner: statues of chickens scattered about and that kind of crap. The food wasn't good, either. When my great Australian friend came to visit, we had breakfast there. He wanted to try real American food, but he couldn't even touch the gelatinous hamburger gravy on his biscuits. That may have had something to do with being colossally hungover.

Anyway, the significant thing about the two preceding pictures of signs on the same building is that they were taken on the same day. El Taco Loco never bothered to replace or at least cover up Paradise's Place's sign above the front door. Do restaurant owners have stiff necks that prevent them from looking up? Do they not own ladders? Are they afraid of heights? I don't know!

This last entry isn't really a sign - more like a decoration. The building used to house a tanning salon. There is a second story or attic space that is probably used for storage. The tanning salon owners had the great idea of covering the inside of the window above the front door with a painting of two tanned, buff, sunglasses-wearing, shirtless dudes supposedly looking out of said window and "wowing", presumably about all the tanned babes going in and out of the establishment.

The tanning salon was there for several years, and I always hated that painting - partly because it's crappy, and partly for the shallow, objectifying nature of it. And couldn't help having to see it because it also overlooks the Transient Center.

A few months ago the tanning salon closed, and a dodgy-looking tattoo parlor moved into the space. I thought that at last the horrible drawing would be removed, and indeed within a few weeks someone started to scrape the paint off of the window, but stopped after a few strokes. Several weeks later, another go was had, but not to completion, as seen above. Now the crappy drawing is almost indecipherable, and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with the current business.

Is this drawing made with some kind of super paint, and even the most hardy scraper has to quit after a few strokes? Are the tattoo people too busy being dodgy to focus on a simple task? Doesn't bode well for their attention to your body art. I don't know!

Come on, College Town small business owners - you can do better than this! You don't want Former Home Town to outdo you, do you?

*(Sorry, Goodtime Charlie - I had to do it, but here's a link)

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