Buy Local: Seeing opportunity and creativity in sea of road-side advertising
Some of the less than favorable qualities of State street are easier to spot. The traffic can back up and multiply at every red light during rush hours, creating lane shifters and cars waiting to turn in the median lane. The outlook can become just messy. Another downside could be the repetition of businesses, not only in number, but in lack of variety. Many of the same chain stores seem to be located every few blocks. It is a hectic place, but it can also be efficient and agreeable.
There are some surprising qualities about State street. For instance, if one of the overly abundant chain stores is busy, you can drive down, or up, to the next location. You also never need a watch or clock in your car because one of the plentiful billboards will likely tell you the time and temperature. Furthermore, the signs advertising each store can also be a treat. These signs can be anything from a simple name placard to a brightly colored neon. Many contain message boards below their titles reminding you of the daily specials. The boards come in two versions, electronic flashing texts and manually changeable letters, and they fight for your consideration. Pay particular attention to the low-tech version to see upside-down M's acting as W's and other much more creative letter substitutions. Messages seem to be a requirement at chain stores and independent shops alike, and if you actually read them, some signs have cheerful messages displayed.
Down in American Fork a small drive-up flower shop called Just Because Flowers and Gifts hopes you drive by their sign every week. The floral store displays different names offering people who share the moniker free flowers if they stop in. Employee Danielle Walter says Just Because started the messages for fun and the tradition has grown, as people anxiously hope to see their name grace the sign. Danielle adds that, "some people tell me they've waited up to four years to see their name." Sherry Killpack also works at the shop and says, “often times drivers stop to take their picture when their name is on the board.”
Your repetitive daily commute can become an ever-changing distraction, if you ignore some of the traffic and look closer at some of the signs. State street offers many chances to practice both of these suggestions. Remembering to appreciate the little stores sending you messages could leave you with a prize, making the rest of your drive a little more pleasant.
Just Because Flowers and Gifts
645 E. State Street
American Fork, UT 84003