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On Oct. 14 in the afternoon between 1 and 3:30 p.m. the sandwich board sign out in front of my new business (Karen Wray Fine Art-Gallery and Studio at 2101 Trinity Drive, Suite B-2) was stolen. The sandwich board was not small. It is 36 inches high by 24 inches wide, made of white plastic with attached signs stating “Gallery / Open” in black print on yellow corrugated plastic. Earlier, on Sept. 11, this sign was outside with 10 balloons attached to the top, announcing the Arts Crawl that was taking place that evening. My husband and I walked outside for a moment when we noticed two boys approaching the sign; one boy removed a balloon from the sign and started walking away. After my husband shouted at him to put the balloon back, the boy turned back and reattached the balloon to the sign. Just because a sign is outside with balloons attached does not mean that the sign or the balloons are free to anyone walking by. Having just opened my business in March 2009, this sign was practically the only way to inform the public of my gallery’s existence, other than the banner attached to the north side of the building. This banner is not easily seen by traffic on Trinity Drive.
I decided to open my own gallery in Los Alamos after years of showing my work at art shows and at various businesses in town. Losing my best communication method so early in my business’ existence has hurt my ability to attract customers, something critical to a new business. Signs can make or break art shows, other events, and businesses. Advertising in newspapers and direct mail is not enough and is very expensive. If there are no signs posted on the day of the event, the chances of attracting business drop significantly. Since my sign has not reappeared, I have been forced to buy a replacement sign for about $166. This is a big expense for me. My gallery and other small businesses can’t afford to replace signs or other property every time someone thinks it would be fun to take them.
If anyone knows the whereabouts of this sign, please contact me. We need to discourage others from vandalizing businesses that are struggling to survive this bad economy. These local businesses are essential to our town’s survival and quality of life. Owners of our businesses are your friends and neighbors, so please be considerate and respect others’ property, even if it isn’t chained down.
Editor’s note: Karen, a Monitor ad rep. will be in touch. Multimedia advertising is not that expensive.