The owner of the Dairy Queen on Wilton Drive says a provision in the city’s sign regulations is hurting her business and costing her money.
At the April 25 commission meeting, owner Lynn Lawrence and her daughter and business partner, Chandni, asked commissioners to do something that would allow her to get around the requirement which doesn’t allow a business owner to cover more than 10 percent of their windows with signs.
Commissioner Scott Newton said the reason for the limitation is so that police officers can see clearly into a business and make sure a robbery, assault or other crime is being committed.
“The signs are very important to our business,” Lynn said. She said that after a code enforcement officer made her take down some of her signs, she sold fewer items. One example are the “Royal Shakes.” She said she went from selling 10 a day to selling two a day. “We’re losing money.” Chandni explained that if customers don’t see the signs most of them don’t know the item advertised is available. “The posters that we took down, people were not ordering those products.”
One of those customers, Tim Evans, expressed support for Lynn and praised the service she and her staff offer. “I moved here because of that Dairy Queen. The place is a landmark,” Evans said. Commissioner Tom Green said he uses the Dairy Queen as a marker to give people directions.
According to Lawrence, her Dairy Queen was built in 1953 and is the oldest in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami Dade counties. It’s also one of only 40 Dairy Queen’s nationwide to be given an historical designation. The building has been designated a historical landmark by the Wilton Manors Historical Society. The first Dairy Queen nationwide opened in Illinois in 1940.
Fellow Wilton Drive business owner Nick Berry also expressed support for Dairy Queen. “We need to go back and look at our code. Put this on hold until we can change it.”
Mayor Gary Resnick said he’s open to changing the regulations but said people who have a problem with this sign code should have said something when it was being discussed and voted on by the commission.
“I’m just disappointed Dairy Queen did not come forward,” Resnick said.