When a Pier 1 Imports store opened in Germantown, TN (a suburb of Memphis) in 1991, it was granted a permit for a sign that faced west-bound traffic. However, no signage was visible to east-bound traffic. A few months after the store’s opening, sales were 25% below projections, despite typical promotions, advertising and direct mailings.
Pier 1 subsequently surveyed 200 shoppers, through a market-research firm, about having a second sign. The responses were the following.
Are the signs
helpful to you?
Does the sign affect
Does the sign
increase public safety?
Is the sign more of a public benefit
or a public nuisance?
Expert appraisal determined that the gross annual income for the store would be $1.2 million with the second sign, and $1,020,000 without it. Store officials stated that overhead and the cost of merchandise being sold was $1,020,000 so, without the second sign, the store would generate no profit.
As for the community itself, Pier 1 estimated that, without the second sign, it would pay, city, county and state taxes of $76,080. With the second sign and increased sales, it would pay $104,229. Thus the tax-revenue difference for the town would be $28,000. Presented with this evidence, Germantown officials readily granted a variance for the second sign. The full story about this variance appeared in the April 1992 issue of Signs of the Times magazine.