Saturday, June 13, 2009

Signs - they are a-changin' ?

Seagrove.... Westmoore, to be more exact, boasts its first TOD or TODS or TODS signs. I'm not sure how to say that. TODS stands for Tourist Oriented Directional Sign. According to a brochure I downloaded from the website of the NC Department of Transportation, the signs are part of a program "intended to help tourists find businesses of substantial interest and thereby promote tourism in North Carolina," available since 2001 to those who qualify.

I saw one of the signs for the first time last night. It's blue in background with white letters, which lit up nicely when my car's headlights hit them, not that tourists need to know where pottery shops are at night.

It looks to be a couple hundred feet from the intersection where it directs you to turn left, or right if you're coming from the other direction.

Anyone can apply for a TODS, but there are regulations, like you have to have a restroom open to the public and you have to keep regular business hours. The business is responsible for the cost of the sign and a $200 annual fee. If you want to find out more, click here.

Used to be you could put up a sign for your pottery shop just about anywhere you wanted as long as you got permission from the landowner, but when the state designated NC 705 - that runs through the heart of pottery country - a scenic byway, that was no longer the case.

You could put a sign on the business property and that's it.
Existing off-location signs were grandfathered in and allowed to stay.

Some people like the quaintness of the handmade signs that adorn intersection corners and trees and such throughout the rural landscape of the Seagrove area. Some may disagree.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has experience with TODS in other areas. I Googled TODS and the program is all over the U.S. Do you like the signs? Are they helpful? I'd love to hear from artists and tourists alike.

Any suggestions on directing pottery customers in the Seagrove area? What do you think about all the handmade signs around Seagrove?
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