It was supposed to be the unveiling of something new at Fox’s Donut Den, but it turned out to be the return appearance of an old friend.
The beloved neon sign of flying doughnuts adorning the Hillsboro Pike storefront since 1977 will not be lost when renovations are completed at the Green Hills retail center in which it sits, redevelopment officials announced on Wednesday.
In fact, the sign is being “repaired and refurbished” to work “just like before,” said Bill Warfield after showing a rendering of the “new” old sign in front of a crowd of reporters and Den employees in the crowded eatery.
“We're just tickled,” said owner Norman Fox. He said he bought the sign “used” in 1977 when he bought the shop, so the sign is probably much older than 32.
When the sign was removed a few months ago, Brookside Properties, the company remodeling the retail center, found itself at the center of huge debate. The sign, so popular it has its own Facebook page, was going to be missed — severely.
“We were amazed at the feedback from the neighborhood,” said Warfield, who added that the developers decided to put the issue to a vote.
It was a landslide. Using two different Web sites to cast votes, 112 people wanted all business signs to be “uniformed” in the center. The number cast for the sign to remain? Try 5,216 — nearly a 98% majority.
“That really speaks to the support this store has,” Warfield said.
The cost of refurbishing the sign was about the same as the cost of new signage, according to Marc Severance, president of Severance & Associates, which has handled public relations chores during this unique dispute.
Severance also said that the sign should be up in 2-3 weeks, about the time renovations are completed.