What's the value of a sign?

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Old sign (left) New sign (right)
  • Old sign (left) New sign (right)

Price's Chicken Coop, Charlotte's holy institution of fried chicken and stalwart of the community since 1962, recently updated the storefront off Camden Road in South End with new signage. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty bummed about the whole thing.

The old sign, which was second to the original, was hand-painted with care and bore just the right amount of patina. The vintage sign, albeit worn, represented the long-term staying power of the coop. For me, the sign at Price's Chicken Coop was part of its charm and nostalgia. It signaled that everything was the same as it ever was, just like the 50-year-old recipe for fried chicken and familiar faces of Price's employees.

The new sign is gleaming white and glossy with a font unlike its predecessor. The lettering is rounded, a tad reminiscent of clip-art. Updated, sure, but charming? Not quite. The sign is missing something - its soul.

When I phoned Steven Price, third-generation owner and son of Talmadge Price, creator of Price's (along with his brother, Pat) who passed away this summer, he said that the famed chicken shack needed a new sign, that his father had been bugging him to replace the old one. So, he replaced it. Price cited the development of South End as a reason to update and give the facade a newer, fresh look. He also stated matter-of-factly that he didn't see a story worth telling about the recent change.

I'm curious about what you think, Charlotte. Does the new sign take away from the nostalgia and charm? Does the removal of vintage signs or historical structures detract from the personality of an institution or from the personality of a city for that matter?


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