By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(June 14, 2018) The Berlin Historic District Commission last Wednesday granted unanimous approval for new signs at three downtown businesses, as well as for new second-floor windows at Main Street Nails and exterior changes to the former PNC Bank Building.
Heidi Johnson was granted three new signs for the J & M Meat Market on 101 William Street. The 4-by-5-foot signs with black backgrounds and white lettering will be placed to the right and left of the existing main sign, as well as on the left exterior side of the building.
Johnson said new signs were necessary because the business recently expanded into the entire building and, along with butcher shop fare, now includes a deli and carryout barbecue, as well as remnants of the old Main Street Sweets shop.
“People who don’t actually go on William [Street] … don’t know what we are. They don’t even know what we have,” she said, adding, “J & M Meat Market is now serving candies and cookies and baked goods” from Main Street Streets.
Commission members were complimentary of the previous changes she made to the building after taking over last year.
“You’ve done a terrific job. I’ve lived here a long time [and] I’ve never seen the building look as great,” Mary Moore said. “I think that whole corner, which was such an eyesore for 70 years, is just terrific. You’re a wonderful addition to downtown Berlin.”
The commission was also quick to approve new Anderson windows for the second floor of 110 North Main Street, home to Main Street Nails.
Signs for Simple Pleasures on 15 Gay Street, “a family owned country primitive shop,” were approved, but not necessarily warmly received.
Moore was particularly critical, saying the pine sign with acrylic letters was not in scale, “the color isn’t right,” and it was generally confusing.
“Is it a children’s place? Is it an adult store? It has a lot of connotations that I would never think interior design or home decor, or anything like that,” Moore said. “Your sign should let people know, ‘Oh, it’s home furnishing or design or decor,’ and that would be the last thing that I think of that your store would be.
“The way it’s presented here, it looks like somebody just lettered something and went up and tacked it on the building,” she continued. “My first thought was ’thrift shop.’”
At the other end of the spectrum, rave reviews greeted proposed exterior changes, including a new entrance facade and remodeling of the old drive through windows at 1 South Main Street, the former PNC Bank recently purchased by Michael Queen.
Queen plans to bring several new businesses into the historic building.
For the old drive through window, he envisioned “any concession type business, like if somebody wants to open a juice stand or a snowball stand, or if they want to do funnel cakes and cotton candy.”
Commission member Nornie Bunting said the building would be “a true asset” to the town.
Finally, Andrea Canon said she would change her sign on 111 Artisan’s Way to read: “HOUSE Furnishings & Decor.” The business was previously called “HOUSE By Salvaged.”
The sign will remain the same size and material – only the wording will change.