Banners draw customers, Columbiana merchants say

A recent decision by the Columbiana City Council to temporarily allow banners in the city provided an advertising boost for several city business owners, said the Columbiana Merchants and Professionals group.

The council voted to allow banners in the city during December 2009, and some members of the Merchants and Professionals group said the move allowed them to cater their advertising to drive-by customers.

Because the city’s ban on banners went into effect again in January, some business owners said they would like the see Columbiana’s moratorium on banners lifted.

“The banner situation is what it is,” said Carl Wiggs, owner of the Bernie’s on Main restaurant. “Personally, I feel banners are the best way to advertise at the best cost.

“That form of advertisement is the best way to get people who drive through the city,” Wiggs added. “It helps save the costs of radio and broadcasting advertising.”

While business owners said they enjoyed having banners in December, they said it would be hard to quantify the benefits of the modified December banner ordinance.

“The mayor’s idea was to see if there was a sales tax increase, but what do you compare that to?” said Columbiana Councilman Stancil Handley. “Everyone knows the economy is down.”

In other matters, the Merchants and Professionals group:

Announced the group raised more than $1,500 through the 2009 Holiday Tour of Homes. In previous years, the event has cost the organization money, said tour co-chair Ouida Mayfield.

Announced the second Columbiana Cowboy Parade will be held on Main Street Feb. 20. The event will feature a chili cook-off, blacksmiths, a shootout and several other cowboy-themed events.

Announced the Columbiana citywide yard sale will be held April 3 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. along Main Street in downtown Columbiana.