ELYRIA — Move over Big Boy, and make room Colonel Sanders, an icon of Elyria may be moving in.
The American Sign Museum in Cincinnati is where business signs of yesteryear spend their retirement. There you will find such gems as the original Coca-Cola emblem, an early Kentucky Fried Chicken pan-face illuminated sign, circa 1950 Shell Oil plastic sign and a Big Boy fiberglass display — considered the piece that makes a sign museum complete.
The Loomis Camera sign that started a fight between business owner Howard Foxman and the city of Elyria back in the 1990s may soon join those well-known advertising pieces.
The camera, which has changed over the years and is now a replica of a 35 mm Pentax, is coming down as Foxman, a spirited 91-year-old, closes his Broad Street camera shop after more than 60 years in business downtown.
When Foxman announced last month that he was closing, the next question was about the future of the sign, arguably the most well-known in town.
Foxman said that the museum’s founder has contacted him to acquire the sign and offered to buy it.
“I’m just waiting for them to show up,” he said. “They said they want it.”
Foxman said he doesn’t want to dump the sign since he fought so hard to keep it.
The fight stemmed from an ordinance passed in 1991 to prohibit signs from protruding from downtown buildings. Foxman battled for an exemption.
“That sign is downtown Elyria,” said Tamela Grubb, executive director of Main Street Elyria. “When it is finally taken down, it will be sad, because then you know Loomis Camera is really leaving, but I think it would be cool if it could go to the museum.”
Tod Swormstedt came to see the sign Monday and drove back to Cincinnati more determined then ever to buy it. Wagner’s Sign in Elyria Township has agreed to take the sign down and help ship it south.
“But it’s going to be a little tricky,” Swormstedt said.
The size of the sign means it will have to be deconstructed for travel.
Should it make the journey to Cincinnati, Swormstedt said it will fit in an exhibit that is a mock Main Street with collected signs and storefronts.
Swormstedt said the sign was brought to his attention a few weeks ago with a story in The Chronicle-Telegram that Foxman was closing his business.
“I didn’t know about the sign beforehand. I had seen other camera signs in the past that had the same idea,” he said. “But the history of this sign really spoke to us. It is always better when you know the history of the sign.”
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or email@example.com.