Town Officials Flag Size, Style of Antiques Store’s ‘Going Out of Business’ Sale Signs


Town officials say the long-established antiques store at the corner of South Avenue and Elm Street that is going out of business has gone through two iterations of signage announcing its closing sale after early versions caused consternation for some.

Sallea Antiques, whose owner is retiring, had “basically papered its windows” with hot pink and neon green signs initially, according to Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman John Goodwin.

“And the pushback to that is, if I’m a merchant and somebody is across the street from me or next door to me, and [the signs] look like it’s a name-your-discount Dollar General ‘going out of business’ type thing, and a lot of people just think it doesn’t look very good,” Goodwin said Tuesday at a regular P&Z meeting, held in the Sturgess Room at the New Canaan Nature Center.

Town Planner Steve Kleppin, who doubles as the department’s zoning enforcement officer, said he would be willing to take yet another look at the shop’s signage, through “to be quite honest, I have zero enforcement power,” he said.

“Because they’re going out of business,” he said. “I can fine them but they don’t have to pay” because the shop will be closed at some point soon, he said.

The rules governing signs permitted in business zones fall within Section 6.3.D of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations (page 118 here). Signs that comply with certain criteria—such as that they’re wall-mounted only (not permitted on window glass), are no more than 20 inches tall, with total lettering height of no more than 12 inches and with a total maximum of 25 square feet of all signage per lot—may be authorized by a Zoning Inspector following a formal application. Signs not meeting the outlined specifications must be approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission.

Asked about the matter the day following the P&Z meeting, Jan Kash, an owner at Sallea, said the point person from the Land Use Department with whom the store has dealt regarding its signage has been “extremely courteous” and that the town has been pleased with the changes that the shop has made.

“We altered the signs,” she said. “We took down all the hot pink. There was a backing. You couldn’t even see into the store. It was completely enclosed. So we took down the hot pink. We fulfilled our obligation in that respect—we opened up all the side panels, we took away all the pink, we put a line through the middle so that you could see in. They [town officials] aren’t ecstatic but they are happier. We wanted to appease everybody. We wanted the sale to be successful, but we didn’t want the town to be upset.”

Kash said the sale at Sallea will go on until the store’s merchandise is sold. Its lease is up in the fall, she said. The shop has occupied the space at South and Elm since 1989, and the business itself has been around since the 1970s, according to Sallea’s website. It specializes in antique boxes and other categories of antiques, some of which can be found on the business’s website.
Not all the categories of antiques we carry are represented here on the web site so please contact us with your inquires,” the website says. “Needless to say, pictures and descriptions of any objects in our large and ever changing inventory also are readily available upon request.”

4 thoughts on “Town Officials Flag Size, Style of Antiques Store’s ‘Going Out of Business’ Sale Signs

  1. So these huge, garish, day-glo signs will be up for months, or “until” their merchandise is sold? That sounds like a kind of passive aggressive blackmail! Last summer, the corner of South and Elm enjoyed an occasional pop-up park and stores that looked like stores. This summer, thanks in part to this departing merchant [who has called the pop-up park “the stupidest thing (the Chamber of Commerce has) ever done”], our community can enjoy no pop-up park and a store that looks like a bargain warehouse. I wish them good luck!

    • Bravo Cam. I just re- read one of the first articles written about this shop owner and her opinions on the pop up park. ” stupid,childish and blocking traffic” It seems that the other merchants in town do not have a problem with neon tacky ” going out of business” signs that are up 24/7 and taped onto the exterior of the structure like a childish art project – It is deeply distressing to see such a double standard blatantly flaunted for all to see. It is equally distressing to hear that our Town leadership can’t even enforce their own guidelines because she is leaving so even if they issue a fine she would not be responsible – i don’t get it.

  2. The signs caught my attention too, but in a good way. This is a very high end store. I think the neon signs make the place seem approachable and show a subtle hint of humor . The signage made me curious enough to walk into the store and look around. The people there were really nice and they have some beautiful things for sale. If the signs were permanent, that would be a different story.

    • These signs have been up for weeks and could conceivably be up through the Fall. Even for those who might detect a subtle hint of humor, the joke wears thin. Like I said, I wish them good luck.

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