By Karen Brainard
Since Jewelry World owners Tom and Kathleen Cole have had to move their old-fashioned truck out of the Sun Valley shopping center parking lot where their store is located, they said sales have decreased.
The Coles’ 1937 Chevy truck with wooden sides advertising their jewelry store had to be removed from the shopping center parking lot on Main Street after a new property management company said it was not in compliance with the lease and the county sign ordinance.
Kathleen Cole said sales were down 30 percent during September.
“We think that correlates,” Cole said.
A lot of people who drove by on their way to Julian or the desert would see the truck and its signage and stop in at the store, she explained.
Cole and her husband, Tom, have been trying to find out if their truck complies with the county sign code and whether it is considered mobile signage. However, after questioning Ramona Design Review Board members at their Sept. 29 meeting and talking to four staff members with county code enforcement, the Coles still don’t have any answers.
What they have found is local support for their truck that is often loaned out to promote community events and is decorated for the holidays. Besides receiving favorable comments from design review board members, Cole said she has about 300 signatures on a petition that supports allowing the truck to remain parked in the shopping center lot.
“The community response has just been fabulous,” said Cole. “I’m really surprised how many people consider that truck part of Ramona.”
While the Coles continue to search code compliance information, Kathleen Cole said they are checking with other businesses in the center to see if they will support the truck, and in return the Coles will offer its use to them.