Sign-ups start for Port Townsend merchant sign program
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Pippa’s Real Tea owner Pippa Mills, center, signs up for a merchant information sign Monday morning at Port Townsend City Hall with the help of city employee Susanne Wassmer. — Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Pippa’s Real Tea owner Pippa Mills expected a long line of local business people looking for prime positions for their merchant information signs at Monday’s sign-up, so she arrived at 6 a.m. at City Hall with a lawn chair and a pot of tea.

The next person arrived at 7:15 a.m., so Mills got her first choice — the top position on the east side of the sign at the corner of Taylor and Water streets.

Fourteen local merchants had signed up by Monday afternoon for placement on 12 signs being placed by the city throughout walking areas — 10 downtown and two uptown — each with room for eight businesses.

“Not everyone got their first choice, but everyone was OK with what they got,” said Land Use Development Specialist Suzanne Wassmer, who took the applications.

The placards on each sign includes the business’ name, address and a QR code that leads to more information about the business when scanned with a smartphone.

Each sign has a detailed street map of downtown and uptown with “you are here” notations to let people know their location and how to reach their destination.

Mills owns Pippa’s Real Tea at 636 Water St., and hopes the sign at the downtown crossroads will encourage both tourists and locals to walk a few blocks to her store.

“We don’t get a lot of people at this end of town,” she said.

“We’ve been open nearly two years, and a lot of the locals still don’t know we’re here.”

“We don’t get many people from the cruise ships. They all spend their time downtown and don’t come here even though we’ve done coupons and advertising.”

Pippa’s is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but she still made the extra effort to arrive at the crack of dawn Monday.

“This was important to me, which is why I was out there freezing on my day off,” she said.

Joe Finnie, who owns and operates the Bishop Victorian and Swan hotels, was out early to secure prime positions for his hotels because they are off the main drag and people might not know their locations.

“The signs will give us some exposure so people will know where to find us,” Finnie said.

The application process continues at City Hall, 250 Madison St., with personal appearance required to sign up and no option to apply by mail or online.

The initial $84.75 fee includes engraving and design.

Each year’s renewal is expected to be $20, payable on Jan. 1 and pro-rated for those who put up their sign in the middle of the year.

There is no firm date for when the signs go up, although planner John McDonagh said he will probably make an engraving order within the next week and expected that process to take two or three weeks.

Quimper Mercantile manager Sheldon Spencer said he wasn’t sure what good the signs would do for the store as it is on the entrance to downtown and has a high visibility.

“This is a good marketing tool, and we thought it was important for us to support the program,” he said.


Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or

Last modified: August 18. 2014 7:22PM
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