Saturday, January 27, 2007

Dear Office Depot ...

Update (1/28/08): Office Depot has now removed the sign after much lobbying by neighbors. Thanks, Office Depot.

I slammed Office Depot a while back about building a new store that shows its rear to Wendover Avenue.

It's finished now, and to give credit where credit is due, they spent a lot of money to landscape around it, planting a large number of Willow Oaks and doing a good job with the sidewalk -- or at least as good a job as can be done when the main entrance faces away from the street.

But they also placed an internally-lit pole sign right next to the historic Bessemer Avenue bridge, right on the very edge of the Fisher Park and Aycock historic districts.

The neighbors in both neighborhoods aren't happy, and have sent a registered letter to Office Depot's CEO Bruce Nelson, having gotten no response after three attempt to contact the national facilities manager.

Here's some video documentation, followed by the letter that was sent to CEO Nelson.

January 23, 2007

Bruce Nelson
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Office Depot Corporate
2200 Old Germantown Road
Delray Beach, FL

Dear Mr. Nelson:

The neighbors and board members of the Fisher Park and Charles B. Aycock historic neighborhood associations welcome the new location of Office Depot at the corner of Wendover Avenue and Church Street in Greensboro, North Carolina.

We are, however, extremely concerned about the large commercial sign located at the corner of the entrances to both of the historic neighborhoods. The sign fronting Wendover Avenue is a wise choice as it is along a main corridor for travel and business.

The duplicate sign at the far end of the parking lot however interrupts the entrance into residential areas. Because of traffic patterns at this corner, it isn’t even necessary to have the second gigantic sign for Office Depot to be successful.

We would like to work with you to place a smaller, low-key sign consistent with the style of the Bessemer Avenue bridge and the historic nature of our neighborhoods. Both these neighborhoods have worked hard for many years to reclaim and restore the beautiful residences and historic character of these neighborhoods. Both have experienced resurgence in restoration and cmmitment from homeowners as well as support from the city of Greensboro.

We believe that taking this step will be consistent with the consideration you have already given to the parking lot landscaping and an opportunity to expand your environmental stewardship you are so proud of.

Your company policy indicates the following: “We are committed to the principles of good corporate citizenship, positive social impact and environmental sustainability.” We applaud your efforts involving environmental stewardship in the products you sell, but we encourage you to embrace broader concepts such as making relatively small acommodations to minimize disturbances to the environment in which you build.

When your national facilities manager was contacted three times by individuals during the construction stages of the store, there was no response. We hope that you will in fact, take a moment to contact us and work with us to assist the city and neighborhoods’ effort to revitalize and beautify at the same time as promote economic development.

We look forward to hearing from you and working with you to develop a sign that will enhance the area in which you have chosen to build.

Thank you very much.


Betsey Baun
President of the Charles B. Aycock Neighborhood Association
David Shub
President of the Fisher Park Neighborhood Association

Update: Greensboro's blogging billionaire Percy Walker thinks the letter should have been written differently.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree, the sign is out of place and unnecessary. After all, the reason they chose that location is because much of their business is delivery to area doctors and downtown businesses. It's not a good walk in location but it is an excellent location for delivery to the majority of their customers.