Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mentor business reaches out to one in Painesville

I was saddened when I first talked to William "Willie" Rosario, chief cook and co-owner of Borinquen Restaurant in Painesville. I stopped in the restaurant with my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago because he (my beau) noticed the Puerto Rican flag in the window and was hoping the place served food (he is of Puerto Rican descent). The restaurant is in a small part of a large, residential-looking building and there is no professional sign that can be seen from a distance to reveal what type of business it is. Borinquen is written in the window, but it's merely a common reference among Puerto Ricans to the island nation.

As we talked with him, we mentioned the difficulty distinguishing what the place - opened last year - was about. He said he had a sign designed but the designer took his money and was never heard from again. It was one of those, "Pay me half now and the rest when the work is finished" deals. The man had appeared to come to the restaurant as a customer and offered his services. Willie says he can't afford to pay for a sign right now. Business has slowed a lot during the winter. It gets a lot of customers from foot traffic.

I asked my business editor if he wanted a straight business feature about the relatively new restaurant and included info about the sign woes. I asked local economic development folks what they could do for Willie. I learned they had no grant programs specifically for signs. Now why is that? From my personal experience, signs can majorly hinder or help curb appeal. They can serve to invite or repel. For example, when I see a makeshift one, I question whether the owner cares.

Well, I'm making kind of a long story out of this, but I am happy to report that today, the same day the story ran, a sales manager from Mentor Signs & Graphics, on Tyler Blvd., called to say his company wants to donate Willie a sign. I admit I had hoped the story would get him some help, but that's more than I had hoped for. The sales manager, Josh McDaniel, said it was because the company has also seen some hard times, is under new management and wants to help.

Sure, Mentor Signs could be getting involved in hopes of some good PR. But I'm still happy to hear about the prospect. I was just doing my job, but if it helps somebody, all the better.

-- Betsy Scott,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use Mentor Signs and they are really nice guys and did us a favor when another printer backed out at the last minute.

February 24, 2011 at 5:15 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mentor Signs and Graphics is run by very ethical folks! Doesn't surprise me that they would reach out to lend a hand! Keep up the good work!

February 27, 2011 at 3:07 PM 

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