trees and signsWhen you consider how you want to spend your day, does a treeless strip mall or shady leafy-canopied shopping area sound better? The fact is that people are drawn to inviting and attractive areas to do their pleasure and even errand shopping. Research shows consumers prefer green environments:

  • 3 out of 4 consumers prefer to shop in places that are graced by trees and landscaping
  • Patrons of tree-lined shopping areas are willing to spend 11% more
  • Customers are willing to spend more time to travel to tree-lined shopping areas, and, when they get there, are willing to spend more time and money

However, merchants often express concerns about trees, especially in regard to the visibility of their signs, awnings, and storefronts. This is a valid concern, but the good news is that these two valuable resources—trees and signage—can co-exist as powerful customer magnets.

Here are some tips to make trees work for your business:

  • Prune consistently.  While all tree maintenance is important, pruning is especially vital to ensuring that trees and signage work together. When pruning starts early and is carried out consistently, it guides a tree canopy’s shape and can influence tree/sign harmony.Many business districts and cities offer district-wide tree maintenance for a reasonable fee, making tree care easier and more cost-effective for businesses. The successful and vibrant Property-Based Improvement District (PBID) in downtown San Jose is one example of such a district. Check with your city or business association to see if they offer a similar service.
  • Design with trees in mind. Get your creative juices flowing and co-design signs with trees. Color and material choices used in signs should contrast with foliage, drawing the eye to visual accents. Trees can also be used to frame signs.
  • Temporarily re-locate signs. While you’re in the middle of fixing any tree/sign issues, you may want to temporarily re-locate signs until your tree has grown into the proper shape and position.
  • trees and signs 2Use ground-level signs. Ground-level signs provide a cost-effective option that is easily seen and creates friendly, human-scale environments.  
  • Use corner signs. Corner signs that list all of the retailers on a given side of a block are another easy, visible option. Tree Board Chairman Jody Nelson says corner signs are a simple, eloquent solution that he has seen succeed in several communities.

There is no need for a store to sacrifice trees in favor of signage—in fact, investing in trees should be part of any strong business strategy. There are plenty of ways that businesses can use signs and trees together to attract more customers and entice them to spend more. Money may not grow on trees, but trees do have the potential to help the businesses who invest in them to make more money and satisfy their customers.

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