BZA approves bigger sign for Hobart furniture store
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent February 25, 2013 9:34PM
Updated: February 28, 2013 10:20AM
HOBART — Warren, Mich.-based Art Van Furniture Monday received Board of Zoning Appeals approval for an additional 300-square-feet of signage over the allowable size, based on the uniqueness of the property’s location.
The furniture store is planning to locate in the former JC Penney Home Store, which is at the far western end of the strip center at the northeastern corner of U.S. 30 and Mississippi Street.
BZA members said the property is unique in that it is one of only a few corner lots located at two major intersections and the owner can’t utilize the pylon sign near U.S. 30 to advertise its presence.
Mike Rupert, manager of store design for Art Van Furniture, said the company was told by the strip center’s management that all the spaces on the pylon sign are accounted for and the signs on the building were the only ones they could have.
“The fact that it is on a corner lot is the saving grace for me,” said board member Greg Lollis, who made the motion for the approval. “Now allyou see is 87-feet of brick as you travel down Mississippi Street.”
Rupert said the store would erect two signs — a 418-foot sign on the front of the store and a 116-foot sign on the side of the store. He said the sign has the store’s new logo and will be used in all new stores going forward.
The city only allows a sign totaling 234 square feet, Carrol Lewis, interim city planner, said.
Lewis said he would like to address signage for corner businesses and those that back up to an alley and have parking in the rear at a future date.
Rupert said the store is planning an Aug. 10 grand opening. First, he said the company will renovate the 50,000-square-foot space inside and out. He expects work to begin in about six weeks.
Rupert said the store will make a $3 million investment to the property and hire 60 new employees.
Hobart is one of five new Art Van stores opening in the Chicagoland area this year, as the company embarks on an expansion plan over the next 15 years, Rupert said. Hobart is the only store of the five in Indiana, the remainder are in Illinois.
The company was founded 53 years ago by Art Van Eslander, who is still active in the business, Rupert said.He said it carries three levels of furniture — good, economical furniture, better furniture found on the main showroom floor, and best, which is premier custom-order pieces. Later, he said TVs and appliances would be added to the line.
Rupert said the company gives $1 million or more each year to charities in the community it serves.
“Our associates not only participate in community events, we pay it forward, too,” Rupert said.