Downtown buildings undergo signage rebranding
Finn’s restaurant and the Harbor Grill in Old Harbor will be getting newly rebranded signage on their façades.
Jessica Wronowski, in her second year as owner of Finn’s Restaurant, presented her application for signage at Monday’s Historic District Commission meeting. Wronowski, who also owns Dead Eye Dick’s in New Harbor, said the four signs she intends to install are part of a rebranding effort. The HDC unanimously approved her application.
“We rebranded last year when I took over the property,” Wronowski told the commission. “For me, this is the next step for making that rebranding sort of a complete picture. Everything is sort of a one-for-one exchange. There are four signs in total, between the back and front of the building.”
Wronowski said the proposed signs would replace existing signs of similar size on the building. Three of the signs will be blue and white and made of aluminum with a simple design, while the Water Street-facing sign would be blue, white and gold, made of PVC material and include a smaller attached sign noting directions to the restaurant’s entrance. The street-facing sign will be installed with a bracket, about five inches above where the previous sign was located, for greater visibility on the building.
“Why do you want to change the signs” on the building, commission member Dennis Riordan asked Wronowski.
“We’ve put a lot of time, effort and money into rebranding Finn’s and trying to update the interior, and update the menu,” said Wronowski, who noted that when people arrive at Old Harbor there’s nothing on the building that denotes “a change in management; that there might be anything new to look at inside. From the outside it just looks like the same building. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we’re doing something that’s different and fun, and something that we find exciting, and we would like to draw attention to that.”
Although the commission granted approval to Wronowski’s application, not all of the HDC members were in favor of the design.
HDC member Arlene Tunney felt that the new “Finn’s lobsters” sign was “totally not in keeping with the building. It’s very contemporary. It’s pretty. But it’s a wonderful old building.”
“Why do you believe that it’s not in keeping with the building?” asked Wronowski.
“It’s too contemporary,” said Tunney. “That’s my feeling.”
“Is it any more contemporary than the existing signs?” asked Vice Chair Martha Ball, to which Tunney said, “Yes.”
“I mean the existing signs are not that old,” said Ball.
After Ball’s remark, Tunney reiterated her point, but the discussion ended and the commission asked a few more questions regarding font color, size and design before granting approval.
Applicant Marc Scortino said the Harbor Grill’s front façade will be getting a new sign also as part of a rebranding effort. “We’ve redecorated the interior of the Harbor Grill; the dining room area. We are looking to rechristen the interior of the Orchid Lounge, as it was back in the 60s and 70s.” In short order, the commission unanimously approved the application.
Scortino said the new sign would be three feet tall and nine and a half feet in length, and replace the Harbor Grill sign. “That’s the same dimensions of the sign that’s there now. It will be a rectangular sign.” He said the sign will be made of aluminum, and the font will be futura bold, with navy blue text on a white background.
Scortino was also granted unanimous approval to add a new Captain Nick’s sign to the front porch railing that would be in the same style of the sign for a former business located there: the Block Island Inn. The wooden sign would be two feet in height and 10 feet in length, with gold text on a black background. (The font type is called longhaired freaky people.)
Odd Fellows Hall
The HDC granted approval (4-1) to applicant Mike Finnimore for replicating the original black and white 1920’s style Odd Fellows Hall sign. The sign will be replacing the Koru Eco Spa sign on the building. Mark Vallaincourt made the motion that was seconded by Riordan. Mike Ballard dissented, noting that he felt the application was incomplete.
In other news, the commission granted unanimous approval to Lucas Silva for replacing three doors on Kathleen and Gary Hall’s Corn Neck Road property with a front door with sidelights, and a side and back door, which are all the same size.
The next meeting of the HDC is a special meeting scheduled for May 13 at 7 p.m. and involves Lark Hotels’ plans for renovating the Surf Hotel, and the Gables Inn.