Debate brewing over storefront sign

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CARMEL – A new business sign has caused controversy because of its design; some people said it does not fit the look of the Carmel Arts & Design District.

Carmel Couture opened this summer in the Carmel Arts & Design District. The store is located on South Rangeline Road. It sells fashion jewelry, as well as high-end jewelry. Some of their merchandise is more than $15,000.

Carmel Couture was issued its sign permit in Sept., by the Department of Community Services, after the agency approved its plans. The storefront sign was put up on Friday, Oct.18. The sign is large and bright pink. After it was put up and some people saw it on display, they expressed their dislike.

Carmel City Council Member Ron Carter said he would prefer that business signs in the Carmel Arts & Design District compliment the architecture of the buildings. He does not believe the sign meets that look.

“From a color standpoint, it’s problematic and -frankly- from the type face….the type face is not constant with the architecture of the building itself and the way of the letters is not helpful from a design standpoint,” Carter said over the phone.

Carter said the city council will not fight changing the sign at this point. He expressed he would like for the owner of the business to change the sign.

The director of the Dept. of Community Services said people can appeal a sign permit within 30 days of that business receiving its permit. That window, for this business, closed early Oct.

Before the sign was put on display, the director said their department told the business owner the color would not compliment the area.

Carmel Couture Owner, Himan Garg, said they consulted with different people, including the city before they displayed their storefront sign.

“Quite frankly, I was a little disappointed that a place that encourages art and individuality -such as the arts district – is making a stink about the tone of pink that we used,” Garg said.

Garg said he would have changed the sign, if someone would have brought up an issue earlier. He said he will consider changing his sign some because of the recent attention. He said he is open to suggestions. Carmel Couture is his first retail shop.

 Meanwhile, Carmel City Council President Rick Sharp does not believe anything needs to be changed.

“I’ve seen the sign. It doesn’t cause me any distress,” Sharp said.

Sharp said the storefront sign is not controversial.

“I think that it sends a bad image to the business community that we have a business owner whose complied with the applicable laws, has gone through the process to receive an approval, (was) approved to have a sign installed and then be publically criticized for it,” Sharp said.

While Carter would like to see the sign changed, Sharp does not think it should.

“I don’t think its business friendly and I would encourage the owner to leave the sign there. I think it’s charming,” Sharp said.

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