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Story sparks national interest in L-Ken's sign

When developer Thomas Burke said in a story that ran in the Jan. 19 edition of The Spotlight that he would consider offers for the iconic L-Kens sign on Central Avenue, one sign lover from Cincinnati expressed interest in adding it to his growing collection.

Owner of the American Sign Museum, Tod Swormstedt contacted The Spotlight to find out what exactly was going on with the famous sign in the Village of Colonie. Swormstedt said he was notified of the sign after the museum's social media guru found the sign on Flickr when doing a sign museum related search.

"We're always looking for signs, and we certainly like local icons," he said. "It [the L-Kens sign] seemed to be a local Colonie icon. Everyone always got their ice cream there and always ate there."

The main objective of the museum, a not-for-profit corporation that opened in 2005, is to collect as many signs in the country from as many different time periods as possible. Swormstedt said that the L-Kens sign appears to be from the 1950s, which he said was one of the more interesting time periods for signs.

"There weren't any sign codes so you could build whatever you wanted," he said. "There were a lot of custom signs for local businesses as opposed to a production sign, which is the same sign made over and over again for businesses like BP or McDonald's."

Preserving the feeling of the mom and pop stores is also what the sign museum is set out to do, as Swormstedt said they are becoming a rarity as bigger box stores are forcing small businesses out of town.

"Roadside ice cream shops and restaurants are particularly attractive to me because they're fast evaporating," he said.

Swormstedt said he will be trying to get in contact with Burke regarding the sign. Check Spotlightnews.com for updates.""

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