Historic JFG sign undergoing restoration

The iconic JFG Coffee sign is getting a facelift.


by BOBBY SISK / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Bobby: BSisk@WCNC.com


Posted on March 15, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 6:33 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A part of the Charlotte skyline for more than 40 years, the iconic JFG Coffee sign is getting a facelift.

The 38 pieces of the original billboard are now at Sign Art, a longtime sign business located along Old Concord Road. 

"I was glad we were able to restore it," said Bill Sundberg, Sign Art's general manager.

His company is busy working on new signs for banks and other businesses, but enjoys taking something like the JFG sign back to its former glory. 

"In Charlotte, I think it's particularly important because I think so much of our history has been torn down," he said.

From new neon to replacing nearly 800 bulbs, the billboard is now nearing completion. Taken from its perch in uptown last fall, Historic Charlotte's Diane Althouse says this story could have had a much different ending.

"I think it would've been in a scrap metal yard," she said, had JFG not decided to restore it.

Last month, Althouse's group launched a new campaign called Save Our Signs. She's now working on fundraisers and a driving tour of as many as 40 vintage signs in the area.

"They're Charlotte. They're part of our history," she said.

She knows there are critics who disagree and say these signs are just advertisements, not historical landmarks. She defends the efforts and looks at it this way: "These signs and businesses give Charlotte a sense of place. Plus, considering what is going on right now, supporting local businesses is a really good idea and we're definitely for that."

JFG Coffee is based in Knoxville, Tenn., but the company has had a presence in Charlotte for decades now. As the sign restoration wraps up, the company is looking for new locations for the billboard and plans to let customers vote on their favorite. 

Meantime, Althouse just found out the publication Antique's Weekly is planning a spread on Historic Charlotte's Save Our Signs campaign.