Copy Services’ moving sign stirs complaints

By Ericka Exton

Copy Service, Inc., 1005 W. Lincoln Highway, offers copying, printing, book buyback and now roadside entertainment.

Toward the end of November 2012, the store revealed the newest member of their team, “Linda,” a motorized mannequin that advertises the store’s “Book Buy-Back” event.

The mannequin moves, looks realistic and has been dressed in various attire. A complaint was filed with the City because of the mannequin’s position near the side of the highway. A warning was issued to Copy Service, asking for the removal of the mannequin and stating non-compliance would lead to a fine and the removal of the mannequin by the city.

Copy Service Manager Bob Vanderploeg was surprised by the City’s decision and disagreed with the complaint.

“Having the mannequin there is just the same as if a real person was standing out in front,” Vanderploeg said.

The complaint made its way to the DeKalb police and city officials before the mannequin was ordered to be taken down.

“The complaint was made as a violation of city ordinance,” said City Clerk Diane Wright. “The mannequin had to be replaced with a stationary one.”

Dave Baker, president and owner of Copy Service and sixth ward alderman, felt the issue was a matter involving freedom of commercial speech.

“I didn’t know it was such a big problem and the complaint had gone through so many people,” Baker said. “I am on City Council and I never heard of it being such an issue.”

Should the mannequin be put back on Lincoln Highway with its motor running, Baker would be responsible for violating city ordinance. Displaying the mannequin without its motor is subject to a $10 temporary sign permit per event.