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Message Center gets new look

The work’s not quite done yet, but here’s how the new Message Center billboard looks. Very snazzy. (click for larger version)
December 15, 2010 - Last week, an Oxford landmark completely disappeared and some folks wondered what happened to it.

The Message Center billboard, located on the east side of M-24 just south of Drahner Rd., was totally blank for a while, but not because the owner's getting rid of it.

He was simply in the process of changing its appearance.

"We are updating it," said Bill Rzadko, owner of Ad-Rite Outdoor Signs. "We're just giving it a facelift. It will be a fresh look."

Anyone who travels M-24 knows the Message Center as the 17-foot-by-48-foot billboard where moveable lettering is used to spell out messages that advertise local businesses, promote charity and community events, and wish folks a happy birthday or anniversary.

Despite the billboard's new look as a faux computer screen, Rzadko, who's owned it since 1989, said he's going to stick with using the movable letters rather than installing a high-tech digital screen.

"That is something we've looked at many times in the last 20 years," he noted. "That may, at some point, be a viable option, but not now. I think this is a very reliable way of putting letters up and the cost stays reasonable for everybody."

When Rzadko purchased the famous billboard 21 years ago, it wasn't the Message Center. That's something he later created as an affordable advertising option.

"The main reason for that sign is many customers over the years love to rent billboards, but they didn't want a (lengthy) commitment of time," he explained. "This way anybody can afford it for one or two days at a time, rather than making a year commitment."

Rzadko noted the best messages are ones that are short, catchy and to the point.

"If you can't read it in a glance, we really don't want it up there," he said. "Mainly because we don't want to interfere with traffic if it takes too long to read."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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