COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A colorful sign on the facade of a downtown candy and ice cream shop for 55 years has mysteriously disappeared from its storage site, and a reward is being offered for its return.
The Downtown Development Authority posted on its Facebook page Wednesday that it's offering a reward of $1,000 for recovery of the iconic Michelle's sign.
"The Michelle’s sign had been removed by a signage company from its original location at 122 N. Tejon St. to make way for a new business sign at that location," the DDA posted. "The iconic sign, which weighs several hundred pounds, is believed to have gone missing between November 8 and 15 from the storage lot of an east side Colorado Springs sign shop. It is rusted, with broken bulbs and in poor condition overall."
Police identified the the lot as being in an industrial area in the 5700 block of Industrial Place, near the intersection of Powers Boulevard and Airport Road; a sign business called Elite Signs & Design is at that location but no one was present there Wednesday.
"The sign was stored outside," said Susan Edmondson, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership. "We waited for police to conduct their investigation before announcing a reward. We're doing it because so many people love the sign and have good memories of it."
According to the post, the DDA and the owner of the building that housed Michelle's are considering a project to restore the sign and display it elsewhere downtown.
The sign was taken down last month when a new business opened in the original space occupied by Michelle's; Michelle's opened in 1952 and closed in in 2007.
Edmondson said that she's not assuming that the person responsible for the missing sign has sinister motives.
"You know, this could be just a big misunderstanding," she said. "The way the sign was being stored, someone might have thought it was discarded, so it's possible that maybe someone just took it for scrap, or just didn't know what they had there and thought it was OK to take it. So we don't want to make assumptions."
Becky Sloboda is a former Michelle's customer who has fond memories of the sign and the business.
"It's sad enough that we lost Michelle's," she said. "Now, we've lost the representation of it, as well. "
Another former customer, Linda Visinsky, concurred.
When my husband was an (Air Force) Academy grad in the 60s, I came to visit him, and we went to Michelle's for ice cream," she explained. "So, the missing sign, it's kind of upsetting."
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the sign should send an email to email@example.com or call 719-886-0088.