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August 18, 2006
Section: Local/State
Edition: Final/All
Page: B03

Hotel, restaurants cook up a deal

For Florida Today

COCOA BEACH -- Tourists can savor local flavor along with their bacon and eggs thanks to a deal dished up by three family-run businesses in Cocoa Beach.

Instead of a continental breakfast in the motel lobby, guests of the Econo Lodge Cocoa Beach are treated to morning meals at the Sunrise Diner.

The breakfasts include drinks and choices of eggs, meat and sides or cereal.

"It's an innovative new spin that not only benefits the traveler, but also the local community."

"We can promote beachside family businesses. And our guests can be around locals and get a real feel what Cocoa Beach is like."

The program is good for all involved, said Rob Varley, director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism.

"I think it's an excellent idea," Varley said. "It's giving added value to customers and doing a great service to the community by encouraging people to go out and see the local flavor of the area."

Boyd and Luella Nagle said they appreciated the free breakfasts they ate. But it was the Greek and Cuban specialties they found on the participating restaurants' full menus that will likely bring them back to the area.

The couple, who have lived near Tampa for 27 years, stopped at the Econo Lodge Cocoa Beach for their first vacation to the East coast.

"You can go to them any day you want," said Boyd Nagle, referring to chain restaurants. "We like going out and trying different food."

Local businesses can use those contacts to turn tourists into repeat customers, according to Dimitri Zourdos, whose family has operated the Sunrise Diner on West Cocoa Beach Causeway for Over 20 years.

"People walking in the door is all we need. Then they're hooked," Zourdos said. "When people come to visit again, they will come back here."

December 15, 2004
Section: Local;State
Edition: F Final All
Page: 01

New signs must be smaller
Florida Today, Staff

Since the motel's sign was erected years ago, Cocoa Beach's ordinance reduced the permitted sizes from a maximum of 300 square feet and a maximum height of 35 feet to 84 square feet and a height of 15 feet.

Business owners who expected to keep their signs for years are disappointed they have to reduce the size drastically, said Don Reilly, part owner of Art Kraft Signs.

Until all signs meet the new standards during the next 10 years or so, the larger older signs will tower over some of the newer smaller ones. The damaged signs will have to be replaced if the cost to repair is more than 50 percent of the replacement.

"This modern ordinance does have a more stringent requirement," said Tony Caravella, the city's director of development services.

The new rules were put in place in part because of a move by residents to clean up cluttered appearances, he said.

In Melbourne, many signs were damaged in the storms, but only about a half dozen that were erected before 1980 -- the time of the latest city regulations, said Dan Porsi, the city's code enforcement director.

Signs must be no more than 72 square feet in Melbourne.

"Back then they could be 300," Porsi said.

In Melbourne as in Titusville and other Brevard County cities, businesses also face conforming to the latest codes.

The American Legion Post 1, just north of Titusville, for years had two signs. So when one blew over and was destroyed by Hurricane Charley, veterans thought they would simply replace it the same way it was.

"We really couldn't believe we couldn't put our sign back," said Ferril White, a trustee at the American Legion. "That was a big shocker. We won't be able to keep everybody notified."

The option of changing its remaining sign to compensate for the one lost was just too expensive, White said. The group will try to find another way of advertising or notifying passers-by about its functions and events.

The organization's signs must meet the same regulations as a business, said Tom Ramsey, a code compliance officer for Brevard County.

"They have to be brought under the new more stringent code," said Dennis Berry, whose family owns Berry Signs. "In some cases, it is creating some hardships."

Some business like the small motels that don't have the reservation and advertising resources of the big chains must rely more on their signs to attract drive-by customers.

Having to lower the height, would be a strain, said Perron, who acknowledged to having one of the largest signs on State Road A1A in Cocoa Beach.

"It would be a tremendous blow to my business," she said. "We are reducing the size. I think it's a much more attractive sign. We're still working on the design."

Other family owned businesses such as Sunrise Diner are relying on a banner in the window to direct newcomers.

In addition concerns about meeting new regulations, businesses also have been waiting because of the volume of work of the sign companies following the hurricanes.

"We're just super busy," said Kendal Mullen, owner of Kendal Signs.

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