To the Editor:

It was such a beautiful September day that we didn’t notice at first that the store sign was gone. September, for all of its magnificence, can be pretty sparse for up-Island retailers. So, we were manning the store with low expectations. And, as we can’t be seen from either North Road or Menemsha Crossroad, those expectations plummeted to zero with no sign to announce our presence at The Captain Flanders Inn.

In a triumph of hope over past experience (I take full responsibility), it wasn’t locked in place. But seriously, I don’t know what the appeal was. The sign had no sexy artwork – it was a small, simple, discreet drop down from the inn sign. It was a pretty blue with stick-on gold letters done expertly by local sign maker Tom Hodgson.

The theft of any retailer’s sign, simple or not, is more then an inconvenience. The replacement cost, along with the loss of potential business, especially in a period of years of bad economic times, when many retailers are already facing financial stress, makes the act especially malicious and mean spirited.

My hope is that when the perpetrator recovered from the hangover our sign would have lost some of its glamour, and in a fit of conscience it would be left at our doorstep.

Whoever took the sign from outside Fielder & Fielder, at the Captain Flanders House on North Road in Chilmark, please return it. We are flattered that you wanted it for a souvenir, but you cannot have thought what a loss it is to a business, not only because these signs are expensive, but because we lose trade as well. Times are tough enough.

Thank you in advance. If it was tossed in the bushes somewhere and a biker, runner, or walker stumbles upon it, we would be grateful if you could contact us. The sign is for Fielder & Fielder Imports Inc.Please call us with any information at 508-645-9666 or 508-693-3223.

Evan L. Fielder

West Tisbury