After 50 years, Flip’s sign is gone

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Submitted: Sat, 09/29/2012 - 3:54am
Updated: Sat, 09/29/2012 - 12:02pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington’s sign ordinance is forcing businesses in the Port City to remove signs that do not comply. Today that meant the end of an era for one sign many people say is a Wilmington icon.

After almost 50 years, the city says the iconic Flip’s Bar-B-Que sign has to go. The sign on Oleander Drive does not follow city ordinance. After a long appeal, the city told owner Bob Church the sign had to be gone by Monday. Church says he thinks the sign should have been grandfathered in and allowed to stay.

“It’s just a landmark,” Church said. “It’s been here all these years, and people really like it, and they just don’t understand why it’s coming down.”

Church says he has tried to contact city officials to find out what he could do to save the sign, but he did not hear back. The $200-a-day fine for keeping the sign up is not something Church can afford, so he scheduled to have the sign removed.

He says this is just another sign of the times.

“It’s just getting harder and harder,” Church said. “The taxes are going up, insurance is going up, everything is going up. The cost of living is going up, and it’s getting tougher.”

As for Flip’s patrons, their opinion is simple.

“Leave it up. It’s fine,” one customer said.

But at 2:30 p.m. Friday, the red logo came down. Church says it was a sad moment for him and Wilmington as a whole, which he says has lost another icon.

He says he hopes to restore the sign to its former glory and put it inside the store.

About an hour after the sign came down, we got a phone call from a city spokesman. He said Church could leave the sign up and apply for historic preservation without being fined. The city says it told Church about this option. Church says the city did not.

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35 Comments on "After 50 years, Flip’s sign is gone"

2015 years 8 months ago

Umm, it’s just a sign, folks. How long did the reporter have to wait to interview a customer? I thought they closed years ago.

2015 years 8 months ago

The Battleship isn’t in Wilmington.

2015 years 8 months ago

I drive by there several times a day and the real estate sign has been there for awhile now.

2015 years 8 months ago

I drove by Saturday night. There’s another sign out front now. A “for sale” sign from a real estate company. Good job Wilmington!

Charles Walters
2015 years 8 months ago

I see the post blaming the Mayor, and the City Council for the problems in Wilmington. I say if you do not like the crap that is going on, get off your A$$ES and vote them out of office. Then put the people in who will preserve Wilmington’s history while leading it into the future. I grew up in Wilmington, and the last time I came back, the city looked like hell. Every where you looked there were unfinished projects, and no one working on them. All the infighting, and crooked deals are killing what used to be a great city and it is sad. The bottom line is if you do not like who you hired to run the city,USE YOUR VOTE TO FIRE THEM!!!!!!!!!