Hardly anyone who has been through Roanoke, Virginia, has left without seeing our beautiful H&C Coffee advertising neon atop a downtown building. This interactive post-war sign harkens back to a period when marketing was frequently accomplished with big painted signs on the side of prominent buildings in heavily-populated urban centers. This particular sign’s origins can be traced to a trip to New York city by the coffee company’s owner. He was so impressed with the “big city lights” that he immediately commissioned a local sign company in Roanoke to make this H&C Coffee sign.
Although this local company went out of business for a period, the brand was eventually revitalized. This sign, too, has been through several remakes over the years, even going through a total relocation from one building rooftop to another. It’a now listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.
This postcard piqued my interest in the local coffee company. It features the company’s delivery truck making a neighborhood delivery in the 1950s era. Its lack of any imprint on the back suggests it may have been an ink blotter, or just a small-run marketing piece.
Oh, and if you were wondering what “H & C” stands for, it’s Harold and Clarence, the Woods brothers who came up from North Carolina to make their fortune in the Magic City. Clarence soon sold his interest in the company to Harold, but by then, the name had stuck.
Links of Interest:
www.hccoffee.com – The History of H&C Coffee
www.roadsidearchitecture.com – H&C Coffee Sign under repair (plus lots of other neat Virginia neons)