I have a lot of favorite commercial signs, so I’ll break them up into manageable categories starting with barbershop poles.
Once upon a time, the working barbershop pole was a common, universal sign. Someone on Pleasant Ave. in Hamburg had one in front of his house. There may have been one at South Shore Plaza; I suspect my dad went to both places. Now they’re almost rarer than a hen’s tooth.
I get excited when I see a barber pole in working order. The first one up is the Varsity Barber Shop in Ann Arbor. The 2012 photo was missing the location data, but I figured it out from the Michigan colors. Varsity is still open.
The next one is from Arcade Barbers in Nickels Arcade, Ann Arbor, possibly my favorite shopping area anywhere. The shop started in 1917.
This one is from a couple blocks from me on a stretch of 55th Street with many tiny basement salons/barbershops. I was excited when this pole appeared and remain surprised it hasn’t been vandalized.
Finally, here’s what happens when you can’t bother with a pole or don’t have a place to hang it.
As an aside, I looked up barber poles on eBay many years ago and found some for hundreds of dollars. Now I see several on Amazon for under $100. Have they made a comeback, or have they never been out of style (or a reasonable price range)?