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Ferndale reader board echoes famous NYC billboard but for a different purpose

True Value Hardware readerboard (March 1, 2019). Photo: My Ferndale News

A billboard put up in New York City’s Times Square district referenced Democrat New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s successful battle against Amazon which forced the company to pull out of its plans to open a 2nd headquarters in New York. In short, it said “Thanks for Nothing, AOC!”

This message was the center of a conversation between Ferndale True Value Hardware Owner Steve Martinson and his staff. Jokingly, Martinson said something to the effect of “We should put up a similar sign on our reader board.” Martinson told MFN he really did not mean his comment as direction for staff but this week he started getting calls asking about his reader board.

Unbeknownst to Martinson, staff had gone ahead and posted “Thanks for Nothing COF” on the store’s reader board. This in reference to the hit Martinson’s business has taken since the City of Ferndale removed electronic traffic and crosswalk signals at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Main Street.

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“I think I’m going to leave it up until tomorrow,” Martinson said during a phone call today. “I suppose it doesn’t hurt if more people will understand what has happened.”

Martinson was referring to the drop in business at his store since the implementation of the traffic signal change at 1st Avenue and Main Street. In December 2017 he spoke at a Ferndale City Council meeting to let them know his retail business had dropped off enough that he had to lay off nearly half his staff.

“We have done fine for years,” Martinson explained. “But the drop in business we have had since the city removed the lights has been devastating. People tell me they can’t get in and out anymore and have to shop elsewhere.”

City of Ferndale staff recently announced they were planning on making improvements to the intersection but reinstalling the traffic signals was not part of that project.


  1. Karen Joseph March 1, 2019

    Wow. I knew it would impact business like for example myself if I just need a quick thing am much more likely to wait until I go into Bellingham then I used to… But wow. Hang in there!

  2. Harold Smithy March 1, 2019

    Ferndale keeps jacking up property taxes; now we’ve got higher property taxes for the next 22 years!!! With no end in sight! Wait until they keep taxing businesses more and more?

    It won’t just be homeowners packing their bags and fleeing this out of control taxation. It’ll be businesses, too.

  3. Brian Jones March 2, 2019

    Maybe it’s just that the other hardware store in town gives much better customer service?

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