If Julie and Bobby Lara want to fit their new roadside billboard onto their sales floor, they will have to roll it up. Even then, it would be a tight fit for their 48-by-12-foot billboard to fit into a 28-by-12-foot space.
The Laras own JB Brick Company, 295 E. Main No. 1E, Hermiston. There, they sell several different Lego sets and individual pieces. It is a rare store, Julie pointed out, saying it is the only store like it from Boise to Portland.
The idea to rent a billboard was Bobby’s. He was driving down a highway when he noticed what he thought was an available sign. He asked about it, but discovered someone had beaten him to the punch. It was not, as it turned out, available. It also was $1,700 per month, which was outside of their budget.
But the couple still thought it would be a good idea, and they started looking around for another sign.
She said they believed a billboard was the right move because their business was doing well, Julie said. The last couple of years had been profitable for their business. As people were confined more to their homes, they explored several hobbies. Many people started building Lego kits as an alternative to regular puzzles and television, Julie said.
In addition, they had success with other forms of promotion. Newspapers, radio, television and social media all gave boosts to the business. After some searching, they decided on their current sign, which costs just under $900 per month, Julie said. It is on Highway 395, visible as drivers enter Hermiston.
Many people have commented on it, she said in an interview Oct. 21, and it has driven some people into her shop. Still, she is waiting to see if it will pay for itself.
It is a big move, but a necessary one, she said. Almost every day, even though she first opened the store August 2019, local people still are surprised by its existence. Even people who own businesses on the same street, only a couple of blocks away, are just now discovering it. She had to do something, she said.
This season, as people get ready for Christmas, is especially good for her. Last year was “insane,” she said. She had a terrific amount of business, and she hopes to repeat this success.
Her only other concern about the store is a shortage, she said. She said she worries about being able to acquire enough Lego sets to meet the holiday demand.
And with new Lego sets, including the latest in “Star Wars” and the new “Ideas” lines, she hopes she will have enough Legos to build on her success.