Across Gainesville, Ga., retail and service businesses are taking longer to repair burned-out letters in their outdoor signs, causing some to wonder whether the economy is to blame. However, the International Sign Association's David Hickey says that is probably not the case. "I have heard that often burned-out lights aren't changed right away because their owners think that somehow they'll be saving on energy costs. But these cost savings are negligible, and if a darkened sign means that a customer doesn't drop by, that is a much greater loss to the business."

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