LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – The glow is about to return to an iconic sign in Lakeland, beloved by Hollywood and locals alike.
“Oh my gosh. It is so awesome,” said Faye Doppelheuer, who owns Babe’s Shoes & Apparel, located directly underneath the Southgate Shopping Center sign.
The shopping center, located on S. Florida Avenue, was built in 1957, which gives it a retro feel.
“In 2020, it’s retro. It was very, not so common, but just really kind of hip in 1957,” Doppelheuer said.
“I just think it’s a historic building and I love the design of it and I always have,” said Mary Beth Packard, who frequents the shopping center.
The sign was famously used in the film “Edward Scissorhands.” In 2018, Disney filmed a movie at the shopping center called “The One and Only Ivan.”
Doppelheuer was there for the film shoot and for a special moment two weeks ago.
“I just happened to be here at the right time to be able to see it go live for the first time,” said Doppelheuer.
Work began on adding multi-colored programmable LED-lighting to the beloved sign back in November and the plaza’s owners have been testing the lights since. With the programmable lights, the sign will display eight different programs to run throughout the year. The last time the sign was lit was 20 years ago.
“Southgate and the arch and the sign, it’s just been iconic for years. People are so excited that it’s going to be preserved,” said Doppelheuer.
It is unknown when the test run may become a permanent glow. One thing’s for certain, the retro look will stay around despite the improvements.
“We’re still keeping the retro look. We wanted to keep the sign the same. Go back to its former glory,” said Stephanie Carten, the marketing manager for the owner of the shopping center, Crossman & Company. “The reason why it’s getting done now is because it’s a labor of love for the community and the owners want to show it’s an iconic sign and want to show the love for the community.”
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