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In Mesa, Old-School Neon Signs are Cool Again

Downtown Mesa is rejuvenating its historic charm, urging business owners to rekindle the neon glow of yesteryears. With generous city grants, these iconic neon signs that once adorned U.S. 60’s Main Street are making a vibrant comeback.

Historically, these neon signs beckoned travelers with promises of rest and refreshment. As Mesa’s downtown core expands, local eateries, breweries, and retail shops between Country Club Road and Mesa Drive are reigniting this neon heritage. The mission? Bridge the past with the present, making Main Street a business hub once again.

Jeff McVay, the spearhead behind Mesa’s downtown metamorphosis, remarks, “Neon is a hallmark of our city’s growth era, guiding travelers on U.S. 60 with its vibrant allure. It’s a bond with Mesa’s evolution that’s irreplaceable.”

In the last three years, Mesa has allocated over $215,000 in grants for neon and similar signs. The 2023 cycle alone awarded $100,000 for the signs of businesses such as Oro Brewing and Level 1 Arcade Bar. Funding, sourced from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community contributions, keeps this program thriving.

With soaring application numbers each year, it’s evident that local businesses value this initiative. As Matt Tretheway of BRI Taproom and Arcade suggests, while neon signs are not a necessity, they amplify the building’s appeal and resonate with downtown Mesa’s evolving vibe. “The support Mesa extends to maintain local business authenticity is truly unparalleled,” he notes.

At its core, Mesa’s neon revival aims to curate a distinct downtown ambiance. The grant, targeting locally-owned enterprises, alleviates business expenses, fostering longevity and prosperity. It’s a testament to the city’s commitment, even evident in the Downtown Mesa Association’s neon-inspired rebranding.

In essence, this neon resurgence isn’t just about lighting up businesses. It’s about illuminating the spirit, history, and future potential of downtown Mesa.

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