Store owner offering free ‘We’re Open’ banners to area businesses

The owner of the Far Hills Avenue UPS store in Oakwood is doing what he does best to help the businesses who have turned to him for years.

Ashwin Narayan, from Springfield and now living in Xenia, said a “We’re Open” banner can be a small but extremely helpful tool for local businesses trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s making outdoor vinyl OPEN signs free of charge at his store for local businesses who still need one.

About 30 signs can be made with one roll of material, so Narayan is starting with saying he will make 30 free signs, but emphasized he won’t stop if the need is there.

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“It’s not limited to Oakwood,” Narayan said. “It’s a first come, first serve. I have one roll set aside for this and if that goes away quickly, I’ll get a couple more rolls.”

In 2001, Narayan left Dayton to travel with the Air Force but settled in Oakwood in 2011 with his first UPS store. Today he also owns four others — one in Centerville and three in the Cincinnati market, but still has a special fondness for his first store.

Narayan said he feels close to the local business owners as they use his store for many of their business needs.

“I’m just giving back to all the customers that have used that store,” he said.

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Driving around town, Narayan said he saw lots of businesses still open with no signs letting people know they are still open amid the stay-at-home orders.

“A lot of them, because they don’t have cars in front of them, people think they’re closed,” Narayan said. “And a lot of people don’t have a flashy sign that says they’re open, especially small businesses. So unless someone is looking specifically for you online, they’re not going to know you’re open or they’re going to have to call you.”

Even if people who are out and about don’t need the services of a local businesses at that moment, the “Open” signs help people remember what’s available the next time someone is deciding where to go for food, supplies or services.

It takes Narayan about one hour to complete a sign. If enough businesses need signs, he said he could crank out almost a whole roll worth in a day.

“I can’t wait to go back to being busy,” Narayan said.

Any local business that wants to inquire getting a sign should contact the Oakwood store located at 2312 Far Hills Ave. or call the store (937) 294-8008.

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