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« Ex-Hostess building sold for $720,000 | Main | Downtown parking lot sells for $2.8M »

January 04, 2014

Sign guy ready to brave cold temps

You've probably seen Paul La France or one of his co-workers standing at an intersection in the past few weeks holding an eight-foot-tall Sears Going Out of Business sale sign.

While drivers in heated cars go by, the sale sign holders stand along the streets in five hour shifts for $8 an hour.

SignguyThis is the final weekend for the Sears sign holding gig and it's going to be a brutal one to be out in the frigid weather.

On Saturday afternoon, it was a "balmy" 17 degrees. La France was huddled behind his sign at the intersection of South Broadway and U.S. 14.

"Yeah, I'm kinda freezing. My feet are frozen even though I have three pairs of socks on," said La France, while trying to see through eyeglasses that had iced over from the cold. His voice was muffled by his camouflage mask covering his face.

Despite the forecasts of historic frigid temps moving into the area Sunday, he planned on another five hour shift standing at the corner with the sign. La France describes himself as homeless.

"I'm not a panhandler. I don't want to beg," he says. The cold weather, however, has inspired some drivers to stop and give him hot chocolate or even hand warmers.

He makes it clear that he's not looking for handouts. This is his job, even though it's one that not a lot of people would be eager to take on. La France dismisses suggestion that it's not an easy way to make $8 an hour.

"I've had worst jobs," he says.

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