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Hat's off at Kent's Arby's restaurant

Original sign from the 1960s to be replaced

By DAVE O'BRIEN Staff Writer Published: June 17, 2017 4:00 AM
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Kent lost an advertising icon on Friday, after the original cowboy hat sign outside the Arby's restaurant on East Main Street was taken down after more than 50 years.

A store manager who asked not to be identified by name confirmed the brown cowboy hat bordered by lightbulbs and reading "Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich" and "Drive Thru" was taken down.

The sign is the original one installed when the Kent location opened sometime in the fall of 1966. Approximately 50 feet tall, it has been replaced with a smaller sign, the store manager said.

There may be only "two or three" such signs left standing in the United States, she said. "Mostly just the age and upkeep of it was becoming unrealistic."

She said the removal company hired to take it down took it away, to parts unknown.

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"We thought about (keeping it), but the timing wasn't right for it," she said. "I would like to see the sign put up somewhere."

The original 10-gallon cowboy hat design was retired in 1975 when Arby's first changed its logo, according to the company's website.

"People in Kent, people at the university, they're going to miss it," the store manager said. "Unfortunately, it's the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one."

The first Arby's -- the name stands for the "R" and "B" of Raffel Brothers after founders Leroy and Forrest "Fuzzy" Raffel -- opened in Boardman, Ohio, in July 1964, according to Arby's.

The company now is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., and has more than 3,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.


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