Back in 2009, I collected a number of Owl head cutouts and purchased felt pennants to hand out to local businesses. I made some headway here and there but overall Boca businesses were more hesitant about hanging up FAU stuff than I had predicted. See, I had been operating on the idea that businesses were interested in supporting FAU (and the college town idea), they just hadn't/didn't want to spend the money (an FAU flag, for instance, costs $50).
Fast forward a couple years to late 2011/early 2012 when Student Government picked up the baton and ran with it for their Owl Country campaign. Needless to say, they did an awesome job and were much more successful than me. Here's the result of their efforts as well as other progress made on integrating FAU/Owl spirit into the community (the following pictures are all mine):
Of course this isn't the only representation we have in Boca Raton. 620-SUBS has been basically FAU-themed for a long time now, and we've rewarded them with our business. Publix on Federal Highway will often put up football posters near the entrance and sell FAU shirts/hats (of questionable quality). The Boca Diner on Federal also flies an FAU flag and puts up football posters in their waiting area (thanks to one of their employees being a dedicated FAU football fan). McDonald's on Yamato Road has FAU stuff up as well. And of course there's the entire FAU-themed gas station on 20th Street, the (Valero) Owl's Nest.
And I'm sure there are plenty more that I'm overlooking.
Point is: it's a good start. It's especially a good start because these businesses don't have to do this for us. Not even at University Commons! And Publix obviously doesn't need to put up FAU paraphernalia to attract throngs of customers. Nor does Starbucks.
I was surprised that Pita Pit (next to Starbucks on Glades) didn't have any since that's a business that usually caters to college students. I'd also like to see something up at Panera and Pei Wei, but again, that might be a harder sell, as might be stores in the Boca Mall or Mizner (like the Boston Market across from Mizner)
There's sometimes a feeling that Boca businesses should support the Owls because we're the "hometown team" (I'm sure Lynn says the same thing) but when you get down to it, I bet a large percentage of these owners/managers have no affiliation to FAU other than location. They might have gone to schools like Florida or Miami and, if they were going to hang up anything, it would be Gator or Hurricane stuff. So we're lucky to have made this much progress, and once our football and basketball teams really start to shine, you'll see more banners and more FAU gear on sale again. Things may ebb and flow in this town but as mentioned before, interest from one business can spur interest in another, and slowly but surely Owl spirit can flood the community. Hopefully SGA's Owl Country campaign can continue for the next few years to expand our reach into Boca Raton.
I still believe it is critical to add FAU spirit to University Commons, as it is one of the largest "attractions" in Boca Raton and located along a road that regularly attracts ~80,000 cars a day. I think it's important for us to extend our FAU banners on Glades to University Commons on each lightpost in the parking lot. I also believe we should heavily consider a repaint of the University Commons sign at the intersection of Glades and Airport Road to something like this:
You know, work in the school colors.
Remind them of the red and blue.
Remind people that this is Florida Atlantic University Commons.
Remind them that this is Owl Country.