Shelly Sullivan has a little shop on Main Street called Bodacious Bundts, where she sells baked goods and coffee. But driving past the shopping center it's in, it's easy to blink and miss the listing for the shop in the multi-store sign outside.


"Just being on Main Street is not enough. It's never enough," she said. "And then the economy hit."


So she decided to use signage to improve the visibility of her shop, including a small metal sign placed in the bushes of the shopping center Bodacious Bundts is located in, a few feet from where an employee of another store stands many days, swinging a sign.


It didn't take long for the City of Hesperia's Code Enforcement department to let her know: The sign-swingers might be legal, but putting out a sign each morning was not.


"There need to be rules and regulations," she said, "But there need to be signs."


On the other side of town, Beauty Box owner Betty Vargas has a similar story about her shop off of Bear Valley Road.


"The owner of this building didn't want us to put a banner on the building," Vargas said. Instead, she went out and purchased a pair of nylon flag-like signs for $800. In a matter of days, she had made her money back.


"It increased my sales about $200 a day," Vargas said. And then Code Enforcement came by, warning her that she was out of compliance and would be fined if she continued to keep the signs stuck into the yard outside her store.


"There's a lot of businesses that are dying on the vine here," she said.


The message has gotten through at Hesperia City Hall.


At Tuesday's meeting, the Hesperia City Council will consider a provision to temporarily allow businesses to put out more signs along city streets.


"Businesses have requested some sort of additional signage that would be on or near the street that would assist them during the recession," said Principal Planner Dave Reno. "We heard several different requests over the months: 'We need to do something different to get attention.'"


The proposed ordinance will allow businesses to put out two additional signs during business hours. One version of the ordinance would allow flagpole-style signs like Vargas has, while another version would include several different types of signs, including the square metal sign that Sullivan plants in the bushes at her shopping center each morning.


"It's the kind of thing you put out there and bring in at night," said Reno. "Typically, those signs aren't allowed, except for special events. We wanted to put some additional flexibility in. ... They've got to be professionally done, so they can't just take a piece of cardboard and draw on it."


If approved, the new signage ordinance would be a temporary measure, expiring a year after its approval by the city council.


(The council will also consider a measure to allow the 33 billboards in the city to be moved or upgraded to digital billboards. There are no areas in the city zoned to allow for the creation of new billboards -- all of the existing billboards predate the zoning regulations.)


Vargas and Sullivan both intend to be at Tuesday's council meeting, and the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce encouraged members at its Friday morning coffee to attend as well.


"Business people have to be there," Vargas said. "This is important for all of us."


"It shouldn't be 'no signs.' It should be much more liberal," said Sullivan. "If I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I'm tired, whatever I need, I look for a sign."


The next regular meeting of the Hesperia City Council will take place on July 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.