By Andrew Alexander
As the sun finds its home in the western sky, Chan Flowers heads indoors after a long few hours under the beating sun on the corner of Sherwood Forest Boulevard and Coursey Boulevard. Removing his Statue of Liberty costume inside of Liberty Tax Services, Chan takes a much-deserved seat in the nearest chair.
It’s been a long day for the sign waver.
If you drive around Baton Rouge, you undoubtedly have seen Flowers or one of his ilk on street corners and in front of businesses throughout the city. From Coursey to Corporate and everywhere in between, sign wavers entertain drivers and passengers alike with a dizzying array of sign tosses, spins and dance moves.
Flowers, a freshman at Southern University, took up sign waving to earn some extra money while in school.
Positioned at one of the busiest intersections in Baton Rouge, Flowers’ primary responsibility is to be as entertaining as possible in order to entice drivers into visiting Liberty Tax Services.
“I usually just twirl and flip the sign a few times and wave it in the air a few times, and I usually get a few reactions,” Flowers said.
To keep himself entertained during the long hours on his feet, Flowers listens to a variety of comedians from Gary Owen to Bruce Bruce via the Pandora app on his phone.
According to Flowers, the recipe for attracting potential customers is all about interactions.
“It’s all about give and take,” Flowers said. ‘They give me a reaction, and I’ll give them something back.”
“People wave and yell at me, honk their horns at me, and have all sorts of different reactions,” Flowers explained. “Sometimes when you make eye contact with them, they’ll look back at and ask you where Liberty Tax is located. I’ve had a couple people say they came here because they saw me outside waving.”
Just down the street outside the recently opened Noble Roman’s Take-N-Bake P-ZA, sign waver Travis Taylor is still going strong.
Decked out in Roman centurion garb, Taylor welcomes passersby with a big smile and a large sign that advertises free breadsticks inside Noble Roman’s.
“I wave the sign a little bit sometimes,” Taylor said. “If I’ve got some music, I might dance with it a little bit. I sway to side-to-side sometimes, it just depends on what the beat is.”
His go-to song is A Great Big World’s “Say Something.”
“Don’t judge me, but it made me cry the first time I watched the video,” Taylor says with a grin.
Similar to Flowers, Taylor uses interaction as way to attract new customers to Noble Roman’s.
“Sometimes I’ll flip the sign upside down, and people will say, ‘Your sign is upside down,’ and I’ll tell them to go inside and check out Noble Roman’s,” Taylor said.
Though just a freshman at Baton Rouge Community College, Taylor has aspirations to own a business himself one day.
“I like business, and you got to start somewhere,” Taylor explained. “Maybe someone else will hold a sign for me one day.”