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A sign over the shop door to alert passerbys to your product or service have been around for a long time. Centuries. But not every business in every community needed one.

At times a product display outside the door served the same purpose. Plus it gave the owner room to move around while making more product during business hours.

A distinctive scent may have announced your product to the public. After all, follow your nose and you’ll end up in front of fresh bread. Or soap. Or pigs for sale. It depends on the odor your nose picks up.

The example below demonstrates the product display method.

The barrels clarify this is the cooper’s shop. And while the scent of fresh planed wood is lovely — it could also have led you to the carpenter or wheelwright’s place of business.

Several generations ago, wooden barrels were a common sight. They were used for dry goods, wet goods, raw good, finished goods. Pickles. Vinegar. Flour. Beer. Nails. We use other containers for these products now. They are gone from the corner store. Banished to the wineries and distilleries.

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