Dwindling retail sales could be a sign of poor economic times for a Sandy Springs office supply store. But Staples on Roswell Road just south of I-285 in the Prado shopping center blames inadequate signage.

Staples currently has a small listing underneath a prominent Target logo on the two monument signs for the Prado that mark entryways off Roswell Road and Lake Placid Drive. Staples district manager Mark Menard said visibility to passersby is limited, especially for those driving north on Roswell Road.

On Aug. 13, Menard asked the city Board of Zoning Appeals for permission to relocate the sign to a better location — affixed on the eastern side of the building — to attract shoppers to the “underperforming” store.

A sign variance was necessary to install a second wall sign on the business since it does not have street frontage. There was supposed to be a Circuit City between Roswell Road and Staples, but that franchise went under, and no construction has taken place.

The board approved the sign variance 5 to 1 and imposed some stipulations. “I’m not convinced the hardship imposed is great enough for the variance,” said board member Oswald Hill, who sided with opposition from Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods Dist. 6 rep Patty Berkowitz. “I think we are on a very slippery slope when we start undoing the work of a neighborhood group.”

Ultimately, the application was approved under the condition the wall sign be removed Sept. 30, 2011. Staples also must remove their name from the two monument signs.

— Amy Wenk