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Innisfil Sign Wars competition heats up (15 photos)

More than 41 messages have been posted within a week of the friendly compeition

It's been a week since the Innisfil Sign Wars kicked off, with Howard Courtney of Innisfil Community Church starting the initiative. 

Now, there are more than a dozen businesses and organizations involved, including the Town of Innisfil, Fork & Plate Family Grill, and Killarney Beach Public School. 

Courtney has even created a Facebook page for residents to keep up and contribute photos of their sign sightings, and already has close to 250 members. 

Owners of Fork & Plate, Deb and Ralph Burton were quick to join the competition last week after Courtney called out the owners publicly on his digital sign, challenging them to Sign War. 

Deb says Ralph is the "king of corny jokes" and the pair have had a great time coming up with zingers to post on their sign outside the restaurant at  2383 25th Side Rd. 

"We have always loved our community and saw a great need to lift everyone's spirit and show all the businesses and organizations in Innisfil that there is still support out there!" said Deb. 

And while the signs have been well received by the community, Deb hopes it will also be a way to support local business during the stay-at-home order. 

"Now we need all of our great friends to offer more by ordering, buying gift certificates, donating to the special organizations that continue to support us, and keeping that smile on their faces," she said. 

The restaurant is typically open seven days a week, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Since COVID, they have had to reduce their operating hours to four days a week, Wednesday-Saturday, for dinner only. 

In normal times, they employ 18-20 staff members, some of which have been with them since they opened 15 years ago. They now only have five staff members. 

"It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," said Deb, about laying off staff, who are like family to her. "We miss you and want you back."

She and Ralph make sure to check in on their laid-off staff every week to see how they are coping, and offer food if needed. 

The Burtons sympathize with fellow businesses who are only able to operate in a limited capacity. 

They are hopeful for better times ahead, and in the meantime encourage everyone to support as much local business as possible. 

Normally, this is the busiest weekend for Fork & Plate with Mother's Day outings but this year is different. They will be open for takeout this Sunday just for the occasion. 

To check out their menu, click here

Natasha Philpott

About the Author: Natasha Philpott

Natasha is BradfordToday's Community Editor. She graduated from the Media Studies program at The University of Guelph-Humber. She lives in Bradford with her husband, two boys and two cats
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