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"You will do better in Toledo" sign appears in Seattle

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Michael Taylor, a Toledo native, has hung a message for Amazon in his window across the street from the online retail giant's headquarters in Seattle.

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SEATTLE — Across the street from Amazon’s sprawling Seattle headquarters, nestled against the windowpane in a high-rise luxury apartment complex, is a sign with a slogan familiar to Toledoans.

A “You will do better in Toledo,” sign is plastered underneath a poster with Amazon’s logo.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, announced in September it was soliciting bids from cities across North America for a fitting location to build a second company headquarters. The project is estimated to be worth $5 billion.

Amazon received 238 proposals, including proposals from Toledo and Maumee.

But with the help of Michael Taylor, a Toledo native, the Glass City is continuing to court the online retail giant.

Mr. Taylor, 48, was born and raised in Toledo, but moved away at the age of 18. Despite his prolonged absence, the love he has for Toledo hasn’t waned.  

Sitting at his desk, inside the Via6 apartment complex in downtown Seattle, Mr. Taylor can see the domes — made of glass panels on a steel frame — sitting in front of Amazon’s 33-building campus.

The idea was born after he received a call from a different city that was interested in placing a sign in the apartment complex window sending a message to Amazon. He declined, but immediately thought of his hometown.

“While I was on the phone I thought wow, that’s a great idea, I’m going to call Toledo,’” Mr. Taylor said.

He called the mayor’s office and eventually Brandon Sehlhorst, the city’s manager of real estate, shipped Mr. Taylor the sign to place in the window of the apartment complex.

And what sign would be more suitable than one with a slogan with so much history behind it?

The catchphrase “You will do better in Toledo” first appeared on an illuminated sign that crowned the Valentine Theatre. That was more than 100 years ago.

Today, Toledoans can see the vintage black-and-white road signs throughout the city.

After seeing how Amazon’s headquarters has transformed Seattle, Mr. Taylor is wishing Toledo has the same fate.

“The growth in Seattle, especially downtown, has just exploded in the last 5 years because of Amazon,” he said.

Despite being nearly 2,000 miles away, Mr. Taylor hopes this small gesture helps give Toledo that final push to edge all the other suitors.

If Toledo secures the bid, not only could it transform northwest Ohio, but it might lure Mr. Taylor back after he slipped away three decades ago.

“If Amazon comes back to Toledo I would probably come back with it.”

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

Contact Javonte Anderson at janderson@theblade.com419-724-6065, or on Twitter @JavonteA.

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