boston coffeehouse tea pot
NOT SHORT, NOT STOUT — Earlier this year, Boston Coffeehouse owner Joe Valente replaced a sign that was knocked down in a storm with a custom-made metal teapot. Valente was proud of his flashy advertisement for his coffee shop, but the City of DeLand made him take it down citing a few reasons, including a rule that signs can’t resemble “products.”

The City of DeLand’s Code Enforcement made Boston Coffeehouse owner Joe Valente take down a large, metal teapot he had hung outside of his Downtown DeLand coffee shop. 

Valente said he erected the teapot earlier this year to liven up New York Avenue, and to replace an old sign that was damaged in a storm.

Per the City of DeLand, the teapot ran afoul of a rule that signs outside of businesses not be “designed or constructed to resemble any human, animal, plant, or product.”

Valente thinks that rule is bunk.

“It could be argued in many ways. It is not a human, animal, plant or product!” he said. “Technically, it’s a vessel for serving a product.”

Valente said he was inspired by the idea that many other flourishing downtowns have large, three-dimensional signs for businesses, and those signs become tourist favorites, a fact that was pointed out during a MainStreet DeLand Association seminar about making Downtown areas memorable.

The custom-made teapot hanging over Valente’s Downtown DeLand coffee shop, he said, cost him roughly $20,000. The teapot now lives inside at the Downtown DeLand location; Valente is hopeful he can find a place for it in his second DeLand location, a coffeehouse with a drive-thru that’s in the works for the intersection of Woodland Boulevard and Beresford Avenue on the south end of DeLand.


City Community Information Manager Chris Graham said Valente didn’t properly apply to hang his teapot sign, in addition to violating the city’s signage rules.

“The business is welcome to apply for a permit to have it reinstalled, though there is no guarantee that it will be approved,” Graham told The Beacon. “But at the very least, the process would allow us to have a dialogue in hopes of coming to a solution.”

The specific design of Valente’s teapot came from a famous teapot that was hung over the Oriental Tea Co. in Boston in the 1870s. 

“A lot of immigrants couldn’t read,” Valente explained, “so it was a way of knowing it was a coffee shop.”

That teapot, which still hangs today over a Starbucks coffee shop in Boston, can hold more than 220 gallons of water — or tea. Or even coffee.


  1. I think the tea pot looks awesome. Making them take it down was like you painting over the art “wings” in the Artisan Alley. Let them put it back!

    • I love the tea pot.. we need more of that type of thing in DeLand. Please put it back up.

      Makes the main streets look more fun and inviting to locals and draws visitors.

      I vote with you to put it back up.

  2. Get rid of the yoga statue by the old courthouse 1st. I along with other’s find it offensive. If it was a cross there would be riots.

  3. Per the City of DeLand, the teapot ran afoul of a rule that signs outside of businesses not be “designed or constructed to resemble any human, animal, plant, or product.”

    OK who made this rule and what nimrod didn’t appreciate this cool addition to downtown? C’mon people…

  4. I wonder if the owner had this thing professionally engineered? Imagine if this thing fell on someone! Pretty or not, there is protocol to keep things safe for everyone.

    • It was professionally engineered and didn’t budge on the last 2 hurricanes. It’s made of lightweight aluminum. (lighter than it looks).:)

    • I know the owner.He is a smart knowledgeable Businessman and will not have erected something that would have harmed anyone …hence it made it through two Hurricanes.
      I vote to put the kettle back.It looks awesome and certainly helps make the Downtown look better.

      • Loved the teapot. DeLand is so arty and has so many beautiful artworks thoughout the city. I have to admit that the tea pot did confuse me as tea is not coffee and it is a coffee house, but I suppose they serve tea as well. When I saw it, I thought oh they’re trying to get people more interested in tea. In any case there have to be rules – I don’t remember any words on the tea pot so I question whether it is art or a sign. Are there permits that are needed to erect sculptures in town?

        Hopefully the red tape issues can be worked out. I appreciate the teapot as an art sculpture!

    • No one is safe. Life is life, everyday is dangerous in one form or another! Safety is a state of mind, not something you can control, even couped up in your own house. Next I guess the City of DeLand will be telling EVERYONE what to think, what to do! Politicians/gov’t run amuck! Pitiful!

  5. So disappointed to hear about this—I absolutely love that golden teapot and thought it added to the charming character of Downtown DeLand. Please bring back the golden teapot, City of DeLand leadership!

  6. If it’s properly securedthen leave it! It adds to the charm of downtown deland. If anything should be removed is the weird lady statue in from of bank of America!!!

  7. I would offer my services to draw up the plans to apply for the permit, thus verifying the structural integrity of the sign.

  8. I love the teapot. It’s adds the charm of downtown and this rule banning signs that resemble a product, plant, animal or person is patently absurd. Who dreamed that rule up?

    Should we paint over the Wings in Angel Alley because it’s a part of a bird?

    Should we get rid of the yoga statue by the old courthouse?

    Should we ban the Tin Soldiers that greet us along Woodland?

    Should we remove the sunflower bench on Indiana Ave?

    Should we paint over the water grates that depict dogs, ice cream cones etc on the Boulevard?

    What’s next – the murals? The Butterflies?

    Let’s take a closer look at this rule.

    Dumb rule.

  9. Why would anyone install something like this without a permit? Joe had to know that this was the likely outcome.

  10. The one in Boston even steams! Can’t paste a photo but it looks similar.
    Government Center, Boston: The kettle was an old sign for the Oriental Tea Company, and hung in a variety of locations before arriving at the Court Street Starbucks. It became a tourist attraction after an 1875 contest to guess the kettle’s capacity—227 gallons, two quarts, one pint, and three gills, which is etched on the side of the landmark. The kettle is also iconic for spilling out steam, accurately resembling a giant pot of hot tea.Boston City Hall Building, Government Center, Boston Massachusetts

  11. I love it! It’s the reason people come to Downtown DeLand; crazy art, wings, festivals and more. What will they do about the guy that rides his bicycle around advertising for the Athens, with the bubbles? I love him, but how is that not a sign? It’s what everyone loves about DeLand…..wake up and bring back the teapot.

  12. This is ridiculous. This is what makes us different. Why would you want boring signs only in a town that celebrates art? This isn’t ok but all the sculptures are ok? Put it back.

  13. The Historical Board? The ones that allowed an orange monolith of a hotel downtown?? THAT Historical Board??? The Historical Board that will allow new apartments downtown that will look like something on Miami Beach? Those guys? Leave the teapot alone! Visitors think its great! So do I….


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