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B. Lee Elam's iconic sign to change with the times

BRANDON — Since 1973, generations of Brandon residents have driven past the iconic sign at B. Lee Elam's law firm.

From birthday messages, to Florida State gameday stats, to honorary mayors, Elam has made his sign at the southeast corner of Lumsden Road and John Moore Road a landmark of East Hillsborough.

Yet a literal sign of changing times has commenced, with Elam deciding to cut costs by moving just three blocks away to the corner of Parsons and Robertson Roads.

The decision to move came relatively easy to Elam, a Florida State University graduate who continues to have an active role in the community.

"I had more space than I needed," Elam said. "We decided there would be less expenses with renting a place instead of owning and upkeeping a building like that."

Paul Reed of Reed & Reed was quick to show interest in the recognizable building.

"I've been practicing law for 21 years now and we were able to start our own firm on Oct. 1, 2013," Reed said. "I was born and raised in Brandon and I've been going by that sign all my life. I'd just drive by and look over to see what he was saying on any particular day of the week."

One of the things that both parties were thrilled about was Reed's request to keep the sign, noting that it played a significant role in Brandon history.

Elam agreed without hesitation citing one important fact.

"They're Seminole fans, so that didn't hurt a bit."

Reed is hopeful that after years of reading what he believes were thousands of Elam's University of Florida quips, he'll have learned a thing or two.

"One of the reasons I said I put that sign up is that Tampa is a hell hole of Gators and Lakeland is a cesspool of Gators," said Elam with a chuckle. "I wanted to brainwash the people heading from Tampa to Lakeland as they come by the office."

Reed may refurbish the sign in order to be able to accommodate the alumni that make up their staff, particularly since Ryan Reed, the other half of the firm, is a UF graduate.

Once logistics are ironed out, Elam and Reed both hope the site will continue to play an important role in the Brandon Community Roundtable's annual honorary mayor charity drive. The fundraiser, which dates back to 1959, announces the winner of the honorary mayor's office at the corner before the 4th of July Parade kicks off.

While Reed & Reed is still at their 1323 N Parsons location, they hope to be completed with cosmetic renovations and move into the Lumsden office by March 1.

"Nothing stays the same," Reed said. "But we're excited to make the change and continue some Brandon tradition."

Contact Kelsey Sunderland at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

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