Wide Open Spaces

It's been nearly six months since tobacco makers forfeited some 3,600 billboards as part of the national tobacco settlement. So who rode in when the Marlboro Man rode out? Many small businesses, which are now snatching up the choice boards once locked up in multiyear deals. "The inventory is returning back to the community," says Tommy Teepell, sales director at Lamar Outdoor Advertising, which controls boards in 40 states. "It is a lot easier for everything from the small beauty shop to the local auto insurer to promote locally." Beware: Pent-up demand is pushing some prices up as much as 20%. For more information, visit www.oaaa.org.