By: Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A “sign war” has erupted in Aylmer.
Dozens of local businesses, services clubs, schools and organizations are firing friendly, pun-filled shots at one another using their available signage, or in some cases, creating that signage, as of last week.
East Elgin Community Complex issued the first challenge in town. Aylmer Parks and Facilities Manager Thom Polland said he first got the idea after watching a news report about sign wars in Listowel.
“Aylmer businesses have taken the challenge on and the results have been amazing, and we all appreciate the resident’s reactions to the challenges,” said Mr. Polland.
EECC fist called out Greta’s Taco Wagon, with no response.
Their next target, Saxonia Hall, took the bait, with the EECC roadside sign reading, “Hey Saxonia, sign war? We’re gonna kick your… schnitzel.”
The Complex’s next target was Cy’s Bowling Lanes and Lounge. “Hey Cy’s – Sign war? – Sure you can WING it!”
Cy’s responded two days later, “Changing a sign from ur desk isn’t COMPLEX.” Suggesting it took a bit more effort to update their elevated sign that requires manual lettering changes, versus the digital sign at the arena. The next day, a retort was posted on the Complex sign, “Hey Cy’s, are your drinks as cold as our ice?”
Kim Slaght of Aylmer Sub has noticed many passerbys stopping to check out the various messages on their sign.
“I just think Aylmer needs a little pick-me-up,” she said. “People are locked down, tensions are high. Now people can walk around and read the signs, and have something other than COVID to talk about.”
Aylmer Sub staff first called out Kentucky Fried Chicken using a homemade sign on Thursday, April 29: “Hey KFC… Want to have a sign war? Or are you too chicken?”
After not getting a response from KFC, they challenged nearby Mennonite Furniture Gallery the next day: “Do you want to SUB in for KFC… or WOOD you prefer to TABLE it for now?”
The wood furniture business took the bait, and changed their sign to read in response, “Hey Aylmer Sub, we WOOD sub in! Your food isn’t SUB-par, but our furniture is mor POPLAR!”
When asked how they come up with the wording, which often includes puns related to the businesses involved, Ms. Slaght said, “It just pops into our heads.”
She also noted the attention has the secondary advantage of generating publicity for the participants, not just for the business who starts it, but also for the one being called out.
Ms. Slaght has no plans of stopping anytime soon: “I have so many people to call out. We’re not done. It seems like everyone’s been enjoying it.”
The sign wars trend has been spreading online, with many communities taking up the fun-spirited challenge.