If Kirkwood Highway and Limestone Road are part of your daily commute, you might have noticed a sign war going on between local businesses.
On Labor Day, the sign at Crossroads read, “Happy Labor Day! PC Auto, give your brain the day off even though it doesn’t work.”
The Next day, Campanella’s sign said, “Smell burning? It’s probably just Crossroads trying to cook.”
The businesses, which are adjacent to each other, have been changing their signs daily to see who can deliver the bark with the biggest bite.
Talking to other businesses through their sign initially seemed like a fun thing to do that would bring a bit of humor to the business, and the response has been nothing short of comical since it began last July, said Matt Tyrawski, owner of Crossroads.
“You know, we had just taken over the business at the beginning of 2021, and we had to get to talking because we both have those signs,” said Tyrawski. “It got such a positive reaction last year and we decided to bring it back.”
The sign conversation, officially dubbed #SignWar2022, has been going strong since late August, when Campanella’s put out the bait for an official sign war rematch.
With daily burns coming from both sides of the battlefield, Campanella’s owner, Will Maggio, stresses that sign wars are not for the faint of heart.
“It’s kind of a task to make [the sign] make sense line by line because we only have 40 characters,” said Maggio.
While it’s clear the two businesses are having fun with their signs, the response from the community has also been positive.
Campanella’s has received a flood of responses from customers, in person and via email, with jokes they can put on their sign or sharing that the sign’s phrases make them laugh.
“Love the sign wars […] cracks me up!,” a Facebook user commented on a Sept. 9 post from Crossroads. “In the crazy world we live in now this gives us the laughter that is good for the body and mind!!!”
“I enjoy it too…watch every week for their new sign war,” a commenter said, with another adding, “lightens our day. Keep it up.”
If you don’t live near the two businesses, don’t worry. They update their Facebook pages daily with the latest sign-war burn.
“That sort of response from the community is absolutely wonderful, and I don’t think we expected it to go off like that, but it’s neat to be a part of it and to be able to create something like that,” said Tyrawski.
Now, the question everyone wants answered is if this is solely a friendly competition or if there is an actual feud behind the sign war.
According to Crossroads and Campanella’s, both have said there is no bad blood between them at all.
“Thankfully, we’re not in any sort of direct competition with the business,” said Tyrawski. “Other than us sharing a little bit of parking space.”
What started off as a two-business competition has now unexpectedly expanded to include other local establishments brandishing signs.
The cost of entry? Simply daring to enter the playing field with a gag of their own.
Each business had their own agenda of wanting to win this year’s sign war, but each witty sign is just another way to try and one-up the other and holds no real merit, said Maggio.
“This is just about fun. It’s actually really cool because Premier Wine & Spirits down the road jumped in,” said Maggio. “Obviously the more businesses that join in, the longer it can go.”
On Sept. 8, Premier Wine & Spirits made their sign war debut with a sign reading,”Hey Crossroads and PC Auto, your sign war seems as dry as our wine. Maybe you should stop in for some liquid inspiration. #signwar2022.”
On Wednesday, Goldey-Beacom College jumped onto the scene with a sign of their own, reading, “Crossroads: we’ll school you on signs.”
Although the sign war only has four competitors so far, Maggio hopes more businesses begin responding with their signs, even though he is already confident that Campanella’s will be crowned this year’s sign war champion, he said.
Both Campanella’s and Crossroads agree that as long as the community enjoys the sign war and it remains a positive occurrence in the community, they are more than happy -and very willing – to keep the jests coming.
“We’re a community place. It’s what we’ve always been, what we always will be,” said Tyrawski. “If it brings fun to the community, then we’ll keep doing it.”