'Got a hot wife?' and other humorous questions posed by Fayetteville business signs

Myron B. Pitts
Fayetteville Observer

Feels like it was several weeks ago, maybe a couple of months ago, we were driving along as a family and a fun sign caught my eye.

A message board beneath the main sign for Bruno’s Automotive on Raeford Road still reads: “We can repair what your uncle ‘fixed.’” 

I laughed. I immediately liked the sign because it was funny.

The sign at Bruno’s Automotive on Raeford Road.

But also like it because it nails the use of quote marks, which seems to bedevil a lot of folks who make signs and sprinkle quotes randomly. Here’s an example of a sign in a store found on the Internet: A sign in a store that says, “We are ‘out of cheese’ we apologize for the inconvenience”

If they are literally out of cheese, not figuratively out of cheese, then no quote marks needed.

Whereas, in the case of Bruno’s sign, the uncle did not at all "fix" the vehicle. 

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Michael Cochran, a manager at the Bruno’s, which his parents own, chooses the words on the sign. He said he pulls them from online.

“I’d love to say that I’m that witty,” he said, “but I’m not that witty.”

I disagree. I think one has to have wit to know wit when they see it (say that five times fast).

In other words, “wit recognize wit” as they say out here on the streets.

Making people laugh

Cochran says the signs are about “just making people laugh.” 

“Everybody looks to put discounts or specials — 10% off or whatever,” he says. “I don’t think anybody’s really drawn to that.

“I could put any special I want on there. Unless I put ‘free’ they’re not really bringing anybody in.”

But the sign about the hapless uncle gets attention, Cochran says. People tell him they like it or think it’s funny. 

“People come in and say their uncle fixed this for me, can you fix it,” Cochran says.

He adds: “Ironically, what I probably hate working on the most is something that somebody’s already tried to fix.”

He surmised: “It's probably easier for you to write something fresh than it is to redo something somebody else did poorly.” 

What can I say? It’s true.

Hot wife

Cochran’s favorite sign that he’s put up, and his best-received, is one that read, “Got a hot wife? We fix A/C.’

Now, there goes one the whole family can enjoy.

Says Cochran: “I put that up every year for probably like two or three years because I can’t think of anything funnier than that. Everybody says something about it.

“I’ve had people call me that don’t even need A/C work that just simply want to tell me that it’s funny.” 

A sandwich board of humor & wisdom

A funny roadside sign stands out compared to the jumbled, everyday signage that defines Fayetteville’s commercial sector. You see an amusing sign and you find yourself tickled .... when you weren’t expecting it — a nice and altogether too-brief respite from the busyness of life.

Not long ago, we lost one of my favorite signs, a sandwich board downtown at Pressed: A Creative Space downtown. The shop closed in January; its owners turned fuller attention to a growing business in crystals.

The sandwich board at the now-closed Pressed: A Creative Space in downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina, was known for its funny and pithy comments.

The Pressed sandwich board always had funny wisdom to share such as: “It’s OK to fall apart sometimes. Tacos fall apart & we still love them.”

Then there’s the time the board read: “I’m young at heart but old at knees & back.”

And who among us can forget the classic (and fitting for this time of year): “Pollen: When flowers can’t keep it in their plants.” 

What's in a name?

A funny sign out front kind of puts a smile on a business, if you know what I mean. You’re thinking, the employees can’t be such a bad sort — they can poke fun at themselves or others.

Owner Tim Koons leaned into raccoon imagery when he and wife Jennifer rebranded Koons Crawl Space Solutions on Raeford Road in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

It can also be part of a business’ branding.

Take Koons Crawl Space Solutions on Raeford Road, out near the Seventy-First schools. The owner is Tim Koons. The company logo, featured on the sign out front, is a pretty intense-looking racoon. 

I gotta doff my “respect” hat to someone who leans into an adventurous surname like that.

Raccoon imagery is part of the decor in the office for Koons Crawl Space Solutions on Raeford Road in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Owner Tim Koons and his wife Jennifer Koons leaned into raccoon imagery when they rebranded the company several years ago.

“We get a lot of feedback on that since my last name is Koons,” he said.

The business controls moisture in crawlspaces, which can reduce mold and improve air quality in the home, including using encapsulation, which involves wrapping the space in a protective seal. The business airs quirky, catchy commercials on local radio, written by Jennifer Koons, who is Tim's wife.

Tim Koons said he was initially reluctant to lean into raccoon imagery when he Jennifer Koons looked to rebrand several years ago, though Jennifer figured it would be cute.

One person even asked Tim Koons if he was aware his business name was “racist,” referring to a slur for Black people.

“Can you spell?” Koons said he asked the person, “because that’s not spelled the same way.”

Koons said the name is German-descended and his been around “forever,” and he cited the regional company Koons Automotive.

But he said he concluded: “It’s my name, I can’t change it, I’ll just take pride in it.”

Besides, in his view, the critter in question fits he and his wife’s business.

“A raccoon kind of goes under a house or in the attic, and causes damage, and we fix it,” he said.

Myron B. Pitts, The Fayetteville Observer

The theme carries through

The raccoon theme carries through in the office, where raccoon figures and art are part of the office decor.

Jennifer Koons says “another fun fact” is that they have two Maine coon cats, weighing in at 13 and 21 pounds.

“If you don’t have a sense of humor,” she said, “you’re hurtin’”

Hard agree.

Myron B. Pitts can be reached at mpitts@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3559.