‘Sign Wars’ started Friday in Tillsonburg at Stubbe’s BrandSource Home Furnishings on north Broadway.
“There were Facebook posts that were going around from different areas last week,” said Tina Penner from Stubbe’s BrandSource Home Furnishings, noting the idea originated in Listowel, north of Stratford.
“And we said ‘we should get in on this’ because Tillsonburg had not started yet.”
Stubbe’s had their marketing director ask Tillsonburg on their electronic sign at 616 Broadway, ‘Hey Tillsonburg! Who wants to start a #SIGNWAR? We couldn’t CHAIR less!’
“It’s kind of a collaborative approach,” said Gerard Stubbe, from Stubbe’s BrandSource Home Furnishings. “It’s not just one person doing it.”
“Everybody’s just kind of keeping an eye out on the different signs that are coming up so that we can keep it going,” said Penner. “It’s definitely a team effort.
“Social media has a huge part to do with it because you can easily tag a company in it.”
It didn’t take long before local businesses joined the fun – it spread Saturday, and even more came onboard Monday.
In addition to Stubbe’s, local Sign Wars participants as of Monday included Tanner’s Studio, Danbrook Automotive, Indigo Lounge, Wellness Centre & Eatery, George’s Auto Repair Inc., NuDecor, Moffat & Powell RONA and Breezewood Floors/Townsend Lumber Inc.
“Somebody sent it to me and I said, ‘That’s right up my alley,’” said John Danbrook from Danbrook Automotive on North Street. “So I jumped on it.”
Danbrook’s electronic sign quickly flashed, ‘Hey Stubbe’s, try our Automens!’
“It just kind of took off from there,” said Danbrook. “I put up a couple news ones today (Monday) that are pretty good. I love it.
“Cedric (Tomico) at NuDecor will probably be my biggest challenge. George’s has one up now too, I think their sign was ‘Hey SignWars give us a brake, we’re just catching up to speed.’
“And I just invited Midas. I said ‘Hey Stubbe’s with all this RATCHET, Midas well invite the other end of town!’ It’s good fun and it deflects some of the negative energy that runs around town these days. It’s making people laugh.”
“Danbrook was first, probably responding to something they saw on social media,” said Stubbe. “Tanner’s Studio in town also got on board pretty quickly. So whether somebody drove by and saw it, or if it got done by social media, probably it’s been a bit of both I’d say.”
Once it started, Stubbe’s and Danbrook’s started tagging other businesses to entice them into Sign Wars.
“It’s been good so far, we’ve had a lot of positive feedback,” said Penner.
“This town needs some fun!” said Kelly Spencer, owner of Indigo Lounge on Tillson Avenue. “As someone said to me it’s so nice to see something that’s funny and light and community driven in a positive way, on social media and in our town.”
The showroom at Stubbe’s BrandSource Home Furnishings is closed during the current COVID-19 lockdown. But the business is open.
“We’re not allowed to have anybody come into our stores,” said Stubbe. “We are still doing the deliveries though, that’s allowed. We can do in-home deliveries, we can do curbside pickup. We’re still here, we’re answering phone calls, we’re doing emails. We have our website that’s up.”
Orders can be made through Stubbe’s website, but payment has to be made interacting with the customer.
“I think that’s part of the reason this thing started, the whole negative things about COVID and businesses being closed. This is just lightening things up, it’s getting people involved in the community, letting people see that businesses are still open and they are still active. It’s just having some fun and community involvement.”
“A brief moment to think of something other than COVID,” said Penner.
On Monday, she said Stubbe’s employees came up with different companies that could be tagged to join.
“Definitely keep your eye out for what’s coming,” said Penner.
“I don’t know how long it will last, I think it really depends how many places you can get involved in it. Really, it only kicked off here Friday night and Saturday, so I think if we can get a few more places, I think for sure a few more days we can keep it running.”
“I think it will depend a lot on the other businesses in town to see how many of them want to jump on board and be part of it,” said Stubbe. “I think the more companies, the more businesses that have an interest and start changing their signs and getting involved, I think the longer it will run.”
“We don’t plan on stopping,” Penner laughed. “Not yet!”