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Published February 24 2012

A name you’ll remember: A look at humorously named area businesses

Sure, you could name your business “Smith and Jones Straight-laced and Somber Products,” but what fun is that?

Life’s just too short to do things the boring way. We thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the businesses in our area that have interesting, off-beat and/or funny names. This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it is fun. Prepare for some puns.

Blonde Ambition

While blind ambition can land you in prison for various and sundry white-collar crimes, “Blonde Ambition” gets you a catchy business name that sticks in customers’ heads.

Oddly enough, Lisa Nelson, who owns the shop with her husband, has almost black hair. But Nikki Witte, who was the original owner of the shop and later sold it to Nelson, is a different story.

“Growing up, her dad always called her his ambitious blonde,” Nelson said of Witte.

Plus, Witte and the others who started the salon with her were all blonde.

Nelson remembers interviewing for a job as the receptionist shortly after Blonde Ambition opened.

“I’m thinking, well, there’s like six blonde girls here. I don’t even know if I can work here because I clearly don’t fit the mold,” she said with a laugh.

But don’t let the name confuse you. Nelson said sometimes guys will call and say, “Oh, well, can my wife go there? I want to get her a gift card, but she’s brunette.”

Rest assured, the salon and spa at 3206 20th St. S. in Fargo has ambitions for other hair colors, too.

Grime Doesn’t Pay

Bud Kerbaugh was looking for something a little different for the name of his West Fargo coin laundry. After seeking input from friends and employees, he settled on a puntastic moniker: Grime Doesn’t Pay.

“Everybody finds it pretty amusing,” Kerbaugh said.

He believes the name gives the business at 424 Sheyenne St. some distinction.

“I think it makes it stand out,” he said.

And it’s not just the name that’s got a clever twist to it. The logo includes a cute, green, personified spot of grime. And there’s a mural of the little grimy guy on the wall inside.

“I’ve seen little kids run up and point it out,” Kerbaugh said.

S’Paw Place

“I honestly don’t know,” owner Sommer Kennedy said of how she came up with the name S’Paw Place for her business. “It just came to me one day.”

A pun on “spa” and “paw” is a pretty natural fit for a dog grooming business.

She remembers that her dad used to joke that the family dog was going to the “spa.”

Kennedy believes the name of the business at 562 Martins Ave. in Casselton sticks in people’s heads.

“It’s unique,” she said.

Static Electric

Chris Nelson’s wife, Lisa, gets credit for coming up with the fitting and memorable name of his West Fargo-based electrical business: Static Electric.

“And we figured it wouldn’t be available,” Nelson said. “I mean you would think someone would have already taken it.”

It was available, but the name doesn’t do all the branding on its own. It works together with the company’s logo, which features a personified electrical outlet whose hair is standing on end.

“People seem to really like it,” Nelson said. “It’s simple, but it’s memorable, and that’s kind of what I was after.”

Meats by John and Wayne

You’d be hard-pressed to find a manlier shop in town than Meats by John and Wayne – a business that specializes in meat and whose name calls to mind a silver screen hero of the rugged Old West.

Wayne Rheault and his business partner opened the shop in 2005 at 1801 45th St. S. in Fargo. They went with a name that, had his business partner not been named “John,” would have been pretty straightforward (unless his partner would have been named “Newton.”) And it’s a name he’s stuck with even though John Mangin has since retired from the shop.

“Honestly, it’s worked out very well for us,” Rheault said.

Of course, a straightforward name with a little twist is pretty fitting for a business where you can purchase bratwursts made with blueberries.


Jill Liebelt is living the dream of just about every 7-year-old. She manages a candy store. Ok, it’s half candy store, half gifts, stuffed animals, etc. But close enough. And, not only does she manage the Jillybeans store in Fargo’s West Acres Shopping Center, it’s also named after her.

“Growing up everybody always called me Jillybean,” Liebelt said. “We thought it was a really easy name for kids to remember.”

Her mother, Lynn Sanborn, bought the store in 2003. The previous owners had called the store Candy Court, Liebelt said.

So what’s it like to work at a place that bears your name?

“At first, it was a little strange,” Liebelt said. “But now I’ve gotten so used to it I don’t really think about it anymore.”


Here’s a look at some of the other businesses in the area with unique names.

<•> Ready, Set, Grow Day Care: Moorhead.

<•> Haulin’ Grass of Fargo-Moorhead, lawn service, landscaping, and snow removal.

<•> I Scream U Scream, serves ice cream as well as tacos, burgers and fries: Lisbon, N.D.

<•> C’mon Inn, hospitality: multiple locations including one in Fargo.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter

Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734