Every day, we pass business signs. Big billboards, tiny gold leaf etching on glass doors, honking neon lights—all of this signage is part of the visual white noise of one’s daily travels, whether it be by foot, car, bus, or train.
But how often do you actually stop to consider what you’re reading?
Based on the over 3,000 submissions we got for our map of business name puns—all the time.
When Atlas Obscura teamed up with Digg to put out a call for contributions to the crowdsourced data project, we didn’t know what the response would be. We only knew that we were obsessed with those groan-inducing puns that surround us. And once you start noticing, say, the high number of Brewed Awakenings in the Northeast, you can’t stop.
The pain mixed with pleasure of, say, something as evocative as Hannah and Her Scissors, or something as plainly wrong as A Shoe Grows in Brooklyn surrounds us. After picking through duplicates, over 1,900 businesses made the map, which we think makes it the most complete pun business name map in the world.
So, thank you! We are thrilled to bring you the interactive map, along with separate posts on categories of pun names. Here are a few notes about what you see:
—Some of the business names included are not actually puns. Yes, an allusion to a famous movie isn’t technically a pun, and neither is a homophone of a naughty word. But in the spirit of wordplay, we opted for an expansive definition of pun. Debating the relative merits of a particular business name is part of the pun experience.
—Duplicate submissions have been combined. When we were done checking and culling the obvious fakes, we got down to 1,900-ish actual places. Some puns are definitely more popular than others (looking at you, 9021-Pho).
—Submissions are closed. Sad, but true. But if you have a favorite, go ahead and tweet it with the hashtag “punbiz”—if we get enough great suggestions, we’ll try to add our favorites!
—Mistakes are made. Did you submit something and you can’t find it? A business is in the wrong location? Let us know! Edit@atlasobscura.com.
We realize that a map can’t possibly do justice to the pun-loving retail world. So we’ve included articles that dissect each and every pun business category, with all of the relevant submissions at the end.
And if you can explain A Shoe Grows In Brooklyn, by all means, be in touch.