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In this side-by-side image, the Totem Diner and Pacific Stone Company signs put on a flirty display for all to see Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Andrea Brown, Everett Herald
Published: 27 March 2023

EVERETT, Wash.  — Spring romance is in the air, and even readerboards are feeling frisky.

What’s up with that?

It all started when the roadside sign at Totem Family Diner, known for catchy sayings, flirted with a nearby sign.

“I have a secret crush on the rake and shovel sign down the street,” Totem’s sign at 4410 Rucker Ave. announced for all to see.

The inanimate object of affection, six blocks away at Pacific Stone Company, flirted back.

“Hey, Totem! Our rocks are blushing & we’ve scrambled our eggs. Coffee date?” responded the sign at 3826 Rucker.

Both signs have retro neon and old-school hand-lettered marquees. The Totem has a colorful totem pole motif. Pacific Stone’s sign is framed in turquoise with an oversized red rake and a yellow shovel.

The attraction between these two flamboyant seniors on Rucker Avenue blew up on social media. After all, who doesn’t love a tale of good chemistry, no matter how ridiculous.

“Took long enough,” a Facebook comment said.

“Get married!” said another.

Well, it’s about to get steamier.

“We’re waiting to see if they want to go out on a date,” Pacific Stone owner Tim Gray said Tuesday.

It’s a bit more complicated than swiping right.

Totem owner Steve Jermyn said he plans to take it to the next level this week with a reply to the blushing rocks at Pacific Stone.

“I’ll try to keep this going for a while,” he said.

Gray is game.

“We have a couple of ideas waiting in the wings when they say something back to us,” Gray said.

Jermyn comes up with the slogans on the Totem sign, mostly jokes or timely tidbits, from ideas that bounce around in his head. During the recent egg shortage, it read: “Doz eggs. Will trade for a new Jeep. No low ball. I know what I got.”

The sign at the stone company has long caught his fancy. “It’s part of the old Americana that you just don’t see much anymore,” he said.

So, he decided, why not mention it?

“We haven’t directly addressed another sign before,” Jermyn said.

“This is new territory for us. This is a first, but it’s fun.”

Both businesses are Rucker landmarks.

The Totem has been family owned and operated since 1953. Jermyn took over in 2011.

Gray bought the stone company in 1999 that came with the sign that dates back to the 1960s. The readerboard is typically about seasons, sales or an employee’s birthday.

He is flattered by the attention from the Totem.

“They are the ultimate, they are the kings of making readerboard signs,” he said.

It is unknown if this will spark other businesses on Rucker and Evergreen Way to light up the libido of their signs.

People are eating it up, that’s for sure.

At the busy diner, the topic of conversation is also about heaping plates of bacon, omelets and cobbler. The Totem consistently gets voted as having the best breakfast.

Gray said Pacific Stone’s social media has never seen so much action.

“A lady on our Facebook page said, ‘Thank you. I really needed this today,’” Gray said.

Don’t we all.

Is there a person, place or thing making you wonder “What’s Up With That?” Contact reporter Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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