Shaking signs is good for business in Troy

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, November 22, 2012

Maybe it’s a sign of the times but there’s a whole lot of shaking going on – sign shaking that is.

Sign shakers or spinners have been around for a while but are just beginning to catch on in the area as attention getters for businesses, especially in the food industry.

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And, there’s nobody that shakes a sign like Matthew Messick, and well he should. He has about two years of sign shaking experience and, on top of that, he puts his “whole self” into his job.

“I love my job,” he said. “It’s fun and it brings a lot of fun and laughter to other people.”

Messick is out on the streets shaking it up for a local pizza shop three to four hours a day. And another pizza restaurant also employs a sign shaker along Brundidge Street. There’s even a mannequin shaker along U.S. Highway 231.

“I’m used to shaking signs and I’m having a good time, too, so the times goes by really fast.”

Messick of Troy got the sign-shaking job by accident, literally.

“I was delivering pizza and got in an accident and totaled my car,” he said. “My boss is a good man and I guess he felt sorry for me so he gave me this job shaking signs.”

Messick said he hadn’t wanted to be a regular, cut from the same pattern, sign shaker. He wanted to be a signature sign shaker.

“I wanted to do something that would set me apart,” he said. “So, I came up with the idea of turning the advertising sign into a guitar and playing and singing. I thought that would get the attention of the motorists and give them something to laugh about and talk about.”

Messick plays and sings different kinds of music but he does it with so much showmanship that people do a double take.

“People laugh and wave,” he said. “They take pictures and record me playing and singing. It’s a lot of fun.”

Having fun is a good thing for Messick but how successful is sign shaking in bringing in the business.

“It works,” Messick said. “People come in My Mama’s and say the reason they are there is because of ‘that guy out there.’ That guy is me and it makes me feel good to know that what I’m doing is good for business. It’s nice to be appreciated.”

Difficult economic times are dictating that merchants explore a variety of advertising options and Messick said sign shaking is a good way to draw attention to any business large or small.

“Sign shakers can get people in the shops but then the product or service has to sell itself,” he said. “I don’t know all that much about advertising but I don’t think there’s a better way to get people’s attention than by shaking a sign.”