It’s Jerry’s Flowers, but the sign says, “Fred Says.” So who says it: Jerry or Fred?

Jerry Reinhard started the Sister Bay flower shop in 1960 – a time when there wasn’t much other than open fields in “uptown” Sister Bay. For years, he put not just sale information on the sign out front, but also goofy phrases and jokes. When Fred and Joy Lang took over the business in 1988, they kept that tradition going with “Fred Says.”

Sometimes it’s about legitimate business – a sale or new hours. Sometimes it’s just goofy, such as during one unusually warm winter week when a warning to people not to plant tomatoes yet earned the store a nod from Milwaukee TV news. 

When Gibraltar High School sports teams need a boost, they get a shout-out on the sign. When the Sister Bay Bays Door County League baseball team was among the worst in the league during the late 1990s and 2000s, the team members frequently found encouragement on the sign in hopes of a “Bay Day!” at the old field right around the corner from the flower shop. 

“They don’t need the support as much anymore,” said Fred’s son Nate, who now runs the shop with his fiancée, Stephanie; brother Josh; and mother, Joy. Since 2010, the Bays have won five titles and finished near the top of the league every year. 

“Mostly, it’s just boredom,” Nate Lang said. “It’s sort of our version of social media. Dad is always the most clever with it.”

Not surprisingly, some of Nate’s friends have had fun through the years rearranging the letters of “Big Sale on Little Perennials” and other phrases in ways we’ll leave you to imagine.

My favorites tend to come in the form of helping Sister Bay cope with our annual Packers disappointments. In 2007, there was a dig at the Chicago Bears the morning of Super Bowl XLI, when the Bears got set to square off against the Indianapolis Colts. The sign read, “Who Cares about the Bears? Favre 4 Life!” Or after the Packers were bounced from the playoffs in 2012, but local graduate Kimberly Sawyer was competing to wear the Miss America crown: “Hey, Cheer Up. We Still Have Miss America.”

Then there was Nov. 29, 2011, and a simple message in support of a local child fighting cancer:
“Fred Says Go Bo.”

Related Organizations