Old shop, new tricks
Archimede takes over Jest For Fun Joke Shop downtown

By Sarah Pryor - Freeman Staff

March 4, 2015

 The three owners of Jest For Fun Joke Shop pose for a picture. From left, Don Lamb, owner from 1972 to 1979, Jeff Campbell, owner from 1979 to 2015, and Jon Archimede, the current owner. 
Submitted photo

WAUKESHA - Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: A child walks into a joke shop, thinks about how cool it would be to own it and a decade later - makes that dream a reality. That’s exactly what happened to Jon Archimede, who took over the Jest For Fun Joke Shop at 265 W. Main St. last week.

Archimede, 22, began going to the joke shop more than 11 years ago as a Central Middle School student. Under the tutelage of Jeff Campbell, who owned the shop from 1979 until last week, Archimede sharpened his skills at card tricks, cups-and-balls and more.

Known at his former office as the resident prankster, Archimede would use items purchased at the joke shop - such as a “Bingo” cup that makes a loud pop when someone picks it up -to startle and delight co-workers and friends.

Recently Campbell decided it was time to hang up his top hat (with a rabbit inside) and spend more time with his family, and Archimede realized there was a chance the shop would close for good.

“It’s been around for 43 years - to me it would’ve been like an old icon disappearing,” Archimede said. “I asked Jeff: ‘What if you gave me a shot to run the shop?’”

Campbell said the decision to let Archimede take over was easy.

“Jon has the same ethics and morals I do, and will make sure the place keeps offering good, clean, family fun. That’s important to me,” Campbell said.

Unlike at other novelty stores, you won’t find sexually explicit or inappropriate items at Jest For Fun.

“The worst thing you’ll find is a pile of fake dog crap,” Archimede said, adding that the faux feces is actually the shop’s best-selling item. “Our Number One is number two.”

Archimede said Jest For Fun will continue offering kids classes from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. every other Thursday during the school year, and those kids will continue putting on shows at summer music festival Friday Night Live.

He also has some plans to bring in a few new products that he says might appeal to moms more than plastic dog poop. But the shop will continue to offer its classic favorites such as masks, tricks and more.

Campbell said he’s going to miss catching up with his customers the most.

“Eeryone who walked in the door had a story, and that story became a part of who we were and who we are,” Campbell said. “Leaving has been a bittersweet decision.”


Email: spryor@conleynet.com