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
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
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
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.”