New bait shop’s name causes controversy in Madison County

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CHESTERFIELD, Ind. (April 11, 2016)-- It was Shakespeare who famously penned, “What’s in a name?” But, for some people in Chesterfield, a new bait shop’s moniker is over the top, while others said they like the adult humor.

Read between the lines. It won’t take long to get it.

“Master Bait and Tackle,” said Jeff Parrish.

Parrish surely gets it. He’s opening a new bait shop and embracing the innuendo.

“It’s a marketing campaign. Don’t get me wrong. I want to sell gear. I want to sell bait, but why just sell that if you can sell merchandise,” said Parrish.

Parrish is selling t-shirts, all of them with sayings that can have a double meaning.

“I’m always looking for a hook-up,” he read off one of them.

Problem is, Parrish said he ran into a snag trying to get approval for a new sign. The sign will be 12 feet tall, sitting right off Highway 32. It’ll also be lit up, with the business name there for all to see.

“It’s just a catchy phrase,” he said.

Madison County’s Planning Commission eventually approved the request after the legal team took a look. Planning Commission Director Brad Newman said the county’s sign ordinance doesn’t have a stipulation about potentially obscene material, so the request was ultimately approved.

Neighbors like Chuck Fair remain skeptical about the humor and the method.

“I don’t like the message that’s there,” he said, “For somebody to put out a sign with that name on it, the connotation is there that (doesn’t) belong here.

Bob Crull lives across the street and said he doesn’t mind.

“It’s comical,” Crull said, “The man’s trying to make a living. In this day and age you got to make a living somewhere.”

Parrish said he’s not surprised by the controversy. He just hopes those offended will get over it.

“I know there’s a few people in town that’s opposed to it, and I respect their opinion, but it’s free speech,” he said.

Parrish hopes to be open for business Saturday.

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