Look, we get it.
There’s a lot of competition in the Smoky Mountains.
There are a lot of places selling some version of the same stuff you’re selling whether it’s pancakes or T-shirts or whatever.
In particular, you have to find a way to stand out. And often that way is through branding or marketing.
Maybe you’re a business owner with a lot of personality who wants to go on TV or radio and make a joke of yourself.
Or maybe you land on a bright neon, aggressive billboard campaign.
In truth, one of my favorite ways retailers can gain attention is simply by picking a memorable name. A pun, a dash of innuendo, something a little fun that sticks out.
If I was going to open a business, I’d think long and hard about the perfect puntastic store name.
With all that in mind, here are a few of our favorite fun and funny names in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
7. Try My Nuts Nut Company
When you’re willing to push any boundary to stand out in the marketplace, you end up with something like Try My Nuts – a company name made for and approved by 12-year-olds.
I think many of my friends and family would be surprised to see me rank Try My Nuts so high on this list.
But I feel like Bane explaining to Batman why he could never beat him. I am a nerdy, comedy-obsessed child from the ’80s.
Try My Nuts thinks naughty puns are its ally. It merely adopted the naughty pun.
In fact, I was born into that world, molded by it. I didn’t even know there were other ways to be funny until I was already a man.
Try My Nuts is the best nut name you got? Be better.
Time is counted in Pigeon Forge a little differently. There are the years prior to Dolly Parton’s glorious return in 1986 and the years after.
In the long, lonely time BDP, the park that would become Dollywood existed. Known as Rebel Railroad and Silver Dollar City, the park reflected – in many ways – the limitations of its names.
There’s only so much that can happen at a Silver Dollar City and even less that can happen at the Rebel Railroad.
But at Dollywood? Anything is possible.
Back in the late ’80s, Dolly’s play on the name “Hollywood” was novel. It was funny, even ridiculous.
So why is Dollywood so low on the list? Because today, we’ve just accepted it as part of our daily lives.
We’ve forgotten about the intended pun.
Dollywood now represents something cool and fun and one of the biggest success stories any of us ever knew.
5. Santa’s Claus-et
A bit like the Oneders (aka the Wonders), a pun that’s trying too hard.
Santa’s Claus-et is a one-of-a-kind Christmas shop in Gatlinburg. Also billed as the largest Christmas store in Gatlinburg, the Claus-et features hand-painted ornaments, holiday decor, and more.
Personalizations are free. Daily samplings include fruit spreads, salsas, veggie dips, soups, bread and more.
Santa had previously been located within the store, but in 2021 moved to Santa’s Candy Cottage, adjacent to the main store. Children can fill out their wish lists, meet with Santa and pose for pictures with Kris Kringle himself.
4. Smoky Mountain Cat House
I think the number of people alive who associate the term cathouse with a house of ill repute is swiftly dwindling.
I’d be curious about the number of people who see this Pigeon Forge cat specialty store and miss the naughty little pun entirely.
This classic shop features all things for cats and cat lovers. There are even a few felines known to stay on the premises to give their official cat stamp of approval if necessary.
3. The Donut Friar
An oldie but a goodie from Gatlinburg.
The Donut Friar alone isn’t necessarily a great name for a Donut shop. Sure the donuts are fried but it’s a bit of a reach.
However, when you factor in the setting – the Donut Friar was the first shop in the European themed Village Shoppes and the Friar logo and mascot – it’s the perfect match of shop location and theming. It’s fantastic.
2. Bustin’ Butts BBQ
If you are, in fact, looking for a good business-related pun, BBQ joints practically invented the genre.
Located in Sevierville and Newport, Bustin’ Butts’ logo features three cartoon pigs dancing (I think) with their posteriors on fire.
Above all, this Christian-based restaurant sells delicious barbecue. Sharing their space with 210 produce and the Kettle Corn King, Bustin’ Butts BBQ is nothing if not eclectic.
1. Soaky Mountain
Now we’re talking some serious punning.
The idea of the Smoky Mountains is so deeply ingrained in our culture and everyday life, I actually have to stop and slow down to say Soaky Mountain. That extra ‘M’ wants to jump in there every time.
The fantastic new waterpark is more than just a name, however. It has the ability to be one of the premier attractions in the area.
And we expect Soaky Mountain to be entertaining visitors for years to come.
Do you know of a punny attraction name in The Smokies? Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments!