Exploiting You Again: Rocky Start Store Names

Remember when I asked you for store names for Nita? Motel Styx? Pins and Sins. Good times. Well, here we are again.

Rocky Start is a small town that straddles the border between Tennessee and North Caroline in the middle of freaking nowhere. It was mostly bought out by two spies on the run and made into a retirement community for agents who want out of the game. The majority of the town is just normal people, but a significant minority are retired spooks, many of whom opened small businesses.

We need business names.

We started with Oddities, the second hand store where our heroine, Rose, works.
Then we added Ecstasy, the bakery/coffee shop next door run by our heroine’s friend, a former German spy, Coral.
Sid Quill’s pharmacy is next door.
We mentioned a restaurant called the Wok Inn.

Okay, none of those are spy related, but now we have to figure out the names of some of the spy-owned businesses and we were thinking it would be interesting if they named them things that would signal to the others that they’d been operatives.

So right now we’re calling the bookstore Undercover Books, but that seems a little lame.
We also have an important character who’s a carpenter, making wood furniture, a little old lady assassin who runs a tea shop, and a cleaner named Melissa who has a funeral home. (The normal guy who has a funeral home is Geoffrey Nice; his motto is “Have a Nice Funeral.” That cracks me up every time.)

And since you all did such a stellar job on Nita, we thought we’d let you have at it. Very small town, full of spies, businesses can be anything that a small town might have.

Go nuts in the comments as you always do. And thanking you in advance . . .

67 thoughts on “Exploiting You Again: Rocky Start Store Names

  1. You could name the bookstore something like Culpepper Code. It’s a common word/name in the south so it won’t elicit questions from anyone else. But the Culpepper Spy Ring was part of the Revolutionary War.

  2. a pharmacy could just be shortened to The Pharm

    U.N.C.L.E Bob’s Books (or Bakery or whatever)

    Chicken Feed & Tractor Supply

    Maybe woodworking could be something like “Extreme Measures”

    I’ll keep thinking…these types of brainstorms are some of of my favorite Argh games.

  3. Ok a few more ideas to throw out…

    Brush Pass Hair Salon
    Asset Accounting & Tax Preparation
    Safe House Retirement Home
    Enigma IT & Computer Support

  4. This is definitely going to take some time, but I have in faith of all of you.

    The bookstore is definitely going to be called Cover Stories. And the plumber is definitely going to have a slogan that says “We Stop Leaks.”

    1. Am late to the party, but I have “Dead Drop Gorgeous Hair and Beauty salon.”

      Signage, print, and copy shop called “Legend”.

      “Shane’s Steakout. The steakhouse at the top of the food chain.” Agnes reference.

      Trigger – Mole and Bug exterminations.

  5. For a record store: The Music Shop – “where your vinyl needs are taken care of”

    Cagey Bea’s Yarns ‘n’ Things

    Eyes Only Optometry

  6. I Could Murder a Cup Tea Shoppe (the shoppe keeps it classy)
    Punch Your Ticket travel agency
    Zap! extermination company

  7. Your Eyes Only Optometrist

    Counter Intelligence Kitchens & Baths

    Yogurt Operations (Frozen yogurt shop)

    Birdwatcher Pet Shop (Birdwatcher is Slang used by British Intelligence for a spy.)

    Safehouse Reality

  8. Bona Fidos pet store?
    Sleepers Motel (or funeral home I guess!)
    Window Dressing Homewares
    [Someone’s] Asset Management
    A Gent’s something – like a barbers?
    Black Hops Bar
    Eyes Only optometrist
    Si for Mayor (Simon someone’s ciphered mayoral campaign)

  9. Sleepers Fine Furnishings
    The Safe Drop Pub
    Turncoat Outdoor Gear
    Dead Drop stationery

    Oh, can we have an inside joke with Carpenter’s Cleaners?

  10. I really need to go work but this is way more fun.

    Hugh Mint is a fun character name? (or Minter, Minton etc)

    And I tried really hard to make your little old lady Essie, so her shop could be Essie’s Pie and/on a …. and gave up looking for a rhyme to nod towards espionage. Anyone?

    Welcome in tea shop (comint, too cryptic crossword?) (See also Ken’s Poo Klean septic tank services, Herbal, I Assume? Natural health care…).

    Tradecraft Furniture? It’s not clever.

    Trade & Craft though I can see as a community craft supply shop that also sells customers’ finished things on behalf, and lets people trade short end and unused yarn and supplies (this is a very specific vision! I want to set this up!).

    11 commandments funerals? (Apparently, and I just learned this, the 11th commandment is thou shalt not get caught? But I can’t verify the reliability of the source, and it seems a term with varied meanings. I still kind of like it though)

    1. Could the little old lady’s name be Espionne? It’s French for female spy, I think.

  11. My husband once assured me, very gravely, that he would always help me hide a body, no questions asked.

    He followed it up with; “Renehan’s Body Removal Service: They Can’t Talk if They are Soup.”

    I swear I will have T-shirts made.

    1. Was in a book, he noticed the blood on her t- shirt and wondered if a shovel and visit to a sandy place in the woods was required. No questions asked of course. That’s when I knew they were soulmates

  12. Everything I know about spies I learned from reading fiction. Dredging through my memory of the days when I read Le Carre, he referred to an organization called The Circus in more than one book. I suppose that could be the name of any of a number of shops.

    Oh, showing my age, but Hopscotch would be a good name for a brewery. For the comic spy movie with Walter Matthau

    Lastly, Mincemeat Butchers. Mincemeat was the code name for a WWII operation. A nice touch would be giving the proprietor the name William Martin. But that might be too obscure?

    For another inside joke, put Agnes’ cookbook in the bookstore.

    1. I love Hopscotch. Such a freaking clever movie. Plus Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson. So good.

    2. In the film of a Le Carré story I saw (?Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), they were based at Cambridge Circus in London, which might explain ‘Circus’ – so not really a spy term, except in UK in that era (the seventies).

  13. SOMETHING has to be called shady.
    But plumbers called Wet Works is probably too on the nose.

  14. Cipher’s Office Supplies? 🤷‍♀️

    Any chance we’ll get to peruse those names for Nita again? Maybe when it’s self published? Eh? Eh? 🙃😁

    1. Cloak and Dapper – Fine Men’s Clothing
      Double O Donuts
      It’s Glass-ified (hand blown glass art)

    2. I will go back to Nita after the move, so August. Actually, more like September because Bob wants us writing sequels to Rocky Start for the rest of the summer. I just have to get this move over with. Driving me NUTS.

  15. Got a Bait & Tackle store with fishing and hunting stuff? Guns & Ammo?
    Der Glock & Spiel
    Got an Army Surplus store?
    [Bob’s] Army Surplus. [Bob’s] Camo Couture. [Bob’s] Military Makeover. .

  16. I love these!

    A couple that occurred to me:
    Teas to Die For
    Last Cup
    Myra Mains
    (Which of course also prompts Hugh Jorgan) (my sense of humor may be a little juvenile)
    Bravo Zulu Funeral Home
    The slogan could be something like “No request too difficult” or “All arrangements handled”
    Eye of the Needle crafts
    Guns & Buns (Gym, physical therapist, etc)
    Bad Angel Books
    Alias Insurance
    Dial M for Muffins/Movers
    Agatha Crispies
    The Rolling Donut
    Aaron Bank (famous spy)
    MI6 Insurance
    Mission Possible (custom built mission and prairie style furniture)
    Coin Check (antique coins & collectibles)
    Mr.E’s Soup Sandwiches
    Fubar Small Appliance Repair/Insurance/Legal Services
    Bohica Bonds
    OK, I’ll stop.

      1. Could be! Bohica = bend over here it comes again (slang, supposedly military origin)

  17. Handler and Handler Asset management.
    Invisible ink stationary and office supply. Or tattoos.
    Dead drop gorgeous beauty salon. The sign painter made a “mistake.”
    Or it could be the dive bar Dead Drop.
    James Bail Bonds.

  18. Sneakers Sportswear. Ugh, this is not my forte. Maybe you can have someone wear a Grosse Point High School t-shirt.

  19. The idea of retired spooks all living in the same town tickled my fancy. Then to find that it’s fictional setting is an hour +/- from where I’m now living, well, it’s just to much to pass up. I’m a long time lurker ( nasty sounding word that), going back before even arghlink. I remember Jenny and Lani living on the Ohio River, I remember photos of before and during remodeling on the present house. But on this particular post, instead of lurker, I think I can be called a sleeper.
    As I’ve read a slew of spy books over the decades, my mind just had a very fun time with this post. Some I came up with are:

    StakeOut Hoagies
    Spook(s) Dry Cleaner Service
    Safe house Motel
    EyesOnly Optics
    Deep Cover Flooring ( Carpets) ( Rugs)
    Deep Cover Cemetery ( Mortuary)
    Undercover Lingerie
    Dead Drop Hiking Trail.
    The towns around here are beautiful valleys surrounded by gorgeous mountains, winding scenic roads, and breathtaking sunsets. Trails, winding rivers that may follow the roads, waterfalls, zip lines, rafting rentals, restaurants that may sit on or over the river, ski slopes in the winter, tubing in the summer or winter. The list goes on and on.
    Wet Job Pressure Washers
    Stool Pigeon Bird Shop
    Rocky Start Sheriffs Office inside of which you’ll find the Chief of Station Office ( walk-ins welcome)
    Bag & Burn Sanitation
    Floaters Raft Rentals
    Legend(s) Printers
    Pocket Litter Curiosities
    Night crawlers Bait Shop
    Frozen Assets Ice Cream ( Smoothies)
    Honey Trap Brewery. ( there are many, many craft breweries in this area, admittedly that might be the best name)

  20. +1 to (I Could) Murder A Cuppa, from above.

    Tailor, Tailor, Tailor, nothing else just a Tailor

  21. Belle Boyd’s Bed and Breakfast
    Bea Arnold’s Tea and Tales
    Dead and Gone, discreet funerals, We leave no traces

  22. My 2 cents:

    Arsnique’s Tea and Old Lace (tea shop and antique store)

    Hess, Piegh and Nodge, Solicitors

    Tinker & Taylor’s Pies (artisan pie shoppe)

    The Secret Code – lingerie store

  23. Is there a newspaper? Someone could write the Double Crostic.

    Dot’s Dashes Delivery and Taxi service. With what appears to be decorative underscoring, but is really Morse Code.

  24. The Honeypot for a cafe maybe?
    Second Storey Construction?

    I like Eyes Only optometry.

  25. Also, Tradecraft for a haberdashery is great Allanah!

    Maybe something like Eagle’s Nest Outdoor & Camping Supplies, run by a former sniper?

  26. The Steak Out BBQ and grill
    Could the carpenter’s place be The Stool Pigeon?
    Local weekly newspaper The Informer
    The local bordello— The Bawdy Bags 😁

    1. The Clean Up Crew maid service
      The Fixer – general handyman?
      The Mercenary — payday loans and cheques cashed
      The Operative veterinary clinic
      Snipper Snipers Hair Salon
      Bunslingers Bakery

  27. Re: Wok Inn. We have a Chinese restaurant in town that only does delivery. It’s called Wok and Roll.

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