"It's a quiet little sidebar to who we are," says Steve Nicholls of Mueller Nicholls, about his Web site's "Jokesite." Click on the "Jokesite" tab at mnbuild.com and see: "Well, we're not always serious."
There are corny jokes, trivia, and "Signs You've Had Too Much of the '90s" (The first entry on that one is, "You try to enter your password on the microwave."
"I get sent jokes because people know I'm goofy," says Nicholls, who was raised in the United Kingdom and is a Monty Python fan. "It gives a sense of 'unseriousness' about all this."
"All this" means his $7 million-a-year, Oakland, Calif., cabinetry/remodeling firm, as well as about construction in general. "We've always tried to brand ourselves as being a bit more fun."
The Jokesite's roots go back to when the company was a cabinet supplier, and "it was OK to be funny within the trade," Nicholls says. Now that Mueller Nicholls does full-service remodeling, he wonders if he should tread more carefully with dicey jokes. The Web site does hold the disclaimer: "Humor is subjective. We ask you to read our jokes with a light heart and an open mind. They are not meant to offend or disrespect any group ... (but they probably will!)."
In the early 1990s, Nicholls asked for jokes to cheer everyone up from the recession. A jokebook became the Jokesite with the arrival of the Internet.
Nicholls doesn't know if the Jokesite has won business, but it's a differentiator. "It's made people realize we're human beings, not just producing a product or commodity. We want to laugh about things a little bit."