Pizza box stuck in Uptown salon sign gave us hope

If this stupid pizza box can make it until spring, then damn it, so can you.

If this stupid pizza box can make it until spring, then damn it, so can you. Jill Bernard, Instagram

Winter getting you down?

We feel you. Minnesota has just gone through its gloomiest month in half a century. Three dozen people have died of the flu this season. The Iowa Caucus just. Won't. End.

But we know you’re going to be okay.

Because if this pizza box stuck in an Uptown Minneapolis salon’s sign can hang in there like it did, then so can you.

This bit of delightful garbage from Toppers pizza was first seen lodged under the first neon “o” in “Sola Salons” on New Year’s Day. Jill Bernard, a Minneapolis improv comic and HUGE Theater cofounder, saw it almost immediately through the theater window from across the street. She supposed some midnight revelers must have carried it from the Toppers down the block and, in celebration, tossed it skyward—only to have it stick there.

At first, she didn’t give it much thought. But then, the next day, it was still there, with the Toppers “NEVER SETTLE” slogan displayed proudly on the side, as though resolving to hang on, “against all odds,” she says. Bernard has been carefully monitoring its progress under the hashtag #pizzaboxwatch on Instagram ever since.

Here’s a snapshot from Day 3.

And Day 13.

By Day 17, people were fretting the forecasted snow and wind would end the cardboard vigil. Bernard convinced them not to give up hope.

“The box has already done more than Toppers has designed it to do, ever,” she said. “So all we can do is hold the pizza box in our thoughts.”

The pizza box persisted. Tuesday was Day 35. It still looked good, for the most part. If anything, it was a little flatter. The Sola Salon owner declined to comment on this story.

On Tuesday, Bernard said she had no idea whether any of the employees knew about the box, and she kind of hoped they never would.

“Everybody goes out the side door [of Sola], facing the parking lot,” she says. “Nobody goes out the front door.”

It was also possible none of the people who work at Sola, most of them independent contractors, believed it was their job to somehow worry a piece of decaying cardboard from its perch beneath the awning.

The box had become a beacon of hope for Bernard and friends. A few days ago, as she'd come walking down the street, Bernard couldn’t immediately see the box. She was struck by a strange sort of panic, as if facing the loss of a friend, or a “guardian angel” hovering over the stylists as they work.

Bernard knew the box had to come down sometime. Maybe when the box finally fell, she mused, it would mark the official start of spring. She'd also considered asking an artist to capture its essence for posterity. (Fan art is certainly welcome.)

She encourages folks to heed the other message emblazoned on the cardboard: “Share with friends.” 

Tuesday afternoon, the story of #pizzaboxwatch got an ending: After declining to comment on this story, the Sola Salon owner took down the box, with no small amount of effort, and hand-delivered it to the folks at HUGE. 

The #pizzaboxwatch has officially ended at 35 days, though as of late Tuesday night, it now lives on in the form of a loving memorial.