Black Squirrel bumper stickers catching on

Tyrel Linkhorn

Black squirrel stickers are growing in popularity around Kent. The stickers are being sold at McKay Bricker Framing and Art Gallery on N. Mantua St. for $1.50. JESSICA NAPLES | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Two or three black letters on a white oval background set off by a black border are a common sight on the bumpers and windows of the cars, trucks and SUV’s that traverse America’s highways.

Vacationers find the stickers at many popular destinations; a small token to place on their vehicles in memory of the trip. Some commonly seen designs include “OBX”, for the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and an “HH” incorporated with a lighthouse for Hilton Head, South Carolina.

But in Kent, something a little different is catching on.

The colors are the same, but rather than letters, a leaping black squirrel takes center stage on the sticker.

The black squirrel sticker is the brainchild of Cass McKay Mayfield and Bob Mayfield, owners of McKay Bricker Gallery and Framing in downtown Kent.

A publisher the Mayfields dealt with sent them oval stickers that read “BUY ART” as a promotional item a couple years ago.

“We thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could do something local with that,'” Cass Mayfield said.

And thus, the idea was born.

Bob Mayfield said it was about “localizing business” with the increasing framing competition that chain stores such as Jo-Ann Fabrics bring. And with the black squirrels being something “unique to Kent,” they were a logical choice.

In addition to the squirrels, the Mayfields’ also sell “KENT” stickers, and the original “BUY ART,” which they said they received permission to produce after the publisher stopped making them. They also sell other black squirrel apparel, such as T-shirts and hats.

The stickers have been successful. They have brought many new people into the store, and since their inception about two years ago, 1,200 have been sold or given away as promotional items. Since the stickers have been featured in articles in the Plain Dealer and The Record-Courier, the Mayfields say the sticker-following has increased dramatically. Recently, they have fielded orders from Australia, Chicago and Ft. Wayne, Ind.

Bob Mayfield said though people from far away have an interest in them, local people like them because “it gives them a Kent identity.”

Two customers who entered the store and were greeted by first name agreed; the squirrel is an icon of the City of Kent.

And while he said he might be a little biased, Bob Mayfield doesn’t think there’s a better icon to represent Kent.

“We’re the original tree city,” he said. “In Kent, there’s a black squirrel in every tree.”

Contact news correspondent Tyrel Linkhorn at