Ray Gaster

Ray Gaster may not sell lightning rods, but he sure knows how to make them. The owner of three Savannah, Ga., area Gaster Lumber yards became a national celebrity early last month by putting signs up in front of his stores responding to President Obama’s “you didn’t build this” comment.

“I built this business without gov’t help. Obama can kiss my ass,” the signs declared. “I’m Ray Gaster & I approved this message.”

Scores of political blogs and regular news outlets carried photos of the signs. Conservatives—including many fellow lumberyard executives—praised Gaster, and he soon started making the rounds of talk shows on Fox News and other channels. Liberals fired back with doctored versions of Gaster’s photo pointing to dozens of government-sponsored activities, like roads, that Gaster didn’t build but that help his business. And a local NAACP chapter called for a boycott of his stores.

By late August, Gaster replaced his sign with a new one that declares: “Mr. President, try supporting businesses and stop mocking them.” Gaster said that by dropping the vulgarity, he was keeping the focus on his message.

Expect more signs to be posted in coming weeks. “I’ve got some zingers out there,” Gaster told a local TV station. “I think they’ll be as provocative, let’s put it that way.”