ANN ARBOR, MI — A slew of mysterious benches has popped up around downtown Ann Arbor, leaving residents bemused, confused and curious.

Benches bearing witty sayings like “the butt stops here” and “bench friends” have appeared — seemingly overnight — outside various businesses and restaurants downtown.

“I have no idea who put it here,” said Lisa Schultz, restaurant manager at Zingerman’s Roadhouse. “…I found it very curious.”

The bench outside Zingerman’s bears the saying “sit happens.”

Mysterious benches crop up outside Ann Arbor businesses

A bench reading “Sit Happens” outside RoosRoast Liberty, 117 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.Jacob Hamilton | The Ann Arbor News

Alexis DiLeo, one of Ann Arbor’s city planners, said in an email to MLive that the benches are “definitely not the work of the planning department.”

Downtown businesses that have had benches materialize include Ayse’s Café, El Harissa Market, Argus Farm Stop, Bookbound Bookstore, Vault of Midnight, Juicy Kitchen, Sic Transit Cycles, Dairy Queen, Tea Haus and Roos Roast, among others.

Each bench features a saying, but no other markings other than “Bench In10tions.”

“They’re well-made,” said Will Faison, a manager at Moosejaw. “Somebody is not messing around.”

Mysterious benches crop up outside Ann Arbor businesses

A bench reading “Get Grounded” stands outside Anneke’s Downtown Hair & Co., 221 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.Jacob Hamilton | The Ann Arbor News

Benches have even begun appearing in other towns. The Dexter A&W said a bench sporting the saying “welcome aboard” appeared over the weekend.

Molly Ging, owner of The Little Seedling in Ann Arbor, said she first noticed the bench outside her store Wednesday of last week.

“We thought it was strange but didn’t know where it came from,” Ging said, adding that it is “a little summer mystery.”

Ging compared the benches to the fairy doors people peppered across town around 2005, adding that most of the benches seem to have been dropped outside locally-owned businesses.

“We’re pretty thankful,” Ging said.

And to the anonymous creator: “I would just say thank you and good job,” Ging said.

Read more from The Ann Arbor News:

After Michigan teams struggle with explosive challenge on ‘LEGO Masters,’ one is eliminated

New ‘carefully curated’ toy shop, Prism Playgoods, opens in Ann Arbor

113-year-old Michigan train depot to be coffee shop, commercial space after $3.1M upgrade

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