What's in a name? Or maybe the question today is: How many dollars are in a name?
For Modell's Sporting Goods, or Pier 1, or Bealls, and scores of their peers, their names stand for decades of retailing history and customer relationships. Thousands of memories of being in stores scattered through time and demographics.
A name is a reputation. It can be tinged with nostalgia for an entire moment in commercial and social history. The Toys R Us, FAO Schwarz or Blockbuster brands can call up childhood memories for large swaths of entire generations.
There is a market for retail brand names that is more relevant than ever, as technology has helped define and support it, and scores of physical retailers face a financial reckoning.