Page 1 of 1

Heir to Leaf Brands acquires abandoned Macy's legacy marques

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03
by submariner
Here's an interesting article on Consumerist. Ellia Kassoff, heir to Leaf Brands (most famously known as the creators of Jolly Rancher candies, the brand was sold to Hershey in the US in 1996) Has made it a mission to resurrect 'nostalgic' brands. After successfully negotiating to re-use the "Leaf" name in the United Staes, he has already acquired the right to, and began production of foods such as Hydrox cookies and Astro-Pop lollipops.

Kassoff has done this through a combination of negotiating with companies who own the names, yet don't produce the product; or by applying through the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) when he finds companies who have failed to maintain the brands they hold onto. How? It seems companies are required to affirm to the USPTO that they do indeed still use the trademarks. If you can prove the company in fact has NOT been using the name for several years, then the trademark is effectively up for grabs.

Enter Macy's.

Kassoff, if you can't tell, has quite a nostalgic streak. Here's Kassoff on the topic of regional department sores and Macy's:
“I want to bring back the regional flavor, the regional buyers, the regional feel of these communities,” says Kassoff, “because what they did, is they ripped out the heart of each one of these communities. They lost a lot of money — if you add up the sales, they lost a lot of sales when they went to Macy’s because now Macy’s is just some big ass brand from New York.”
So Kassof discovered that Macy's had been failing at maintaining trademarks for historic stores such as:

Joseph Magnin: San Francisco
Bullock’s: Southern California
May Company: St. Louis
Robinson’s: Southern California, Arizona
Jordan Marsh: Boston
Filene’s: New England
The Broadway: Southwest
The Bon Marche: Seattle, Northwest
Abraham and Straus: New York City
Burdines: Florida
Rich’s: Atlanta/Southern U.S.
Foley’s: Texas
Marshall Field’s: Chicago
Goldsmith’s: Memphis
Hecht’s: Mid-Atlantic
I. Magnin & Company: West Coast, Arizona
Kaufmann’s: East Coast
Lazarus: Midwest
Meier & Frank: Portland, Ore.
Stern’s: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey
Strawbridge’s: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware

According to Consumerist, Kassel wants to bring back the stores first as online retailers, and then eventually into regional pop-up stores in the regions where they were once the dominant retailers.

But as you can expect, Macy's didn't let these go without a fight. Shortly after Kassell was granted the trademarks, Macy's filed a federal lawsuit, attempting to keep Kassell from using the trademarks.

In the wake of the Lawsuit, Macy's began a panic rush to produce goods with the named of their assimilated regional chains.

Those Marshall Field's T-Shirts finally make sense.

Go to the Consumerist link to read the full story. It's a great read. I personally hopes Kassell is successful, but it needs to happen soon. As the brands age, the pool of shoppers who will be initially lured by their nostalgia will fade as well.

Re: Heir to Leaf Brands acquires abandoned Macy's legacy mar

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:20
by Steve Landry
Thanks for this interesting find!

I too, sincerely hope he is successful!!!!

Maybe next stop, grocery retail?

Food Fair?

Grand Union?

Pantry Pride?


Re: Heir to Leaf Brands acquires abandoned Macy's legacy mar

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:03
by submariner
I'm wondering, since he specifically calls out Robinson's and May Company separately, if he's considered the other trademarks of what we'll call"Macy's Legacy" stores relevant to the past 20 years or so:

Robinson's May (product of the 90's merger of Robinson's & May Company)
Hudson's (merged into Marshall Field's by Target Corp)
Dayton's (merged into Marshall Field's by Target Corp)
Emporium (SF Bay Area chain acquired by The Broadway)

I'm specifically excluding brands older than 20-30 years because simply the market base that would be attracted to the nostalgic names is rather small, especially when you're looking to build as much capital as possible to finance such high-profile resurrections.

Re: Heir to Leaf Brands acquires abandoned Macy's legacy mar

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 15:16
by jamcool
Robinson's in AZ was originally Goldwaters...Since the Goldwater name is used by a family member on a line of salsas and condiments, I assume they own the rights to that name.

Re: Heir to Leaf Brands acquires abandoned Macy's legacy mar

Posted: 25 Aug 2014 11:00
by umtrr-author
Fascinating story. In addition to the 21 "fallen flag" department store names mentioned above, I also thought of Sibley's, which was based here in the Rochester (NY) area and was taken over by Kaufmann's before Kaufmann's was in turn swallowed into Macy's.

Somewhat off topic: There is a Lewis Hine photograph on display at the George Eastman House at this moment. It's of a grocery store circa 1913. The main subject is the relatively young boy tending that store, but I've identified a number of products on the shelves of that store that carry brands still in use today. I hope to write a piece about that... eventually.