Asheville businesses Amazing Savings, Small Terrain face trademark threats

Two local businesses — grocery discount chain Amazing Savings Markets and homestead supply shop Small Terrain — are facing trademark threats from a New York merchandise chain and from retail giant Urban Outfitters, respectively.

Amazing Savings Markets has shut down its website and is currently searching for a new name, a process co-owner Danette Hopey describes as “painful.” New York-based Simply Amazing, LLC, runs the Amazing Savings merchandise chain throughout the Northeast; the company took issue with the local business’ name.

“They evidently have a trademark for the word ‘amazing’, and they’ve started an action against us,” Hopey tells Xpress. “The paperwork they sent us was to never use that name again. We’ve been really suffering from this for about a year. We’re hesitant to just change the name to anything else; names are important.”

Hopey says the company has a trademark lawyer and is working with Simply Amazing to try to change its name, even though Amazing Savings Markets holds the North Carolina trademark.

“It’s kind of scary for a small business, It would cost $150,000 to even start winning that name in court,” Hopey notes. “It would go into the millions and most likely we would lose, because we are small.”

Amazing Savings isn’t the only local company facing such threats. Small Terrain received a cease-and-desist notice from Urban Outfitters, which owns the garden-and-home supply store Terrain, located in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

“Only two weeks after opening the doors, I received a cease-and-desist letter from Urban Outfitters’ attorney, informing me that they have the word ‘terrain’ trademarked in multiple categories,” Small Terrain owner Natalie Pollard writes in a December newsletter. “They argue that my little shop’s name will cause confusion and unfair competition for their garden center in Pennsylvania.”

They might not be the last, either, as Hopey observes that other locals, who often lack the resources for prolonged trademark fights, could face problems too. “Big companies will pick out names and just hold them for several years. I’ve driven around our city, and there are plenty of other businesses that could get hit.”


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One thought on “Asheville businesses Amazing Savings, Small Terrain face trademark threats

  1. Charles Franklin

    To be (un)fair, trademark law requires the owner to defend the trademark vigorously or risk losing it. I’ve learned this through watching entertainment and technology trademarks go through the same thing. The difference here is that those entertainment and technology companies had the resources to hammer it all out and continue to operate as normal. Our local business do not, and so no matter where they turn, they risk getting bullied. It’s not as simple as just changing to a different name. It can be a matter of weeks before another company is forced to defend their trademark.

    Petitions and good intentions won’t help, but if anyone knows a good trademark lawyer that will work for the sake of Amazing Savings and Small Terrain for a fair compensation (or no compensation, which may be all they can give), that could save the day. And if not, why not gather donations from customers to hire one for a reasonable fee?

    Again, it’s not like these companies are trying to squash the little guy (well, Urban Outfitters is a bit sketchy), but if an agreement is not met, that’s what’s going to happen. Cease and Desist letters are not permanent, just sort of a knee-jerk reaction. This can be worked out.

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