DERRY BUSINESSMAN MARTIN Doherty was optimistic he could buck the trend for online music retailing when he opened his store in the centre of the city last month.
The new venture was a direct response to the closure of the city’s HMV at the Richmond Centre earlier this year. He knew some of the store’s former staff, and ended up hiring many of them after they canvassed him to consider setting up a new music retail business. Even the fittings came from HMV – he bought them up after the outlet went out of business in March.
So when it came to thinking-up a name for the new venture, perhaps it’s not surprising that His Master’s Voice spoke to Doherty. He christened it simply ‘HVM’.
Of course, sooner or later, corporations tend to hear about this sort of thing. A letter from Hilco – which took-over the HMV brand earlier this year – soon dropped through the letterbox at the Carlisle Road store.
Speaking to the TheJournal.ie, Doherty says he was told that the existence of a store with such a similar name would cause “subtantial damage” to HMV’s “reputation and goodwill”.
In no mood for a protracted legal battle, he simply called up his sign-maker. It didn’t take long to come up with a solution…
(Image: Wah Derry/Facebook)
A letter was sent back to Hilco from the newly christened ‘Wah’ record store, informing them of the name change, but stating that the alteration “in no way” acknowledged that the larger company had been correct in its assertions. Doherty insists the new title’s an apt one too:
Derry is a city where the most popular greeting is ‘wah?’ – if someone comes up to you that’s what they’ll say. So now we have a store called that!
According to Doherty, feedback from music fans and locals has been “phenomenal”. He says the store’s been making a particular effort to promote new bands – regularly playing host to live sessions from up-and-coming artists.
All the media attention they’re getting as a result of the name-change battle is doing no harm to business either:
I’ve had phone calls from other local businesses who can’t believe how much hype it’s created. They’re saying “we’ve been on the go for years and never experienced anything like that.
A cynic might suggest the whole thing was planned from the start.