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What's In a Name? Ask Business Owners

Patch takes a look at the stories behind the names of some Long Beach stores.

If you've ever passed a store and wondered where it got its name, then the business owner has done his or her job.

Choosing a name that stands out and gets people talking is a marketing strategy that some Long Beach business bank on.

For Dave Juan and Mike Nelson, owners of Unsound Surf, a surfing goods store at 359 E. Park Ave., choosing a name that stood out was something sound — especially since many non-Long Islanders thought the locale of their store wasn't.

"We’ve surfed all over the world, and no one knew that Long Island had waves," Nelson said. "So, we wanted to give our shop a name that differentiated us from the wave-less Long Island Sound, while representing the rough and mysterious ocean." 

A store down the block from Unsound Surf, at 164 E. Park Ave.,  is named Frippery. The word means showy, trivial clothing or finery, yet to owners Heidi Harris-Weitz and Judy Storm, their store's name invokes the past. 

"My mother had a store in Long Beach in the 1960’s next to Gino's called Frippery," Weitz said. "When we put our store together we realized the antiques [placed around the store] were hers, so it just seemed natural to name the store after the one she created years ago." 

Adding some spice to a name might be a good marketing technique, but for restaurant owners it's also a way to entice the hungry. 

Alan Adams, owner of Sugo, at 62 W. Park Ave., named his restaurant after an Italian staple-sauce. His inspiration came from a restaurant he frequented in Arizona called “Sauce.”

That name and establishment stuck in his head, and when it was time to market his restaurant, he chose to say it in Italian.

On the other side of town, at 768 W. Beech St., Popztarz (pronounced pops-STARS) served scoopfuls of gelato to hundreds of over-heated customers last summer, yet no one quiet knew the meaning behind the shop’s name, nor how to pronounce it.

"It's fun to watch customers look at the sign outside and try to decipher how to say it,"  said co-owner Aline Strobl.

Opening Popztarz in spring 2010, Strobl and fellow owner Henry Alleto wanted to create a buzz around their frozen gelato shop before people tried it. 

They decided that the name should revolved around their product, frozen deserts served on a stick, so they went with “pop” and then added the Zs for plural excitement.

Also in the West End, Sean Sullivan, decided to keep food, marketing and strategy out of his barbeque restaurant's name to play on the nickname of a friend, Swingbelly, who had a large stomach.

"I had a different name for my restaurant while we were building it," Sullivan said about his eatery, Swingbellys, at 909 W. Beech Street. "Another restaurant opened in the city before I opened it and took it." 

Though it started off as a fun name, it's becoming a brand that Sullivan believes Long Beach residents enjoy. 

Swingbellies has gained some name-recognition, from barbeque-lovers’ tongues to their t-shirts, and the name will also grace the labels of Sullivan’s barbeque sauce that is under production.  

"People love the name," he said. "It's a Long Beach word that I've coined into a Long Beach restaurant."     

* This article was edited from the original.

CSC February 21, 2011 at 04:41 AM
The name to my business is success for my future with the blessing from the past..........SANTOS FLORAL DESIGNS. In honor of my Hero, my Dad, Rafael Santos 1/1921- 5/2007

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