Sunday, January 13, 2019

Corporate Entities

I haven't forgotten. This blog wasn't a "Hey! Three weeks and then gone again!" No, actually this time, I've had too many ideas floating around in my head, and wasn't quite sure which one to give life to. I have a series of stories that will make their way into posts on this blog. I also figure I'll write about fitness, parenting, life, ya know, just whatever.

But I got to thinking, while I was in Minneapolis for the National Championship, about those companies that we just assume are national, but aren't, or companies whose reach is greater than we realized.

That thought got me thinking about random conversations I've had with friends through the years related to corporations. Blue Bell Ice Cream, for example, basically used the same jingle for 30+ years. I'm pretty sure the only reason that Discount Tire stopped using the commercial where the old woman throws a tire through the window is that TV technology got so good the commercial looked terrible. According to Youtube, the commercial was originally filmed in 1975. I know I saw it into the 21st Century.

So, I guess what it comes down to, is this is going to be somewhat rambling about the companies that are in our lives, and the effect that they have (mostly on mine, obviously).

As someone who grew up in Denver, if I simply type, "Now you have a friend in the diamond business..." anyone who grew up someplace where Shane Company has stores will have some version of the end of that commercial that tells you where there store was. In Denver for a long time it was ..."just off Arapahoe Road on Emporia Street, one-half mile of I-25. Open Monday through Friday till eight, Saturday and Sunday till five." Then adding a new store and the online options changed it all and when we were back in Colorado this last time, I couldn't even recognize it, but hearing Tom Shane's voice was still somewhat comforting.

Menard's is a company that comes to mind when I think about a company that feels ubiquitous in many places, but others may have never shopped at one. Menard's is even more common than Home Depot and Lowe's in many parts of the midwest, but there isn't one east of Ohio, south of Missouri, or west of Wyoming.

Grocery stores are another weird one. In Colorado it was Safeway and King Soopers (owned by Kroger). In many of the smaller towns you'll see the Kroger stores branded as City Market. Living there for 30 years, I'd come to rely on King Soopers for a lot of things. When I moved to Omaha, the Kroger brand was Baker's, but King Soopers it wasn't. Here, I've discovered the joy of Hy-Vee. It's actually the best. My buddy Jack got REALLY excited about Hy-Vee when we were hanging out one night.

The catalyst for this article was driving around Minneapolis and I saw a storefront for Paul Davis Restoration. That was a brand I'd seen in Lincoln and Omaha and assumed was local. It might be weirder to discover that a company you thought for sure was only in your part of the world exists other places.

I fully acknowledge that this is written with no input from others, and my perspective about brands who've crossed my path in my life. Maybe reading this made you think of something down these lines, or maybe you smiled and realized you weren't alone.

The last thing I'll mention on here is the Diamond Store. When I moved to Colorado Springs, I'd grown accustomed to large-market type commercials. The low quality of commercials in Colorado Springs blew my mind. I can't remember most of the ads, but the worst was the ninja ad. It's really difficult to describe, and a cursory glance through YouTube didn't show me any of their commercials, BUT it was bad. It's basically this rotund, middle-aged man with a beard who is fighting ninjas in the jewelry store (he was in all their ads, I assume to this day he owned the store) and it ends with the tagline, "Not even ninjas can keep you from the great deals" or something to that effect. It was terrible, but here we are, 15+ years on and I still remember it.

Thanks as always for reading!

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