Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The Lone Wolf
Well folks, it appears that I am fighting a losing battle. Not that I necessarily look at things being won or lost. Life is just a friggin a battle most of the time anyway. So I could really care less if I lose a fight here or there. Yep, conflict is cool with me. I stay in the war, that is what I do. I yearn to learn from this type of hands on process, a selection of (could be) rights and wrongs on a menu designed to satisfy my appetite. As entrepreneurs, we really don't work off of a template. We simply do our thing, charging hard, fast forward, every day, every minute, and it appears that sometimes......well....sometimes you get in a pissing contest with the wrong people. When this happens you have to hire people to talk to their people, then you basically assess the resources of who has what, and can do what, if they want, and then it happens. The little guy gets pissed on.
I kind of get the feeling that I shouldn't be writing about this, but who cares? I have considered the fact lately that I am very small in this world and the system is screaming at me in just about every way, to shape up and conform. I should listen up, stand up straight and fall in line? Maybe I should conform and bow down to the big shits? Maybe I should do this before I screw up someday and some big baddass entity with lots of power and lots of money comes and takes my home from me, just because I lack the resources to defend myself under my own moral and ethical law, my civil liberties. Youch, better quiet down....why do I fear both the government and any blue blooded, big bucket business with privileges?
I got a letter from the Isle of Capri Casinos a couple months after we opened Lone Wolf Coffee Company, our little small business of a place, a little coffee house and cafe serving sandwiches and salads in a healthy atmosphere, vibrant and geared towards the active living enthusiast. We bootstrapped the whole thing and paid for it as we went. I started by opening the back kitchen and started catering healthy meals to the children of our community. The city of Ballwin was great in getting us set up as an entity. At the last minute, we agreed to open a coffee house. Our land lord wanted us to do it bad and we kind of got excited and did it! Fun! It has been a work in progress and the community has embraced it even though we just now began to cash flow, a year later. Um...hey, did I say that we did this IN THE WORST ECONOMIC CONDITION OF MODERN TIME? We had already started building the place and, on October of 08, the sky came falling down.
Anyhoo, apparently the Isle of Capri Casino is adamant about the the exclusive right to use the mark "The Lone Wolf" and (granted) have legally trademarked it without protest. They applied and got it at the end of December of 08. This is a bar and grill located within their Casino in Coruthersville MO. Let's say....150 miles away. My sources also tell me that there is another Lone Wolf Bar at another property in rural Iowa.
Just for housekeeping sakes....we stand behind the fact that we were marketing the name Lone Wolf Coffee Company prior to them filing their service mark and that we have proof (and can produce documents) that we indeed filed for our business license, marketed in local newspapers and online sources prior to their filing, I still stand defeated. We did indeed do a search prior to our opening and secured our website domain and other, but never filed for the service mark. We did not know what we were going to call it at that time. I have been reminded by their atty. a couple times that, somewhere around here, is when the mistake was made. Thanksomuch.
Hey, lets have some history... The Lone Wolf Coffee Company was named after the Lone Wolf hiking and biking trail at Castlewood State park. I blasted my lungs out on that trail in 2000 in a regional mountain bike race and basically saw God. I was fat and I smoked, and because I finished the race, well, I ended up a giving up a long life of buffoonery. I started in business and haven't turned back since. Lone Wolf Coffee Company is a testimony to the passion that I have for active living and a gift to the county of what the hell the lifestyle looks like. I hope you have enjoyed the story telling. It is all true and documented next to the door marked "The Loo" near the soda station. So, in review, I used to be unhealthy schmuck and partook in less than optimal activities regarding health, then, I had a spiritual awakening on the Lone Wolf trail at Castlewood State Park and evolved to the concept of opening a coffee house themed about the area as a testimony. Who woulda thought?
And along my journey to provide West St. Louis County with a little culture, I learned that Castlewood was rich with history dating back to the 1880's. There were several businesses down there, along the Meremac River and nestled in between the bluffs and the railroad. The Lone Wolf Tavern was originally a speakeasy/tavern back in the day, owned by Eddie Prahl, a dairy farmer who worked the land along Kiefer Creek. The whole area was abundant with outdoor living all the way through the 70's. There were clubs, lodges, swimming holes, lots of history. This is all good branding material. Anyone can find it on the web. Thanks to Susan Barrett Price who has a very well documented website about the place.
So here is the deal. I am changing the name, conforming, losing, retreating, falling back, caving, stepping aside, dodging, jumping the shark...
It's kind of silly. My lifestyle, my world, my existence is centered around the positive impact on my community and that which provides a moral and ethical personification of thereof. I am starting the think that the paradox is winning.
I have been studying the history and will be carefully placing the name above the door as soon as possible as not to waste any more money and time. Thank you Isle of Capri Casino for reaching out and reminding the world what it is you do.