Tupelo Honey Teas forced to change name due to trademark dispute with chain restaurant | Nutrition | Pittsburgh

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Photo: provided by Abeille Voyante Tea Co.

Abeille Voyante Tea Co. in Millvale, formerly Tupelo Honey Teas

It is reasonable to assume that working for years will protect a business from the threat of losing its name. One of the local businesses demonstrates that this is not the case, as the owner claims that they had to rebrand due to pressure from a third-party restaurant chain.

Honey teas Tupelo, tea shop and vegan cafe in Milwaukee, announced via social media on February 15 that it officially changed its name to Abeille Voyante Tea Co. The space, which has been operating since 2016, says it had to give up its original name after Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar, a restaurant chain in North Carolina, threatened lawsuits for trademark rights.

Abeille Voyante owner Daniel Spinola says the CEO of Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar – also known as Tupelo Honey Hospitality Corporation – originally contacted her by email in early October 2021. It was a few months before Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar was set to debut its new location in Pittsburgh on Station Square (place opened in January).

“The tone was actually quite friendly,” Spinola says. “And it was more like his lawyers thought we were violating a trademark. I told him I didn’t think we could be. We are two completely different businesses. ”

From there, according to Spinol, they decided to allow their lawyers to “somehow sort it out and do their lawyer’s job.” Spinola says Tupelo Honey’s lawyers have offered her to sign a lease with the company to keep the name. After reviewing the contract, Spinola says she quickly realized that this option was not suitable for her or her business.

“And we looked at the lease and it basically deprived us of our ability to grow as a business, deprived us of our ability to grow more than we were, we had to accept their logo and assume their identity, but we weren’t I didn’t let anyone tell why we do it, ”says Spinola. “And I immediately said no.”

Asked to comment on the matter, said Christine Prince, senior vice president of marketing for Tupelo Honey Pittsburgh City Newspaper by e-mail: “I have examined this issue in more detail and found that it has not been resolved, so I have no right to discuss it.”

According to a press release, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar was launched in 2000 as “one of the first farm-to-table kitchen sets in downtown Asheville, North Carolina”. Tupelo Vice President of Culinary Arts Eric Gabrinovich, based on “Southern and Apollonian food and traditions”, says the network’s specialty is to create delicious southern brunches, lunches and dinners using ingredients sourced from the source and celebrating local culture and community. ”

Pittsburgh Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar – 18th place in the network across the country.

The former Honey teas Tupelo and the sameNow the hat – Abeille Voyante, specializes in making handmade tea in combination with the “healing properties of herbs.” According to Fr. previous City newspaper historyAbeille Voyante started out as a wholesale tea blender, then moved to a store in Allison Park before eventually moving to Millvale, the area where Spinola grew up.

As she stated City newspaperand in social media posts Abeille Voyante Spinola decided that fighting to preserve the name Tupelo Honey Teas is impossible, especially after the financial damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

click to enlarge Fried chicken with honey and bones from Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar - PHOTO: MIKE BELAM

Photo: Mike Bellam

Fried chicken with honey and bones from Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar

“At that point, I realized I could spend a lot of money on lawyers and fight it and make it an ugly court battle in the public eye,” Spinola says, “or I could use that same money – it’s not very much, I don’t have tons for rebranding – and go ahead and just let go ”.

Overall, Spinola says she had to spend about $ 10,000 to do a rebranding that covers the cost of creating a new website and logo, reworking photos of her inventory and paying a lawyer. Currently, the Abeille Voyante website still has the Tupelo Honey Teas name and logo, and a pop-up announces the appearance of the new logo and title. Reports on social media say that the complete “metamorphosis” of the business should be completed within the “next few days and weeks”.

In a sense, Spinola says he sees change as a new chapter for his business and prefers to look ahead. This goal is reflected in the new name, which, in her words, in French means “a bee that can see the future”, and honors the long-standing use of bees by the store in its brand.

She says the name change could also be a blessing, as Abe Vayant has already started receiving calls from guests, and even staff think they are contacting Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar.

After all, Spinola says she’s not upset at Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar, as in the law for allowing companies to trade such varieties of “Tupelo Honey,” the actual term for honey produced in Florida swamps. and Georgia. In addition to Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar and Tupelo Honey Hospitality Corporation, the company also claims Tupelo Honey Cafe, among others.

“The CEO told me they did it with other businesses and other places in other cities,” Spinola says. “So the fact is that I’m not alone, and probably won’t be the last. So the fact that there is this predatory approach to business that allows these businesses to do that is a systemic problem for me. ”

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