Skip to main content

Pat Gillespie is torn between building on store's legacy or rebranding with a younger, fresher name

Pat Gillespie recently bought Rhonda Maternity, a shop in Toronto’s tony Yorkville area. Ms. Gillespie is a fashion designer who bought the store from its namesake, Rhonda Flomen, who opened it in 1971. Now Ms. Gillespie wants to put her own stamp on the place, and she’s wondering whether she should rename it. She notes that the current name likely carries some weight with its customers after more than 40 years in business.

Jennifer Roberts/The Globe and Mail

1 of 5

Rhonda Maternity targets mostly first-time moms-to-be who are concerned with projecting a professional image at work, but the shop also offers dressy and casual wear. Most new customers come from word-of-mouth referrals or Google searches. However, the store occasionally welcomes repeat and even next generation customers.

Jennifer Roberts/The Globe and Mail

2 of 5

Pat Gillespie assists customer Michaela Hoferica in her newly acquired store, Rhonda Maternity, in Toronto. While Ms. Gillespie plans to add new clothing lines and freshen the decor, graphics and website, she’s torn between keeping the Rhonda name, building on its legacy and known location, or rebranding with a younger, fresher name.

Jennifer Roberts/The Globe and Mail

3 of 5

If Ms. Gillespie changes the name, the store would become Carry, the same name she plans for her new private maternity label. However, with a $30,000 budget for her relaunch, there isn’t much money to rebrand. “No matter what the name, I’ve got lots to invest in sweat equity,” she says.

Jennifer Roberts/The Globe and Mail

4 of 5

Story continues below advertisement

The experts are split on whether Ms. Gillespie should change the store’s name. One suggests keeping it and doing a refresh with a new logo, typeface and graphics. Another points out that maternity-wear customers likely visit this store once or twice, maybe three times in their lives. “You don’t have repeat customers that you’re trying to create a long-term association with,” says Tony Smith, vice-president and creative director at Hudson’s Bay Co., who votes for changing the name. Sorry, Rhonda.

Jennifer Roberts/The Globe and Mail

5 of 5

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Discussion loading ...