Originally created 04/07/01

Trading on Masters name can be a winning strategy



When people ask Trevon McDaniel whether his mirror installation company has anything to do with golf, he tells them the truth: Of course not.

But that didn't stop him and his associate from naming the business Masters Mirror & Shelving Inc.

"All we do in our free time is play golf, and we just wanted to tie that in," Mr. McDaniel said. "It was almost Fairway Mirror & Shelving, but we live in Augusta, and Masters Mirror is kind of catchy, so why not?"

They're not alone. The BellSouth Yellow Pages lists more than 20 businesses in the Augusta area with "Masters" in the company name.

Funny thing is, none of them has anything to do with golf.

"That doesn't matter - it's the name recognition," said Jimmy Townsend, owner of Masters Cleaners, a laundry chain with five locations in the Augusta area. "If you're from out of town and you need to get your shirt cleaned and there's a Masters Cleaners and an ABC Cleaners, which one are you going to choose?"

The Augusta National Golf Club has registered the tournament name and logo for everything pertaining to golf, so there are no legal ramifications for a business such as Masters Cleaners.

"People from England, for instance, see Masters Cleaners and they know it's not us," said Glen Greenspan, Augusta National spokesman. "But if they see some Masters golf shirts online and they buy 10 because they think we made them and the shirts turn out to be poor quality, then that's not fair."

Businesses that operate only during Masters Week aren't allowed to use the name to sell their products.

Masters Kitchen Kaddies Inc., a local catering service, had to clear its name with Augusta National's lawyers.

"We're a year-round catering service, and we do not solely target the National tournament," owner Diane Starr said. "We make a whole lot of money that week - it's certainly our biggest - but we do business all year."

Then there are businesses that don't know why they're named for the Masters. Masters Restaurant on Gordon Highway took the name about five years ago because it was next to Masters Inn, which is now the Red Carpet Inn.

The restaurant's owner said she has kept the name because she doesn't want to buy a new sign.

AMF Masters Lanes, a bowling alley on Gordon Highway, has had the same name for 40 years. General Manager Terry Taul said he doesn't know why, and he's too busy running the place to wonder about it.

Masters Transportation Inc. operates year-round as Premiere Limousine Service. During Masters Week the company runs a corporate hospitality house at 1011 Azalea Drive, across from the Augusta National.

Office Manager Yvonne Reid said the company chose the name because of its proximity to the course.

"It's right there, and we're right here across the street, and it ties in well," Ms. Reid said. "It's good for business."

Reach John Bankston at (706) 823-3352 or jbanks15@hotmail.com.