The owner of a fashion store has told of his shock at being threatened with legal action - by high street giant TK Maxx.
Local businessman Mark Brooks says he opened his store – called P K Max – on the Promenade at Easter in a bid to help rejuvenate an area of empty shops.
He admits his choice of name was ‘tongue in cheek’ and the red signage outside his store, at the end of Waterloo Road, bears an uncanny resemblance to TK Maxx’s own logo.
But he claims he was stunned to receive a letter on Saturday from the store’s lawyers accusing him of ‘trading off’ the company’s name and demanding he drop the title.
Mark, 44, says he cannot afford to become involved in a legal battle and will have come up with another name.
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He said: “My family have been in retail since 1949.
“I run Brooks Memorabilia next door – my nickname is Max, comes from my mother’s maiden name – and my partner’s name is Paul Kelly. He runs the rock shop on the other side.”
He said when the shop in between them became empty, the pair decided to join forces and fill the shop with a sports and fashion store.
Mark said: “We were honestly doing our bit for Blackpool, there’s nothing worse than empty shops. Yes we knew the name was a bit tongue in cheek but there is also a toy store in
Blackpool with the same logo as the film Toy Story, there’s also an ice cream shop called Ken and Terry’s.
“It is genuinely a mix of both our names but was also a play on the TK Maxx name. We were just having a bit of fun – Blackpool is like that.
“It’s not like we were ever going to be competition for them and start opening stores in Paris or anything. We’re just a small family-run store.
“We employ a couple of people and managed to keep the shop open.”
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He now says he has no choice but comply with T K Maxx’s demands, set out in a hand delivered four-page letter, to change the name by the end of the month.
He added: “My heart did go a bit because you really don’t want to go around upsetting big companies and getting yourself in a legal mess. The letter is from a solicitor acting on behalf of
TK Maxx companies and says it is in regards to ‘Your infringement of TK Maxx trade marks’.
“Of course we’re going to change the name. We are not going to get in a wrangle with a big company who could crush us in a minute.
“I just think that the company needn’t be so heavy handed. A phone call to tell me that I needed to change the name would have done it.
“There was no need to get solicitors involved. I would have always complied with their wishes.”
TK Maxx declined to comment.