Target sullies Boston-made brand


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By Donna Goodison from Boston Herald @dgoodison

A North Shore company is taking Target Corp. to task for using a New York-based designer for its debut ”Local Pride” line featuring Boston-inspired merchandise – including a ”Green Monstah” T-shirt that Sully’s Brand says it trademarked nine years ago.

”Outsourcing Boston Pride to NYC?” a ”Dear Target” letter from the Peabody-based Sully’s Brand stated in a full-page Herald advertisement yesterday. ”The home of the Yankees? The Evil Empire?! Say it ain’t so, Target. Say it ain’t so.”

The issue is less about Target’s T-shirt designs and more about the Minneapolis big-box retail chain promoting its ”Local Pride by Todd Snyder” collection as a ”local” initiative, according to Sully’s Brand founder and owner Chris Wrenn.

”Our hope is that if a multinational corporation like Target (is) going to promote a local initiative, that it be truly local,” Wrenn said. ”They basically hired a New York City designer to deliver T-shirts that look very similar to the ones that we have been making for 16 years, and we are actually local.”

Target’s ”Local Pride” collection debuted on July 22 in 15 Boston-area Target stores, including its new store in the Fenway area, where Sully’s Brand got its start by selling T-shirts out of backpacks during Red Sox games. Target plans to expand the city-specific line by Snyder, a menswear designer who’s a native Iowan, to San Francisco and Chicago later this year.

But Sully’s Brand’s letter said that for Boston fans – described as ”die-hards” who are loyal and outspoken – to find out their ”Boston Pride” T-shirt was sold by a ”suit in NYC” would be akin to ”finding out the lobster dinner they bought in Back Bay was shipped up to Boston from North Carolina.”

In a statement yesterday, Target said it has ”a deep appreciation for design, including respecting the design rights of others.”

”We are looking into this issue,” a Target spokeswoman said without commenting further.

Sully’s Brand opted not to pursue an intellectual property rights lawsuit against Target because litigation is very costly, according to Wrenn. Instead, it wants to ”start a dialogue” with Target – and perhaps land its own products in Target stores of course.

”If you’re going to support something that’s local, it truly should be local,” Wrenn said.ÊÊÊ