Tea Party Bookshop gets new identity
By Sheldon Traver
from WillametteLive, Section News
Posted on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 10:01:34 AM PDT
Type “Tea Party Salem” into a Google search and one local business is listed at the top of page one.
By most accounts a business with this type of search engine recognition is something to be coveted. However, for JoAnne Kohler, owner of the Tea Party Bookshop on the corner of Ferry and Liberty streets, that search has become a nuisance.
As the Tea Party movement sweeps the nation, Kohler has increasingly seen people wander in or call looking for information about the Tea Party, local rallies and events or people involved in the movement. Most leave disappointed without buying anything.
Ready for a fresh identity, even without the current political climate, Kohler is changing the bookshop’s name to Tigress Books on July 1. The name stems from a blessing by a Tibetan Buddhist, Lama Karma, in Portland.
“He told me this year ... in order to succeed, you need to be a tiger,” she said with a laugh. “I thought he meant in my personal life, which is true.” When she settled on Tigress Books during a conversation with friends, the meaning of the blessing became clear.
“They make divinations and are always right, even if we don’t think they are right,” she said. “I sat back and said oh, OK, now I get it.”
While the name change process involves filing paperwork with the Oregon Secretary of State, this wasn’t the most complex issue. Deciding on a name and creating an enticing and memorable logo has proven to be the biggest challenge. Additionally, Kohler said she has to change advertising, paperwork and a myriad of other business identity requirements.
She assured the name change wasn’t solely related to the conservative movement and said it would have happened if progressives went to an extreme that she or her customers were concerned with.
“I believe in the political process even if I don’t agree with the message behind the Tea Party,” Kohler said. “To be honest, if the name had been adopted by radical eco-terrorists, I would have made the same decision.”
Two years after she first opened her doors, Kohler said the name change also gives her an opportunity to assess what she has done right and refine the business.
“I have a much better feel for what the community wants and what people are looking for,” she said. “I’m looking at this as an opportunity to make the store better all around and have fun doing it.”
She said the store’s books will focus on personal growth and transformation, positive living and green living.
“There will be more emphasis on the creative books and vegan cooking books, but much of the store will be the same,” Kohler said.
Additionally, there will be poetry readings, author events, classes and more. Her hope is to encourage those who supported the former Jackson’s Books to turn their attention to another locally owned alternative.
“The community support on this is incredible,” she said. “I am so appreciative of everyone who has come in here and supported an independent bookshop.”
I'm glad that she's taking it so well. If I had to change my company's name to avoid association with a radical political group, I'd be so pissed. Heck, I am pretty cranky that frilly doilies, petit fours and china teacups are no longer the first thing people think of when you say "Tea Party."