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Marshall Retail sodoPop Store Steals Name of Local Seattle Business

UPDATE: Funko has now reached out to Nerdbot specifying that they are “only a vendor and are not actually associated with the opening of this store.”

Marshall Retail Group has announced a new concept store called sodoPop coming to the N Concourse of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. This store has taken the name of a local business in the Sodo district of Seattle, and is already causing problems.

We noticed the problem when reading ToyBook’s post announcing the store. There was a comment from Jodi Optiz, who owns that business name. But that’s not where the trouble ends. Many other sites are reporting about the new store itself. But not the fact that Marshal Retail Group allegedly stole the name from Optiz.

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The sodoPOP store at SEA. (David Ryder Photo)

The organic Google local traffic in the Sodo district is already bringing up mixed results when searching SodoPop Seattle and if it keeps up, it could potentially overwhelm and make it difficult for customers to find Jodi’s business.

“I am the owner of Sodo Pop; this group is apparently poaching my business name of 20 years, I’m located in the Sodo District of Seattle a few miles away,” Jodi Optiz of Sodo Pop said. “Also, MoPop has contact me, they have not authorized the use of their name in connection with this business at SEATAC airport.”

Sodo Pop is an all ages event space that is available for rent. They host birthday parties, fundraising events, office parties, live music shows, wedding receptions, and more. They’ve been in business for around 20 years and have a good reputation in the area. Marshall Retail Group’s “concept store” has not only poached their name, but now Optiz is getting all kinds of calls from others asking about the store.

I spoke with Jodi on the phone, and she said she was alerted to this from someone traveling for business who called to ask if she was the owner of that store. Since she owns sodopop.com it would make sense that she might be. Unfortunately, because they’ve gone ahead and made a big sign with her business name, she’s getting all kinds of calls from people not relating to her company. Including the MoPop museum, who called her to tell her to “take down the signs in the back” which had their name on them.

Jodi said that in her phone call with MoPop, they said someone had come in about a year ago asking for a partnership, which they declined. The store in the airport has MoPop signs on display, and in most of the press releases states, “Marshall Retail Group — a WHSmith company — opened a new concept called sodoPOP in collaboration with Funko and Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP).”

“We pride ourselves on our ability to truly create concepts inspired by their location and source local brands and products to offer our customers. sodoPOP is an example of our ongoing commitment to elevating the traveler’s experience.”

Toby Keir, CEO of Marshall Retail Group and InMotion

Jodi is in contact with her IP Attorney, and is currently figuring out the next steps. She’s also spoken with the Port of Seattle who owns the space the new store is located in.

Marshall Retail Group may have cut some very important corners for the sake of saving time. We wonder if there will be a buyout of some sort with the name, or if a larger lawsuit will happen. Hopefully this can be solved with a simple cease and desist order.

The point is when starting a business or taking creative liberties, even if you’re a large corporation, you have to be careful of how you go about it. We’ll keep an eye on this issue. Hopefully it can be fixed easily.

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