5.12.2005

Cross Promotion at the Hy-Vee

Many of you, if you were in the IC this past winter, might remember seeing Larry Baker's novel "Athens, America" in the produce section of your local employee-owned grocery. Here is Larry's take on how that came about. Of course Moby Lives always gets the skinny first, but just in case you missed it...

On a more personal note, Mr. Baker lives across the alley from me and has a nice wife and two very small dogs, as well as an ivy-free lawn after which I lust in my sinful heart.

12 comments:

Pete said...

What does "Hy-vee" mean, anyway? I always imagined it as a Visigoth charge: "HYYYYYYYYYYYY-VEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

Grendel said...

Isn't it great that there are so many writers here? Every time you turn around, it seems. Anyone read his book?

As for Pete's question... from hyvee.com:

Hy-Vee was founded in 1930 by Charles Hyde and David Vredenburg, who opened a small general store in Beaconsfield, IA. In 1938 they incorporated as Hyde & Vredenburg, Inc., with 15 stores and 16 stockholders. The current company name, Hy-Vee, is a contraction of our founders' names.

SER said...

FYI, another Iowa favorite - I refer, of course, to Kum & Go - was named after the founders, Bill Krause and TS Gentle (K&G), albeit less directly.

http://www.kumandgo.com/history/50s60s.html

Pete said...

You guys are harshing my vibe with your "facts."

Grendel said...

It's always been hard for me to believe that the name, and more specifically the spelling of the name "Kum & Go" actually made it all the way into production. I can see thinking of it, and even bringing it up in a meeting. But the idea that a bunch of people nodded soberly, agreed that is was THE BEST name for the chain, that it cleared the lawyers and PR people and money people... mind-boggling. Was everyone too embarrassed to even bring up the reason why it's objectionable?! People visit me ... they can't believe it when they see the sign.

Grendel said...

I mean maybe -- MAYBE -- a one-off little Pop & Pop operation in the Castro. But Iowa.

Sorry to hijack your post, TLB. Next time I'm at Hy-Vee I'll look for it and buy it as penance.

SER said...

The Kum & Go is indeed an astonishing phenomenon. One has to assume the name made it through because it was the '50s when it all began - the legal/PR phalanx was much less developed then, and perhaps K&G were too naive to think about the implications, although one has to wonder when they added the tagline, "Where We Go All Out." I was flabbergasted when I first saw a Kum & Go - I really couldn't believe something with that name existed.

That article on Moby Lives was hilarious, TLB. Fuckin' Barnes & Noble - didn't like the cover art? Give me a break.

TLB said...

You people have dirty, dirty minds. First the Danza slap and now the Kum & Go. Is nothing sacred?

the plunge said...

However, the fact that we never notice that Kum & Go is a weird name anymore says something about the nature of the sign and the signifier. Now when I read the word "Cum" in a normal context, I think, "How could they commandeer the name of that poor gas station for such a lurid purpose?"

At any rate, I bet "Cum" wasn't a recognizable variant when "Kum&Go" came around. Pete's nifty etymology tool seems to agree.

It's true though, there's something extra disgusting about spelling Kum with a "K".

Lumpy said...

I'm crushed to find out the truth behind the Kum and Go. A girl in my ballet class told me that Kum and Go was originally, and for years and years, named "Cum and Go" and that the name was only changed when the owners, stodgy-old-Iowa-pioneer types, were shamed into changing it, after years of not understanding why their signs kept getting stolen.

What will I tell my out-of-town friends now, when they start laughing like hyenas every time we drive by the gas station?

molfe said...

Props to Bret Anthony Johnston for working Kum & Go into a story (title story? I forget) in "Corpus Christi."

Jane said...

There is a cabin named "Kum-n-Go" at the YMCA camp in New Hampshire that I go to with Alastair's family. You can see on the wooden sign and on the Adirondack chairs out back where they painted over an earlier rendition, "Cum-n-Go." From my amateur forensic observation, I'd say that it was painted over circa 1990, which is consistent with Pete's research.
Seeing it painted over is almost funnier, somehow.