By Ken Lass
I see where the city council is now working with an outside company to come up with a plan for rebranding and promoting the Trussville Entertainment District. One of the top priorities will be coming up with a name for the burgeoning complex. The company, which calls itself Clarity, will take suggestions and input from the public.
Got any ideas? I do.
Some cities name their entertainment area after the street on which it is located or nearby, such as Beale Street in Memphis. In our case, the Highway Eleven District doesn’t have much ring to it. Actually, you turn on to Glenn Avenue to get there. “The Glenn”? Maybe a little better. Birmingham has “Uptown,” but that doesn’t really work for us because our Uptown is downtown. I’m confused already.
We don’t really have an ethnic heritage to name it after, like the French Quarter. Some places choose a name that represents a major industry in the area. Kansas City has The Power & Light District. Let’s see, Trussville’s major industries seem to be barbecue restaurants and oil change garages. “The ‘Cue & Oil District”? Nope. Non-starter.
Atlanta connects its name to the new Braves baseball stadium on the grounds, calling theirs The Battery. (You won’t get this if you don’t know that a pitcher-catcher combination is called a “battery” in baseball jargon.) But this won’t work in Trussville because our beautiful Hewitt football stadium isn’t connected to the entertainment area. If we had a large body of water around our center, we could name it something watery, like The Wharf or The Waterfront. We do have our little creek nearby, but calling it “The Pinchgut District” doesn’t conjure up the image we’re going for.
Now, if we really want to get creative and original, we could name it after things all of us can relate to. For example, we could name it The Gridlock District in honor of the city’s traffic issues. Or how about The Blocked Crossing, paying homage to the trains which so often grind to a halt just behind the complex. With so many subdivisions clamoring for a new traffic signal up and down highway eleven, we could call it The Stoplight District, being very careful to distinguish it from red light district, which carries a whole different meaning. We could label it The Amplitude District, in acknowledgment of the nearby residents who complain the music is too loud.
Seriously though, let’s not overthink this. Let’s keep it simple. You know what Nashville calls its entertainment area? They call it “The District.” Wow. How long do you suppose they thought about that one? As for our fair city, my favorite name would be to simply use the acronym for Trussville Entertainment District and call it “The Ted.” Simple, clean, instantly recognizable. I can totally envision folks all over the area saying, “Hey honey, let’s go out to the Ted for dinner.” “I hear there’s a great band playing at the Ted tonight.”
The marketing possibilities are endless. Think about it. The restaurants could sell t-shirts that read “I got fed at the Ted.” Maybe they could come up with a new side item and call it Ted Bread. You could promote the nightlife with slogans like “Hit the Ted before you hit the bed.” The businesses could attract families by offering giveaways to the kids. All children under six get a free Ted-dy bear. People who hang out regularly could be referred to as Ted Heads.
How about a neon sign near the traffic signal at Main Street and Glenn, which reads, “When the light is no longer red, hang a left to the Ted”?
Yep, we’re on to something here. I can feel the momentum building.
(Ken Lass is a retired television news and sports anchor and Trussville resident.)