Within the first week after Mixed Up Gifts opened a brick-and-mortar shop on South Broadway, owner Cindy Gamel received a cease-and-desist letter from Philip Guerin, owner of Myxed Up Creations. The letter, which she first saw late last week but which was filed September 24, demands that she drop the name of her business.
A few days later, Gamel says, she is still in shock. “I think it’s uncalled for. We can both do business without people being confused.”
Still, she will comply with his demand and change the name.
As we reported in late September, Gamel started Mixed Up Gifts as an online business two years ago. At that time, she registered the business name with the Secretary of State's Office. She opted not to hire a lawyer or trademark the name, deciding it would cost too much.
Guerin, who did not reply to multiple requests for comment, started Myxed Up Creations head shop back in 1992 “as a shoestring operation with no capital backing,” according to the company's website. The business opened its first store on Colfax Avenue in 1994 and has since expanded to three other locations, in Aurora, Pueblo and Colorado Springs.
“[His business] is getting bigger and will grow regardless,” Gamel says.
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Upon receiving the letter and consulting with lawyers, she was advised that the demand is not worth fighting because the pronunciation of the two store names is the same and both fall within the broad category of retail.
All of this comes at a huge cost for her budding storefront business. Before news of the letter last week, she'd received $500 worth of bags containing both her logo and name, and she has been left feeling disheartened.
Says Gamel: “It’s not what I expected from Denver businesses."
Now she's brainstorming ideas for a new name.