The Needle In The Groove…

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…And the Damage Done!

Lawyers for HMV which shut down in Derry, Northern Ireland, have warned an ex-manager who decided to go solo that he was harming their reputation.

Tony Cregan, who helped run the HMV store in the city’s Richmond Centre for 10 years until it closed last March, opened a new shop nearby with the backing of a local businessman last week – called HVM.

He had enlisted the backing of the city mayor and 15,000 people on a petition to save the HMV store, which he said was profitable and popular, but went out on his own when his campaign failed.

“We thought what is the point calling the new shop Local CDs or whatever, we’ll just call it HVM. HMV is gone,” he said.

But His Master’s Voice – which is still trading in the UK and Ireland after being bought over by restructuring specialists Hilco – saw things differently.

In a letter from their legal team, they warned Mr Cregan, from Derry, that he was causing confusion in the minds of the public that the business “is associated with or connected with that of our client.”

The warning added: “The continued presence in the market of your business operating under the name HVM has caused and will continue to cause substantial damage to our client’s reputation and goodwill.”

Mr Cregan was forced into rethinking his plans when a customer, in a distinctive local accent, unwittingly provided the answer.

“We were talking in the shop about what was going on,” he said.

“And some boy who overheard us turned around and said: “HM wha’?”

“So we just turned the sign upside down, and now it’s called WAH.”

“People here are buzzing about it. It’s like David and Goliath,” he said.

(More in todays Irish Independent)