Although the event was dubbed a "Rename the Bar Party" at Crooks Club last Friday night, it was anything but a party atmosphere when owner Dave Thompson announced the new name that he had picked from more than 200 entries submitted as part of a contest.
"I announced it and it got real quiet, like you could hear a pin drop," Thompson told the Times Monday. "I was like, uh-oh, this isn't good."
The new name he announced was "Legacy," submitted by Brian Popovich, a Wisconsin man who's currently calling Crookston home while he works in North Dakota.
The idea, Thompson figured, was that the new name would somehow commemorate the “legacies” of previous names of the longtime downtown Crookston bar and off-sale, and that parts of the interior would subsequently celebrate those previous names.
But, asked by the Times Monday if the business would now be known as simply "Legacy" or "The Legacy Bar" or some other title that incorporates the word, Thompson's answer made it clear that he's unsure if the new name is going to stick. (He stressses, however, that Popovich will still get his prize, $250 in credit in the bottle shop and $250 credit in the bar.)
But he's going to have to make a decision soon. He decided to rename the bar as part of a renovation of the bar space and bottle shop inside, and the building's exterior, too. When the Crooks Club awnings come down, the new awnings that go up are going to have to have a new name that's going to remain in place for a long, long time.
In the meantime, Thompson continues to mull name options with his staff, and staff member Kayla Plante is planning to post something on the Crooks Club Facebook page to gauge how the public feels about the "Legacy" name, or if they have any other ideas. Possible names submitted as part of the contest included a return to the business' original name, The Viking, as well as new names Bar None, Filling Station, Quenchers, and Beer Thirty, among many others.
"There were so many ideas submitted and so many ideas in my head, I had a hard time; I'm still having a hard time," said Thompson, who also owns The Wheel Bar in Middle River, Minn. "Maybe it'll be Legacy Liquors up front, with the bar having a different name. But I don't know if that's a good idea, either."
Whether it's via a Facebook comment, or a suggestion in person or through some other medium, Thompson said he's simply in search of "validation more than anything." In other words, do people like "Legacy" or not?
Page 2 of 2 - "I said before that it wasn't going to be a democracy, that when it came time to actually pick something after talking with my staff, it was going to be a dictatorship," he said. "But past experience tells me that it's good to build consensus, and that you make more right decisions when you have a consensus than you do when you don't."
He's thinking of simply "throwing out some options" and letting his staff and/or customers weigh in. Whichever new name and/or theme for the business is most popular, Thompson might just go with it. Or he might not.
"Nothing is set in stone until we have to put the new awnings up," he said. "I never thought this would be such a challenge; I'm still not sure where my head's at on this one."