Zombie Brands: Not Just For Retail Anymore

We’ve followed the nationwide invasion of zombie retailers such as Sharper Image, Circuit City and Linens ‘N’ Things–brands that go bankrupt, then reappear on the web or in the same strip malls they originally roamed. Zombie brands don’t just exist in retail, though. Mainstreet.com rounded up a horde of re-animated brands that includes a magazine and a major-league sports franchise.

Yes, the Phoenix Coyotes are looking to, um, rise again.

Earlier this year, the Phoenix Coyotes, a hockey team, filed for Chapter 11, catching the NHL off guard. The team was auctioned off and bought by the NHL for $140 million, but the Coyotes are still struggling to find new ownership and a clean future. According to the NHL commissioner, this should happen by the end of the current hockey season.

7 Dead Brands Come Back to Life [MainStreet]


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  1. G.O.B.: Come on! says:

    Serious LOLs @ hockey in Arizona.

    • Wombatish says:

      B/c Arizona is bad at sports?

      If it’s just because it’s warm there are several great (or formerly great) Hockey teams from warm states D:

      P.s. Go STARS!

    • ARP says:

      True, its hot during a few months, but at night it gets much cooler and its not too much different than some Texas teams. They could put some solar panels on the stadium to help power the compressors.

  2. UniKyrn says:

    Yep, lnt.com (Linen’NThings) just showed up in my inbox again, and seconds later my mail server blocked all email from them. Not the same company I once did business with, so they have no existing relationship claim to my email address.

  3. SG-Cleve says:

    What do you call the stores that pop up in an empty storefront for a month and then disappear?

    For example a Halloween store?

    • ForestGrump says:

      seasonal store.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Yeah, it’s a seasonal store. Zombie stores go out of business and then come back when they generally have no business doing so – cause uh, they went out of business. Halloween stores and Christmas stores come in seasonally, but they don’t go out of business – they pack up at the end of the proper season and come back next year.

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        I’ve always wondered about those places. Do the same people own the Christmas and Halloween store, or does one guy own the location and leases it to different stores?

        • ARP says:

          In Chicago, they tend to set up in vacant spaces, so its mutually beneficial for the store owner (have a short term lease) and landlord (gives them a bit of income while they try to find a long term tenant). We don’t have as many Christmas stores (other than the trees in empty lots).

  4. DirectMailFan says:

    You can add MCI to that list too-they’re showing up in the mail.

    And I just got rid of one of those MCI Worldcom phones a few months ago!

    • GTI2.0 says:

      MCI didn’t go out of business. They declared bankruptcy, then changed their name back to Worldcom (they were known as MCI Worldcom for awhile after they merged but eventually dropped the Worldcom). Then Verizon bought them and combined the business and uses that name on occasion.

  5. dragonfire81 says:

    Jim Balsillie wanted to buy the team and move it to Canada, where it would damned sure find a market, but the anti-Canadian NHL commissioner and his stooges threw all sorts of roadblocks in his way. The issue got dragged into the courts and resulted in the NHL buying the franchise, which shows no signs of being profitable if left in the middle of desert.

    They could be the best team in the league and I still don’t think they would generate enough revenue to be profitable.

    • Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

      The Sabres also officially objected to the move, and the owners did unanimously vote against approving Basillie as owner.

      I am all for moving the team. I agree with you that it’ll never be profitable. The NHL bought themselves a money sieve!

      The problem is Glendale is simply too far away from downtown Phoenix. Did you hear that the ‘Yotes had 5800 fans at a game this season? 5800!

      • Smashville says:

        Part of that is due to Balsillie’s shenanigans, all of the season ticket holders received letters that essentially said that if the team moved, due to bankruptcy law, they would not get a refund.

    • Joedragon says:

      The NHL commissioner needs to get the games off of versus as well or at least put all stanley cup games on OTA / RSN’s for the local teams.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      The main problem being that they were in Canada until fifteen years ago. GO BACK TO WINNIPEG!

    • Moosehawk says:

      Jim Balsillie would make a terrible owner. Sure, buy them, move them to Canada, I’m sure the team would flourish, although they’ve never had a good run at the playoffs, that could be a damper on why there are no fans …

      Balsillie is the shadiest fuck in business. If you don’t believe me, ask all 30 team owners in this league that voted no to him being able to own a team. Or read the open letter Craig Leipold (Owner of the Wild) wrote about Balsillie when he tried to scam him out of his former franchise (Nashville Preds), and how he was selling merchandise to a team he didn’t even have an association or rights to yet, or tickets to an arena that hadn’t even been built.

      Arizona overall is a pretty bad market for sports from what I hear. Weren’t they unable to a fill their stadium when the Diamondbacks made it to the playoffs a while ago? I think I just heard this from someone so I actually don’t know if it’s true or not. Regardless, there were dumber franchise moves in the NHL. Norm Green comes to mind.

      • PHX602 says:

        Pretty much. Before the Cardinals moved into an indoor stadium, sellouts were far and far and few between. Most games had more opposition fans in attendance (Raiders, Cowboys, Packers to name a few).

        I suppose that’s what happens when you have a population base that’s from somewhere else, along with too many other entertainment options.

    • Paladin_11 says:

      Teams can only move FROM Canada… they can’t move TO Canada. That’s always been Bettman’s strategy. It’s only by the skin of their teeth that the Oilers are still in Edmonton and not Houston.

      Most Americans (I am one btw) will never appreciate the NHL the way most Canadians do. Sad to say, the Coyotes will move but not to Canada. They’ll go to Portland or Oklahoma City (!) first. And it disgusts me.

  6. marillion says:

    I was sad to hear about the Coyotes.. They were a main rival of the New Mexico Scorpions hockey team.. Unfortunately, the Scorpions too, are in limbo, awaiting a new buyer.. Any yes, hockey in the desert can work.. When the team was based in Albuquerque, the crowds were pretty good on a consistant basis. However, when the moved to a smaller city outside the main Albuquerque metro area, they lost a lot of fanbase and unless there was a big giveaway or special promotion, the crowds grew less and less.

    • TurnkeyDB says:

      Well not exactly, the Scorps are/were in the CHL (old WPHL) which is AA level pro hockey and the Yotes are in the NHL. I am bummed as well that the Scorps couldn’t find a new owner but it’s a sign of the times. I loved being able to go to games at the state fairgrounds because it was easy to get to from anywhere in town but damn that place was a rathole!

      Oh the memories… I was even at the game where Tony waved the white towel!

    • Smashville says:

      Eh? Either you’re thinking about another team or you misunderstand the word “rival”.

      The Coyotes are in the NHL, formerly the Winnipeg Jets. A franchise that – until this year – was coached by 99.

      The Scorpions were a CHL team, which is about the 4th rung on the ladder down from the NHL, behind the AHL and ECHL. That’s like saying the Yankees and the Kannapolis Intimidators are rivals.

  7. drjayphd says:

    Hey, I’m sure no one would mind the NHL in Hartford again…

  8. Etoiles says:

    I was really weirded out when I got an e-mail from Linens ‘N’ Things two days ago. I cried, “No Zombie E-mails!” but then thought, don’t be silly, you like zombies.

    • ARP says:

      Yes, I’m a sucker for all things Zombie. I’ll watch even the worst zombie movie from beginning to end, especially if there’s a lot of gunplay. BTW- Max Brooks has a hilarious book on surviving the inevitable zombie apocolypse (disclosure: no interest, just a fan).

      BOT- I got that email a few days ago as well. I assuming it was some sort of glitch and deleted it.

  9. Thaddeus says:

    Another zombie franchise: The Cleveland Browns

    Rooting for them all these years sure makes me feel like my brains are being eaten.

  10. H3ion says:

    When do you think we’ll see a zombie mall? Only stores that have liquidated need apply.

    • ZeusThaber says:

      Each store is completely empty, save for a 12-year-old computer sitting on a card table in the far left corner with the zombie website pulled up.

      There is also a pile of boxes with Mervyns written on the side of them.

      The boxes are very, very dusty.

  11. AnonyLawyer says:

    HATE Linens n Things. Worst customer service ever and I would never buy from their zombie website. I received an email ploy from them today!

  12. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    I figured Polaroid might be in the list, and it is, but the few paragraphs devoted to the brand on that ad-fest of a website don’t capture all of what’s happened over the last several years, and certainly none of the nuances.

    The old company screwed up significantly in many ways, and the willy-nilly licensing of the brand definitely didn’t help. The nadir for me was seeing “Polaroid” light bulbs for sale at a closeout store (Ollie’s – where stuff from Big Lots goes to die).

    Anyway, the customer base for instant film goes far beyond the hipsters mentioned in the linked article. I’m very much looking forward to buying some film from The Impossible Project (although not looking forward to the price). It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.

    • stranger than fiction says:

      LOL — Ollie’s is like a thrift shop where all the stuff is new. You never quite know what you’re going to find. I’ve been an Ollie’s Army member since the membership cards were paper punch cards.

  13. TailsToo says:

    I saw a new CompUSA that just opened in Dover, DE today. I didn’t think that they were expanding again, but apparently they are.

    • mischlep says:

      IIRC, Linens n Things, CompUSA, and Circuit City assets were bought by Systemax.

      • stranger than fiction says:

        CompUSA = TigerDirect, which is based in Florida. They retained a handful of stores down there, and have slowly been opening more in other areas.

  14. davekoob says:

    Could the Prev and Next buttons on that page be any smaller and harder to find?

  15. Nighthawke says:

    Dammed zombies, now they got into the hockey gear! How am I supposed to tell the difference between a zombie and Jason?

    Oh well… *Grabs a hockey stick and starts swinging.*

    Speaking of sunbelt hockey franchises, there are the Corpus Christi Ice Rays. A Central Hockey League club, taking on other sunbelt clubs like Arizona’s Sundogs.

    Is it just me or is Arizona very canine-centric when it comes to naming teams… Small wonder they have gone to the dogs…

  16. Smashville says:

    There’ve been zombies in hockey as long as there’s been a Chris Chelios.

    And considering Chelios knew the guy that invented hockey…and ice, for that matter…

  17. Omir The Storyteller says:

    The Western Hockey League has at least one bona-fide based-in-the-desert team, the Tri-City Americans. They seem to do just fine attendance wise.

  18. karmaghost says:

    My wife’s family has been with AT&T back when they were AT&T, then Cingular, now AT&T again. None of them have iPhones. When their contract is up again in 4 months, they’re hi-tailing it to Verizon. AT&T has successfully and finally driven them away as customers.