DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t call it a comeback. Judging by the indomitable growth of StewartÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s empire in the last year, her prison stint wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t so much a setback as it was a speed-bump. Of Martha Stewart Living OmnimediaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 15 licensed product deals, nine came in 2007 (including 2,000 home products at MacyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, a crafts line at Michaels, wines made by E&J Gallo, and prepared foods at Costco). Add to that the continued successes of her daytime show and magazine, and she seemed unstoppable. That is, except in her present hometown of Katonah. After attempting to trademark the villageÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name for a line of home products, she encountered an organized resistance from the chamber of commerce and the Katonah Village Improvement Society (KVIS). Among their tactics: a satirical Marthometer newsletter (themarthometer.com) and two protest songs. Meanwhile, Martha showed up at a town meeting in February to plead her case bearing plenty of chocolate-chip cookies.
Prediction for 2008: Stewart wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get off that easy. Villagers and KVIS have been trying to organize a Times Square Stewart roast (originally scheduled for early November), a pending lawsuit, and other shenanigans. Next time, Martha, try brownies.
UPDATE: As with some of the other “People of the Year” writeups, there were some breaking developments with Martha that took place after we already went to the printers. The roast did indeed take place, on November 28. But that was about a week after Martha and the KVIS came to a settlement about her usage of Katonah, and what products she can and can’t trademark the name under. To read more on the compromise, check out our post from November 16.
Adapted from Ã¢â‚¬Å“People of the Year,Ã¢â‚¬? InTown Westchester, December 2007
(Illustration by Ismael Roldon)