Gas station and convenience store chain Kum & Go will reportedly rebrand after being bought out in 2023. The new owners are reportedly worried the double entendre in Kum & Go's name could hurt its business prospects.
Established in Iowa in 1959, Kum & Go was acquired by FJ Management's Maverik chain in April 2023 according to CSP Daily News. Initially, the Utah-based Maggelet family that owns FJ Management reportedly planned to rebrand only the Kum & Go locations in Maverik's territory, and leave the rest of the network unchanged. However, its tone seemed to shift late last year.
"I think there was some concern about the inadvertent double entendre of the Kum & Go name," a source with knowledge of Maverik's management told CSP Daily News.
"If you're growing cross-regionally, which brand do you think will have more appeal to a new audience: Maverik or Kum & Go? No disrespect to Kum & Go, but the answer is pretty clear," another told the outlet.
Indeed, after blowing $2 billion on a competing chain, Maverik is concerned its acquisition's name—which evidently hasn't held it back so far—is the problem. Prior to the sale, Maverik and Kum & Go operated on a similar scale, with 400-some locations across a dozen or more states each. Clearly, customers don't mind the Kum & Go name, whose potentially crude meaning isn't some modern invention.
The homophone in question is believed to have been used as slang as far back as the 1590s according to Online Etymology Dictionary, if not earlier. Since opening its first store, Kum & Go was always at risk of being interpreted that way. But customers clearly read it as meaning a place for a quick stop, and its name readily conveys that it's a convenience store. Maverik on the other hand sounds like a place to buy unlicensed Tom Cruise merch. The decision to sacrifice the former for the latter strikes as a misguided marketing move. It's like Buc-ee's changing its name because of a 21st-century slang word.
In the end, management's squeamishness could hurt the brand rather than help it. But we'll all know for certain when Maverik is rolled out across the company's locations, and ventures into territories beyond.
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