When is something “Detroit” enough?

The recent word that Detroit Axe, a competitive and recreational axe throwing venue and bar, is opening up in downtown Ferndale on Nine Mile has set off quite a few conversation threads.

There are many businesses on both sides of the storied divide that use “Detroit” in their name, or claim to be “Detroit-based” in their marketing materials.

One of the common refrains is whether or not you should trust your coworkers or buddies with axes and alcohol — but we’re not here to talk about that one today.

The other we’ve spotted in multiple places on our collective social media feeds is the age-old question of whether or not something — be it a bar, a business, or an organization — can use “Detroit” in the name, or call it based in Detroit, if it’s not based in the city proper.

There are lots and lots of reasons we’ve seen and discussed around the office (and feel free to put them in the comments), but some common threads:

Those who think you should be able to seem to mostly use arguments like:

  • We’re one region
  • People from other cities don’t care
  • This is the kind of division that has kept us back for years
  • City lines are stupid when we live mere miles from each other

Those who believe no:

  • Detroit as a name means something important and separate
  • You should have pride in the specific suburb you’re in
  • If you use the name, you should make customers cross 8 Mile
  • The name has cache and if you’re not contributing to the city directly in some way, such as a minimum charitable contribution, you shouldn’t be able to use it.

What do you think? Hit the poll and leave it in the comments. 

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