As he crossed Nassau Street recently, Layton Hopper ’16 recalled feeling surprised to see that Twist — the town’s self-serve yogurt staple — had a new name.
“I thought that they had probably changed management or a different store had purchased it,” he said. “It didn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
But, in fact, the establishment has not changed hands. At the end of July, the owners of Princeton’s Twist Yogurt changed the name of their business to “Sketch,” a move intended to distinguish the branch from others that shared its former title.
“A ton of places have the word ‘Twist’ in the name,” Sketch manager Catherine Whitman explained. “We wanted to make the name our own.”
The new name is derived from the shop’s recent changes to its seating area, which had already provided free Wi-Fi and board games. The eatery’s tables now include blank pieces of construction paper with chalk so that customers of all ages can “sketch” drawings that will be used to decorate the shop.
While the business’s owners had not possessed the rights to the name “Twist,” the eatery has successfully obtained rights to its new name, Whitman explained. The establishment will continue to operate solely in Princeton, but Whiteman noted that the new name would prepare the business for expansion if its owners consider that option in the future.
But the primary motive for the name switch was to allow the nearly five-year-old establishment to build its growing reputation in the area, Whitman said. She explained that the eatery had often been mistaken for a separate Twist Yogurt business based in northern New Jersey.
“We’re one of the original frozen yogurt places in the area, and we want to be able to differentiate ourselves,” she said. “We’re not part of the other chains. We’re an important part of Princeton,” she added.
Charles Goldberg, who owns the Twist Yogurt in northern New Jersey, explained that copyrighting the title of a business with such a common name is often a “complicated legal scenario.” When Goldberg had previously requested the rights to the name “Twist,” he was told that the name was “not copyright-able” because too many such branches existed across the country already, some reaching as far as the West Coast.
While Whitman expects the new name to distinguish the eatery from its peers, she added that she hopes the business will continue to maintain its student customer base. In order to avoid confusion, the business will not change its name from “Twist” on its Facebook and Twitter accounts until students have returned for the fall semester.
In the meantime, a sign sits in front of the store that reads: “You may have noticed … We changed our name! But don’t worry, you’re still getting the same great product and service you’re familiar with!” Once students arrive on campus next month, Sketch’s staff plans to advertise the new name to students — possibly with a coupon deal — as a way to let people know that the shop is under the same management with the same yogurt, Whitman said.
While Hopper said he does not mind the owners’ name change “as long as they still provide the same delicious array of flavors,” he added that the name choice is more appropriate for an art supply shop and might not be appropriate for a frozen yogurt eatery.
“In pop culture, ‘sketch’ usually has a negative connotation associated with it,” he explained.
Dennis London ’14, who has also already moved back in, said that, while the owner’s name selection seemed “a little odd,” he expects students will continue to remain customers if the eatery overall hasn’t changed.