Trademark

Goodwill Hunting: Found in OBX

Aug 21, 2013

There ain’t no doubt in no one’s mind that love’s the finest thing around.

Gone To Carolina In My Mind by James Taylor

We professionals who deal with trademarks and brand names for a living spend a lot of breath talking about goodwill. We call it the lifeblood of a brand, the currency of reputation, the vital core that embodies all that a business conveys and symbolizes to its customers. Often, however, goodwill gets caught up with and confused with the business side of things–valuation, return on investment, assets. At times, the “good” at the heart of this term seems to fade into the background–good feelings, good memories, good times.
But on a recent trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, (or the OBX as countless decals on the backs of SUVs call it), I was reminded what goodwill really means by a place that has been serving up goodwill for 24 years.

The place is The Blue Point restaurant in Duck, NC, a town about 20 miles north of Kitty Hawk where brothers Wilbur and Orville demonstrated the Wright stuff long before it became popular to venture to the northern parts of this barrier island off the North Carolina Coast. When I first dined at the Blue Point, the place had been open less than a week. It was modest and homey, little more than a beach shack, but outfitted with a snazzy bar punctuated by distinctive red swivel stools complete with seatbacks and footrests. A tile floor of large black and white squares made the cherry-red of those stools shine like neon. But the food–a clever mixture of coastal cooking and fresh local ingredients–shone even brighter. Crab cakes tasted like heaven, and have been a signature dish ever since, but so did everything else I’ve ever ordered since then. Whether serving filet mignon or fried catfish, the Blue Point never fails to surpass its own high standards. The decades have seen two expansions of my favorite “little” restaurant. Now, the place has dozens of tables, yet diners who don’t reserve one of them a month in advance have to settle for eating at lesser establishments. But even as The Blue Point has prospered and grown, it’s never lost touch with its origins.

Each time I walk through the screen door into the small porch area that used to be one of the main dining spaces, I’m transported back to my very first time, filled with joyous memories of meals with family and friends, meals throughout the years that satisfy more than just the appetite. Meals that satisfy the soul. I’m already dreaming about next year and 25 years of The Blue Point. That’s goodwill.

Quote of the day:

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

J. R. R. Tolkien