What’s in a name?


Martha’s Vineyard is HOT! It’s pure gold for entrepreneurs, Realtors, hospitality providers, and more. While the home real estate market has cooled temporarily, storefronts are in demand, and the key to success is associating one’s new venture with the name Martha’s Vineyard. 

Inspired by the success of Mad Martha’s, the ice cream store, and the beer joint copycat, Bad Martha, I have registered 22 names with the relevant Massachusetts state agency, the Titles or Names Office for Better Sales (MASS–TONSOFBS). 

Some of you who are reading this will be envious and perhaps even angry, because I’ve beaten you to the punch, but I am doing this in order to supplement my retirement income, embarrassingly meager after a 41-year career in public broadcasting. For a reasonable fee, I am making copyrighted and trademarked names available for franchising here on the Island. The initial contract for exclusive use of one of these names (with or without the possessive) will be for three years, renewable in one-year extensions. 

The most attractive is, of course, the name itself: Martha (or Martha’s). While this name is very specific to our Island, it is also ideally nonspecific, even vague. Buy this franchise name, put the sign over the door, and you can sell anything and everything — whatever you want — at Martha’s! 

This is also the highest-priced franchise, but it will be worth it to the ambitious and hard-working person who buys it.

The other available franchises and their purposes, listed alphabetically:

Ad Martha’s: This franchise can either provide tennis lessons OR be a local advertising agency (or both, if the new owner is ambitious and versatile)

Add Martha’s: Providing math tutoring

Brad Martha’s: A boutique hardware store

Clad Martha’s: This store will sell locally produced Island-themed clothing

Dad Martha: A support group for local fathers

Egad! Martha: A group for fans of Sherlock Holmes and other memorable protagonists from English literature 

Fad Martha’s: This will sell inexpensive, trendy, Island-themed souvenirs

Glad Martha: A marijuana dispensary

Grad Martha’s: A meeting hall for graduates of MVRHS

Had (It with) Martha: A meeting place for Islanders who are totally fed up with tourists and need a safe space for venting. We urge the franchisee to establish centers in all six Island towns

Lad Martha’s: This store will sell Island-themed boy’s clothing

Pad Martha’s: Island-themed beds, pillows, etc.

Plaid Martha’s: All things Scottish, including a bluefish-based haggis

Rad Martha’s: A progressive political group meeting space

Tad Martha’s: A store specializing in Island-themed infant’s clothing and other necessities for newborns

Trad Martha’s: An organization created to push local planning boards to be more respectful of Island history and to urge building size restrictions

If you are ambitious and determined to make a name for yourself, contact me at your earliest convenience. During the week I can normally be found at my sidewalk lemonade stand on Morse Street in Edgartown, where I am supplementing my meager retirement income. Weather permitting, my business hours are from about 10 am to 6:30 pm or so, depending on foot traffic. Please stop by to chat, to make me an offer, or maybe just to enjoy a cool cup of lemonade at a reasonable price.


John Merrow, a two-time recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award, actually does live in Edgartown.


  1. Perhaps this writer could embrace IGOT MY MARTHA name as well considering he lives in a home worth upwards of $5 million in Edgartown.

  2. Obviously a bad joke.
    MVTimes should take him up on Rag Martha’s for running this silly piece.
    There is real news and real things going on out there. Let’s use the limited resources of the paper to cover the real issues effecting our island. How about those skunks that I can’t seem to go anywhere without bumping into. Cover that! And why no one has the gall to stand up and demand government actions to rid the island of the skunks when they are a menace to our otherwise ideal island.

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