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The Truth Behind These Iconic American Brands’ Names Will Totally Fascinate You

Brand Names

We all have a brand name that we love. It could be a favorite chain restaurant or a favorite department store. Many people also have preferred brands of clothes, a favorite brand of snack cake, and potato chips. There are brand names everywhere. Have you ever wondered where your favorite bands got their names? Some are simple, and the brand was named after the brand’s creator. Some brands identify the products. Finally, some brand names are related to unknown facts and stories. Here are some very popular brands whose names have an interesting backstory. The truth behind these iconic American brands’ names will totally fascinate you.


A&W is a restaurant and a brand of root beer. The two go hand-in-hand, and you get get your fix of A&W root beer at the restaurant. It all started back in 1919. Roy W. Allen set up a roadside drink stand to introduce his root beer. He set up the stand during a parade honoring the World War I veterans that were returning home in Lodi, California. The stand was a huge success, and Roy wanted to see his root beer all year long. One of his employees, Frank Wright, saw you lucrative the root beer business could be, and in 1923, the two became partners. Shortly after, they opened their first restaurant in Sacramento, California. They got the name, A&W from their last names, Allen and Wright. The restaurant was a success, and in 1926, it became a franchise.
Today, there are restaurants all over the country. Many of them are drive-in restaurants with carhops. At A&W, you can order hamburgers, French fries, hot dogs, and many other menu items.
The two men eventually sold the brand to Yum! Brands, and in December 2011, it was sold to A Great American Brand, LLC. They did expand into Canada, but a separate, unaffiliated chain had owned them since 1972.
It’s incredible that two men started a little roadside stand for a parade that turned into a multi-million dollar business.

OPI Products

If you have ever bought nail polish, or if you have ever had a manicure, you have seen the brand name, OPI. It is one of the most popular nail polish brands in the world. Have you ever wondered what OPI stands for? Some believe that it is the initials of the person who created the company. This isn’t the case. It stands for Odontorium Products Inc. When the company started, it was a small dental supply company. In 1981, George Schaffer bought the company. He brought on Suzi Weiss-Fischmann as the Executive Vice President and Artistic Director. They also brought on R. Eric Montgomery, a biochemist.

After acquiring the business, they created an acrylic system for nails. When George started selling the product door-to-door to local nail salons, he realized the earning potential. When the team saw how much money could be made in nail polish, they closed the dental sales side of the business and focused only on the nail products. They changed the name to OPI Products, as a nod to the original name.
By 1989, the company was doing great, and they started offering nail lacquers and other products. In 2010, the team sold the company to Coty, Inc. They are now based in Calabasas, California, and employ over 500 people. Today, OPI is the most popular nail polish in salons.


Kmart is an American big-box department store change. The company started in 1899 with the name S.S. Kresge Corporation. The company’s founder was Sebastian Spering Kresge. Sebastian opened a single store in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1897. The first store was doing well, and more stores were opened. In 1962, he opened the first store under the name, Kmart. He took the K from his last name to create the name. In 1977, all of the stores were renamed. By 1994, there were over 2,486 Kmart stores all over the world. The store declared bankruptcy in 2002 and then again in 2018. This reduced the number of stores across the globe. By February 2020, there will be just 70 Kmart stores left.


M&Ms are the colorful chocolate candies with the hard shells. They are also one of the most popular brands of candy. Most people can say that they have tried M&Ms at least once. The creator of the candy, Forrest E. Mars Senior, copied the idea from M&Ms, which was a British company. Later, the British company came out with Smarties, which are still very popular today.
When Mars started making M&Ms, he was working with his partner, Bruce Murrie. The men used the first letter of each of their last names to create the name of the candy in 1941. When the candy was first introduced, it was only available to soldiers fighting in World War II. Later, they became available to the public, and are one of the most popular candies on the market today. Over the years, they added more options, including Peanut M&Ms, Peanut Butter M&Ms, Pretzel M&Ms, and many others.

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