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Chamber registers insignia for Red Flannel Town Christmas


By Judy Reed


The Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce has given the city’s annual holiday tree lighting a new twist. Not only does it feature some new events, but a new name as well. And it’s been registered with the state of Michigan.

According to the Chamber’s president, Shawn Kiphart, the committee for the event, which will now feature activities all day, decided that the name of the event should tell people where it is. So they called it “A Red Flannel Town Christmas, Come Mingle with Kris Kringle.”

“We could have named it “Family Hometown Christmas” but that doesn’t tell me where it is,” explained Kiphart.  “We knew that it would be in Cedar Springs, and that Santa would be there. We live in Red Flannel Town, and always have, so decided that’s what we would call it.”

However, the Red Flannel Festival has taken exception to the title “Red Flannel Town.”

“Michele Andres (Red Flannel Festival president) called me a few days after I put up the event page and said that we couldn’t use it, that it was too similar,” said Kiphart. “She said I would need to send an email to the board to ask for permission.”

Kiphart said he called the state of Michigan to find out if that was indeed the case. “The state told me it didn’t look like anyone was using it, but to fill out an application and they would check it out. So that’s what we did, and they approved it,” he explained.

He also registered two other taglines, which were both approved: A Red Flannel Town Christmas, and The Original Red Flannel Town, USA, Cedar Springs, MI.

But Andres said that the Chamber could be infringing, even though the state approved it.  “We think it’s important to emphasize that the Red Flannel Festival owns a number of its own marks which identify Festival branding as the source of various goods and services. For example, the RFF holds three variations of trademark registrations for THE RED FLANNEL TOWN. It’s the RFF board’s position that consumers would be confused between the two marks as the mark THE RED FLANNEL TOWN is, and has been, so closely associated with the RFF.

“The City recognized this last year when deciding on how to use the mark on city property. It seems clear that members of the public will think that the Red Flannel Town Christmas, etc. is in some way associated with the RFF.”

Andres would like to have the Chamber ask them if they can use the logo. She told the Post that they were ready to sign an agreement with an incoming business who asked to use their logo on its product, and they were going to do it at no charge.

“Certainly the Red Flannel Board agrees both organizations can work together to promote Cedar Springs as ‘The Red Flannel Town’ as long as the Chamber approaches the Board and asks its permission to use its property in a manner consistent with Board policy. To date, they have been unwilling to do that. The Board is merely policing its rights in order to maintain the strength of its brand and trademarks. We would think the Chamber would respect these rights and the Red Flannel brand and go about this in the right way so the entire Cedar Springs community can benefit,” she said.

Kiphart said that he has already gotten a phone call from the Festival’s lawyer about it. He said he assured him he would only be using the words and phrases he registered, not any Red Flannel logos.

Kiphart said he is a huge supporter of the Red Flannel Festival and has no beef with them. But he argues that Cedar Springs was known as Red Flannel Town before the Festival came into being, and that “Red Flannel Town” belongs to the community to use. “I registered it as a name, not as a brand,” he said. “It’s the town’s. I registered it to make sure the community could use it. Red Flannel Town is where I live, and most of the community thinks that, too, so I’m going to honor that.”



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12 Responses to “Chamber registers insignia for Red Flannel Town Christmas”

  1. William Wheeler says:

    The RFF continues to flex it’s muscles and try to divide the community. The citizens voted down paying the added tax, and after last nights City Council meeting, its clear the charges to the Festival for city services were reasonable.

    It’s hard to believe that adults can’t come to a compromise.

    You should all be ashamed!!!

  2. It seems to me that the RFF board doesn’t like anything that promotes Cedar Springs’ heritage unless they get their due. Sad.

  3. CS Resident says:

    It’s sad that once again the RFF picks yet another fight with another Cedar Springs organization. If anything this tag line gives the RFF free publicity. Cedar Springs will always be acknowledged as the Red Flannel Town because of it’s history. Yes the RFF has helped new generations identify our City with that identity but they didn’t invent it. This only makes the RFF Board again look uncooperative and power hungry. It’s another embarrasing example of the RFF making our City a joke to other communities over this pettiness.

  4. CS Resident says:

    What’s sad is that the Chamber just assumes they can use it. It’s confusing between the Chamber and the Festival because people can’t tell who’s who. The Festival has to protect itself and people keep trying to walk all over them. You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.

  5. Kathy B. says:

    Kudos to Council Member Troost who took it upon herself to investigate the entire timeline of the RFF fiasco. With education comes wisdom and with wisdom comes an opportunity to do the right thing. She documented every step of the conflict brought about by the RFF and put it in writing. Perhaps those residents who want to know the truth would avail themselves of this timeline and would finally understand the city’s position. If the RFF is now offering a new business the opportunity to use “their” logo “for free” why are they demanding ransom from taxpayers every year for the the privilege of advertising the festival. I believe the attitude displayed by Michele Andres, as reported in this Post, “Andres would like to have the Chamber ask them if they can use the logo” is very telling. All about POWER and nothing at all about the good of the community.

  6. C S Business Owner says:

    The Chamber of Commerce didn’t just “assume” they could use it. They asked for permission to use it from the State of Michigan. The State of Michigan granted them permission use the terminology.

    If RFF thinks that the residents of Cedar Springs cannot tell the difference between the terms “Red Flannel Festival” and “Red Flannel Town Christmas”, then they are surely not giving people enough credit.

  7. CS resident says:

    My question is why did they go thru so much trouble and time registering this with the state when all they had to do is just go talk to the RFF board????? I heard the csscoc didnt even corrospond with RFF. Just saying. I dont think RFF were the aggressive ones on this matter

  8. CS Resident says:

    How does the RFF own the words “Red Flannel Town”? Does that mean anything that says “Red Flannel” or any picture of a red flannel has be to approved by the RFF? How many more rights do they think they have to dictate what others can use when it’s not their logo being used for this event? Does McDonalds have the right to Every style M so no one else can use the letter M to advertise their business? Sounds like they are looking to keep the fight going and not trying to get along with the Town that they are trying to promote with their festival. I personally have a hard time attending the festival anymore now that the RFF has begun their vendetta.

  9. Kathy B. says:

    It probably wasn’t much trouble at all for Shawn to register with the State of Michigan. When doing something for the good of others it is seldom a burden. Shawn obviously has a heart for Cedar Springs and its residents that I haven’t seen displayed by the RFF. I too have lost interest in attending the festival since the RFF vendetta began against the City. The festival didn’t appreciate the free advertising they got in the past and the City refused to waste any more taxpayer dollars when it meant an extended fight over something that truly belonged to the citizens. In addition, it would have been a yearly expense like renting something that would never be owned. Glad they said no deal. It was “proudly” proclaimed by a RFF supporter
    at the council last Thursday that the festival covered nearly all its expenses this year without hitting the taxpayers up for support. My question is, why didn’t they do that in the first place and save us from this embarrassment? Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Truth…. can’t beat it. Let’s all get behind the Chamber and support The Original Red Flannel Town!!

  10. CS Resident says:

    How is asking somebody to pay for the use of trademarks a vendetta? Why should the festival be walked on! They aren’t unreasonable people who put on a hell of an event. I’m happy Kathy Bremmer doesn’t come to red flannel day, it means her and her negativity stay at home. I haven’t seen Kathy Bremmer do a thing besides complain. Red flannel town is a red flannel trademark, and just like with the city, if they don’t use it they will lose it. McDonald’s has their M trademarked, even if it is just a letter. All the chamber had to do is ask, and they didn’t. Also, just because the state “approved” their application, doesn’t mean they own it. On the form you have to check the box next to if anyone else has rights to this trademark. They don’t have any rights to it yet they didn’t anyway. That’s why they didn’t ask the festival. I’m proud of the festival for standing up for itself from bullies like the chamber and the city.

  11. CS resident says:

    Kathy…You really have the wrong information. I suggest you move if you dont like it. I hear Coral needs help with tater town.

  12. CS resident says:

    Yeah Kathy…its time to move on…




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