The underwear-hummus war

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Lovely local hummus

Lovely local hummus

Hanes Hummus vs. Hanesbrand Inc.

Article: Eman Bare – News Writer

Big business is suing little business – and this time little business is fighting back. Yohannes Petor, a Saskatoon native and the owner of Hanes Hummus says that on Dec. 11, 2013, he received a cease and desist letter from Hanesbrands Incorporated.

Hanesbrand Incorporated (HBI) is a global brand that specializes in undergarments-very different than Hanes Hummus, or so Petor thought.

“Immediately I thought it was ridiculous but I knew it needed to be addressed,” he said. Unfortunately, it was no joke. In a follow up interview with Petor earlier this week, he says that HBI is still insisting that he changes the name of his company.

“The reason I chose to call my company Hanes Hummus is Hanes is my nickname that my close friends have called me for a very long time. Hanes stems from my first name Yohannes,” says Petor.

He never imagined that anyone would confuse his local food business, for an international clothing brand. Though HBI thought very differently.

“The mark HANES HUMMUS is essentially identical and confusingly similar to the HANES mark,” said associate general counsel Richard S. Donnell in the letter from Hanes. “Your client’s mark incorporates the distinctive HANES mark in its entirety and the mere addition of the generic wording HUMMUS does not distinguish the marks.”

Petor says that at this point he has no intention of changing the name of his hummus.

The story of Hanes Hummus began in Vancouver, where Petor would make hummus for friends and family from fresh local produce. It wasn’t until 2009 that Hanes Hummus took off. Petor moved back to Saskatoon and word of his tasty hummus quickly spread. That year, he began preparing Hanes Hummus in a commercial kitchen and was selected as the official hummus supplier for the Greek pavilion at FolkFest.

“This opportunity brought new retail establishments and Hanes Hummus we have never looked back. Until 2013, I physically sourced the ingredients and produced Hanes Hummus myself,” said Hanes.

Now, the company has four employees and is available at multiple retailors across the province. Earlier this month, Hanes Hummus was even available at the University of Regina.

Maria Aman, a fourth year psychology student, has been selling Hanes Hummus on campus to support the shop’s local movement.

“It was actually surprising how many people just stopped by to say things like ‘hey I read about this–keep fighting the good fight’ and other positive and uplifting messages,” says Aman.

For her, shopping and supporting local is important because of the business it gives small shop owners and also for health reasons.

It’s just nice to know that the food you’re eating hasn’t been heavily processed and shipped for days to get to our plates. I also think that we always have a bit of pride saying ‘yeah, that was made in Saskatchewan.’ Warms your heart a bit knowing its not big manufacturers or companies trying to make a quick buck, but just good people making good products.”

Aman says that she has seen a change in university students, to try and support more local businesses.

Whether or not HBI insists that Hanes Hummus change their name or not, what is evident is that support for local businesses is flourishing in this province. For Hanes Hummus, this lawsuit has simply drawn more attention to an already growing business.

For more information on how you can support this local business, follow @haneshummus on Twitter, or like their Facebook page.

Image: Eman Bare

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