Every business name spoken in the possessive case: places that do this?

I read the subject line and thought “The OP is from Buffalo.”

In Chicago, we add the unnecessary 's early and often.

I’ve lived in Buffalo for almost my entire life, and I have never heard anyone do this. :confused: I’m really giving this a lot of thought, and I genuinely can’t think of a single example.

Yeah, this makes a lot more sense to me.

Here in Chicago it happens quite a lot but it’s not quite become ridiculous yet. Pretty much any business that is or looks like it could be a person’s last name gets the annoying 's treatment. Bars are particularly prone to it. Beaumont becomes Beaumont’s. The Burwood becomes Burwood’s. Fado becomes Fado’s. It doesn’t help that a ton of bars are named that way, Stanley’s, McGee’s, Mickey’s etc. Stores like JC Penney and Nordstrom tend to get the 's because they look like last names (and once were) but you thankfully don’t hear people saying Sears’s.

If anyone ever says Wal-Mart’s, CVS’s or BP’s they are getting whacked with a trout.

Depends on the business.

Montgomery Ward was always Ward’s.
Meijer is about 50/50 Meijer and Meijer’s

It’s common here in the midwest, too.

And the one that used to make me stabby: The Woolworth’s store, while it existed, was pronounced Woolsworth by 90% of my hometown.

Here in the Los Angeles area the big supermarket chains are Ralphs and Vons. That is how it appears on the signs. There is no apostrophe, but I am fairly sure they are intended as possessives.

In Britain it is also common to make a shop name into a possessive, especially if it is someone’s name, as in Woolworth’s, Harrods or Sainsbury’s. (The websites say Harrods, without an apostrophe, and Sainsbury’s with one, but presumably the name of the founder of the former was Harrod. I don’t recall the Woolworth signs ever having an S.) Sometimes in Britain the possessive will be used even when the name is not a person’s name, as in Tesco’s* (the signs say Tesco), but this does seem to apply universally. I don’t think it is normal to say Asda’s, for instance (Asda is another big chain in the U.K.), and I doubt whether most British people would say Wal-Mart’s or Kmart’s, and they certainly would not add a possessive S to a street name. I have no idea, however, what rule, if any, is being followed.
*Although I believe the co of Tesco derives from the name of the founder: Cohen.

The original names were indeed George Ralph and Charles Von der Ahe. I’m not sure but it probably wasn’t that long ago the apostrophes disappeared from those logos.

Speaking of old stores, there’s a Pavilions in Beverly Hills at Beverly Drive and Olympic; I remember going there with my mother when I was a kid, before 1970, when it was a Safeway. A year or so I went in there again, and it was as if it was in a time warp. It was almost too small to be a supermarket, and had lots of those old fashioned freezers that have no tops and you have to reach down into them to pick out your merchandise. I imagine the store was already old when I was a kid.

It’s not a “rule” in the sense that somewhere sometime someone of great authority said, “Thou shalt not use the name of a store in possessive unless such store does so in its signage.”

None of this is about any “rules.” Obviously it’s regional in usage, but when we use the possessive, “X’s,” it’s just a short form of saying, “X’s store,” or “X’s emporium,” etc. So if the store has what seems a lot like a person’s name, it’s only natural to do this, whether the business is listed like that in the phone book or not.

I’d bet that the people in Buffalo who do this with Walmart, etc., aren’t trying to say, “Walmart’s mart,” but rather are expressing their familiarity with the establishment–that “Walmart” is like a person they know. If they were to go to a strange city and see a business called, “Consolidated Liquidation,” they’d never say something like, “Let’s meet at Consolidated Liquidation’s.” But, by the same token, if they go to L.A., and visit Ciudad a few times, they’d probably start calling it “Ciudad’s,” especially if they like the place, and register the name of the restaurant as the name of an actual person.

In Buffalo, people really do apply the possessive to such business names; it would either be “Consolidated Liquidation’s” or “Consolidated’s”. (FWIW, there’s a disproportionately large number of local retailers with the words factory, warehouse, outlet, discount, liquidators, wholesale and surplus in them. There’s even Xtreme Discount Mattress Warehouse, I kid you not.) I’ve heard “Bed Bath and Beyond’s” and “Christmas Tree’s Shop”, and “The Albright’s” for “Albright-Knox Art Gallery”.

I should clarify that the people who do this tend to be either culturally blue-collar or old-school, which in Buffalo means a large portion of the population do this. Even among educated professionals, you’ll still hear it a bit.

Yeah, that does seem to be the rule, insofar as there is one here: if it sounds like it could be a name, it gets the possessive. The most famous one here would be “Jewel Food Stores” become “da Jewel’s.” “Da K-Mart’s” sounds completely wrong. “Da J.C. Penney’s” is normal. “Da Osco’s” – this one I don’t know. Sounds okay to me, but I can’t say for sure.

Actually, now that I think of it, there is at least one case where we do that to something that doesn’t sound like a name: “White Castle’s.” I can hear this in my head and it sounds fine: “Hey, we’re goin’ to da White Castle’s, ya want somethin?” But it doesn’t sound idiomatic if you substitute “Burger King’s” for “White Castle’s.”

I want to toss this in even though it’s not directly on topic.

When I was in college there were a dozen or so eating joints around school with possessive names like Rotier’s, Jerry’s, Ireland’s, Brown’s and so on. But that wasn’t good enough for the cognoscenti. You had to know the proprietor’s name and refer to whatever joint that was by his given name possessive. Even if the place already was something’s you wouldn’t call it that: it would be owner’s. It was all great unless you didn’t have the code. And if somebody said, “I’ll meet you at Al’s” you had better know where Al was the boss or you’d wind up eating alone at Krystal’s.

I do.

Nordstrom’s, Penney’s, Kroger’s, Meijer’s, AJ Wright’s.


Target (not Target’s), TJ Maxx (not TJ Maxx’s), Best Buy (not Best Buy’s).
I’m in the Detroit area. I will add 's to business names that are actual people names.

Huh. I didn’t even realize the company name was Nordstrom, no s or possessive. So I (and I presume a lot of Chicagoans, though I don’t want to speak for us all), say it, too.

I grew up with “Penny’s”, “Woolworth’s” and “Montgomery Ward’s” but that’s the extent of my store-posessiveness. Anything newer doesn’t get an extra S.

My aunts still say “K Marts” tho. Not sure if they go to the “Wal Mart’s” or not.

I was born in Detroit, raised just outside of it, and went to college in Buffalo.

Yeah, both places make things possessive. I venture to say it’s “worse” in Detroit, though.

“I work for Ford’s” drives me up the fucking wall.

My grandmother in southern Illinois did that. She used to go to K-Mart’s and Venture’s a lot. :slight_smile:

I always attributed it to being an “old people” thing because she remembered going to Bob’s market or Kline’s drugstore (where Bob and Mr. Kline were the respective owners).

…I think I might totally do that. Not consistently–Target is Target, Wal-Mart is Wal-Mart. Also, Jewel is Jewel, Hilander is Hilander. But Penney’s? Yep. Nordstrom’s? Yep. Meijer’s? Yep. Logli’s? Yep. Woodman’s and Dominick’s are supposed to be that way, though.

I swear, this thread makes me feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. 30+ years of living in Buffalo - in the city proper, not East Amherst or anything, public schools from kindergarten on…and I just don’t recognize this claim. Not at all.

How do I not recognize it, when it’s being put out there as a Buffalo given? I’m perplexed! Particularly the whole Transit’s Road and The Albright’s examples. Whaaa? That’s just insane.