An iconic, sixth-generation Lunenburg County market farm is considering a name change and reaching out to customers for their thoughts.
Indian Garden Farms in Hebbville, which is celebrating its 165th anniversary this year, has launched an online contest looking for "suggestions" and "any comments" on a potential new business name.
Within a day of posting its intentions on Facebook January 26, the company had received more than 250 comments, and according to owner Glen Hebb, 11,000 hits.
Indian Garden Farms on Highway 3, just outside of Bridgewater, sells a variety of its produce in an enclosed farm market store, as well as online. It offers u-pick options, a small petting zoo and walking trails.
Hebb insists the motivation to change the name is not the result of any pressure.
"We're not being ordered to do this at all," he told LighthouseNOW, adding there have been no suggestions that "it's not proper to use that [name] in that particular way."
Rather, said Hebb, "It's the middle of winter. It's boring. That's the only reason why I'm doing this ...This is just a fun thing."
However, he admitted, "I was getting a little tired of explaining what Indian Garden Farms meant."
As well, he recalled that last summer that the business had "a couple of inquiries" whether the family is First Nation and why it's using the name. Moreover, he described an incident where one person got into "quite an argument" with him in the farm market.
"I said, 'Look, we're not using it like a sports team, in an offensive way, at all... It's just an old name," recalled Hebb. "I usually have to explain to most everybody why it's Indian Garden Farms," he added.
With winter the usual time to take stock of the previous year's business, and as a direct marketer dealing with customers, Hebb said, "I have to listen to my customers."
His ancestor, Abraham Hebb, built a house on the property in 1856. He began subsistence farming there and selling any extra produce he could.
According to historians, First Nation artefacts and campsites were found on the property when the family started farming there. The farm, which was called Indian Garden Farm, has been passed down from generation to generation. Hebb, his wife Marilyn and their children have since taken over operations.
Hebb went on to explain that the business name the family would prefer "would be fun, it would be self-explanatory - that I don't have to explain to anybody - and more to bring us up-to-speed to modern times."
The family has discussed a possible new name, but since the business sells directly to customers the members determined they want their customers to be involved in the decision regarding a name.
The contest will have two telling components, suggested Hebb, with one of them being what might be a good alternative name.
"The other thing this is going to tell us is do they want us to change it?"
A common suggestion among the comments was to have the family name Hebb in the business name.
Karen Hiltz's comment - "It's always just been Hebb's for us!!" - was echoed by a number of responders.
Hebb pointed out one comment posted early on which read: "'That's an iconic name, why would you change it?'" He maintained that if enough people were to object, "I won't change it."
However, numerous responders have congratulated the family on its decision to consider a change. "I applaud you for making the switch," wrote Janice Brown.
Hebb emphasized that the name change isn't "rubber stamped" at this point. The family wants to take time to hear the various suggestions.
"The whole key to being in business is to listen to your customers. I can't eat all this stuff," said the farmer. "So we're going to listen, we're going to let a couple of weeks go by, and we'll make an announcement."