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Company is A-okay, but name has trouble

Published Oct. 18, 2005

When Larry Hahn and his two partners chose the name A-1 Aluminum Design Inc. for their Brooksville aluminum home-supplies business, they did so because they thought the name A-1 was familiar and easy to remember. Maybe a bit too familiar, Hahn and his partners found out this week.

After a company called A-1 Aluminum/A-1 Customizers filed for bankruptcy protection and reports of the filing were published in the St. Petersburg Times on Monday and in other publications, Hahn's totally unrelated company was flooded with calls.

"I had people call up and cancel appointments with our salespeople, and one contractor called up to cancel a job," Hahn said.

"Even my mother, who lives in Brookridge, called up and wanted to find out what was going on," he said.

Hahn said that in the Brookridge mobile home subdivision, where A-1 Aluminum Design does 40 percent of its business, someone cut out a copy of the published notice and presented it to the subdivision's board of directors.

"Luckily, I live there, and they knew it wasn't me," Hahn said.

Hahn said he had never heard of the company that went out of business but said that after talking to some aluminum suppliers, he found out that it was a Zephyrhills company that had a license to do business in Brooksville.

According to the Florida Secretary of State's Office, more than 400 companies actively do business with a name that starts with A-1 _ including four that start with the name A-1 Aluminum.

"They do it to be the first in the phone book, so when people look in the book and see them first, that's the first one they call," said Karen Beyer, head of the office's Bureau of Commercial Recording.

"That's the theory, anyway," she said.