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Put Your Initials Here

November 02, 1987

J. W. Robinson Co. has decided it can do without the J. W.--at least in its advertising and its signs for the big department store chain.

The change follows by a year a decision to play up the initials--which belonged to store founder Joseph Winchester Robinson. "We've decided to capitalize on our heritage," a spokeswoman explained in the summer of 1986.

At the time, the store was undergoing an image change under the tenure of former company President Tom L. Roach. Since then, Robinson's has been acquired by May Department Stores, and Roach resigned in January. Now his successor, Robert L. Mettler, has another approach. "Most people call us Robinson's," Mettler said. "We think it's probably more apropos that we go by that name."

A Pint-Size Brut

Napa Valley's Domaine Chandon is thinking small: distributing its premium champagne in single-serving sizes for sale in the self-service "mini-bars" proliferating in hotel and motel rooms across the country. It is, the French-owned company insists, the United States' first classically made sparkling wine to appear in 187-milliliter bottles--about a glass and a half.

The bubbly is made the same way as is French Champagne, then downsized under pressure in the quarter bottles. It wholesales for $2.50. These "little guys," as spokesman Michaela K. Rodeno calls them, come with unromantic screw caps with tops covered in foil to resemble a wired-down champagne cork.

Lowdown on Logos

Crocker National Bank has been gone for over a year. So, why does the 54-story office tower at 333 S. Grand Ave. still bear those two Crocker logos?

Wells Fargo, which bought Crocker and its share of the downtown Los Angeles building, had promised to obliterate the Crocker Center name and replace the high-flying logos by Nov. 1.

But here we are today with neither, even though 200 signs are being affixed to various points around the lower reaches attesting to building's new name, Wells Fargo Center.

The famous Wells Fargo stagecoach atop the bank's former Southern California headquarters at 444 S. Flower St. is too passe for the bank. Yet its new logo of a stagecoach complete with horses is too long for the space. And Wells Fargo's alternative of placing its name up there in big gold letters ran afoul of the Community Redevelopment Agency, which favors logos.

Anyway, red granite slabs from Finland that will replace panels bearing the Crocker logo are still being polished in Italy and may not be here for months. So the decision on what will actually go up there, and when, remains, ahem, up in the air.

Foaming at the Waist

For the past year and a half, Coors has been shipping pounds and pounds of leftover or "waste" beer from its lush home in Golden, Colo., to the desert town of Inyokern, east of Bakersfield--not to slake the thirst of some prospector but to become part of some new products from inventor Hana Claus.

The 56-year-old pharmaceutical chemist says he has found a way to convert some of the foaming and frothing characteristics of beer to industrial uses in products that can resist heat and shock.

One product he foresees may be a wall coating that expands upon application. Another, product already being marketed by his Beer Foam Products company is a "beer-skin" belt made of a synthetic material similar to Naugahyde. "This way you can have a belt of beer without drinking it," he said. The world of high fashion is not beating a path to his door.

All Shook Up

Want a memento of last month's earthquake? Well, the 6.1 quake--and a day's worth of aftershocks--are on sale for $1 at the Griffith Park Observatory. The observatory has sold nearly 500, three-foot-long photocopies of the squiggly black lines recorded by its seismograph during the quake and aftershocks. "It looks like people have been scribbling all over the thing," said observatory director E. C. Krupp. "But to the average person, this is the earthquake."

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