By Any Other Name...

NEW Englanders, living in their history-steeped region, have a reputation for getting attached to traditions.

Even so, they can be excused for lamenting a spate of recent announcements that several regional companies - long ago merged with or bought out by other firms - are changing their names.

For most of this newspaper's history, starting with Day 1, ads from the Jordan Marsh department stores graced its pages. Soon Jordan Marsh will disappear as its stores change their name to Macy's. The Coffee Connection will become Starbuck's. Boston's Shawmut Bank will lose its identity in Providence's Fleet Bank. (Fleet also gobbled up the failed Bank of New England in the revenge of the Rhode Islanders.)

This kind of thing is happening around the country, of course, as companies restructure and business marches on. In the end, it's service and quality that bring the customers.

Still, it's a bit sad to see the familiar monikers fade away. At least Bay Staters can take solace in the fact that both Macy and Starbuck are old Nantucket names.

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