ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The favorite consignment shop of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, has been forced to change its name after she brought the trendy, upscale Anchorage boutique unintended legal problems during last year's presidential campaign.
Out of the Closet owner Ellen Arvold said she was served a cease-and-desist letter by a Los Angeles-based chain of thrift stores with the same name — same trademarked name, it turned out — after Palin mentioned her store in an interview.
Rather than fight, Arvold agreed to change the name to Second Run. The change is effective Saturday, the store's fifth anniversary.
"We don't have the resources to fight," Arvold said. "We just decided to change the name. We really had no choice legally."
Palin came under heat as John McCain's running mate when it was disclosed the Republican National Committee spent $150,000 to outfit the Alaska governor and her family during the presidential campaign.
Palin said the clothes were neither her idea, nor her property, in several interviews.
"If people knew how Todd and I and our kids shop so frugally. My favorite shop is a consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska, called Out of the Closet. And my shoe store is called Shoe Fly in Juneau, Alaska. ... It's not, you know, Fifth Avenue-type of shopping," Palin told Fox News in an October interview.
Arvold said Palin was last in the store a few days before McCain made her his surprise pick for vice president in late August.
"She bought quite a few things, and we really haven't seen her since," Arvold said.
However, Palin did send Arvold a photograph from the campaign trail, showing her wearing a pink Dolce & Gabbana jacket she bought at the store.
Included was a note that "thanked us for the clothes, and apologized for all the flak we took, so that was really thoughtful of her," Arvold said.
If it weren't for Palin, the duplicative name "wouldn't have landed on the radar," said Ged Kenslea, spokesman for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the owner and operator of the Out of the Closet thrift store chain.
It has more than 20 stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Florida, and they raise money for AIDS care, treatment, prevention programs and free HIV testing.
"We've invested a lot of time, energy and money or resources branding Out of the Closet, tied specifically to our HIV/AIDS mission to provide care and advocacy regardless of a patient's ability to pay," Kenslea said. "She was very gracious and agreed to change the name of her store."
As for Palin's high priced wardrobe, the Republican National Committee has said it would be donated to charity. Neither Palin nor RNC officials immediately responded to interview requests on Friday.
If the campaign duds haven't been distributed yet, Kenslea knows of a good home.
"We would be a worthy charity, willing, ready and able to take the donation of the RNC's wardrobe, the Palin wardrobe," he said. "We'd be happy to take that as a charitable contribution."