Branding — as marketing mavens will tell you (for a fee) — is everything.
According to Metro Councilwoman Jacobia Dowell, ZIP code 37013 has a branding problem.
Those sticklers at the United States Postal Service deem every address in the ’013 as Antioch and Dowell notes not everything southeast of Harding Place is Antioch.
There’s Priest Lake and Baker Town and Una and Nashboro Village and somewhere called, rather ominously, “The Country.”
Just a few years back, one little corner of Antioch — actual Antioch this time, not just Post Office Antioch — changed its name to Cane Ridge, the residents stubbornly insisting it had been Cane Ridge all along and they were just embracing their roots.
Dowell isn’t proposing something so drastic as creating a new identity by repurposing a centuries-old name. She just wants the whole shebang to be called “Nashville” (without the scare quotes).
Dowell says people who send mail — NES, credit card companies, your great aunt — get the wrong idea when they have to address an envelope and scrawl “Antioch, TN” along the bottom.
Long-time resident Betty Waldron told WSMV she gets some weird looks after telling people where she lives.
“I’ve had people say, ‘Oh, you live there?’ Well, where we live is just fine. It’s just the little bit,” she said.
Maybe if 37013 were lumped in with the mass of other ZIP codes which get to use the name Nashville, the reputation of that “little bit” will get dissipated.
But is there any chance people will just stop referring to that nebulous southeast corner of the county as anything but Antioch? Despite the best efforts of real estate agents, no one is calling the north side of Charlotte “Historic West Town” when “The Nations” works just fine.
Antioch as a descriptive isn’t going to disappear just because the prescriptivists deem it Nashville.
Plus, the ultimate call isn’t with us lowly folks anyway. It comes from on high, from the Postmaster General. And the USPS isn’t always so hot on changing ZIP code names, putting the burden on locals to prove a “dire need.”
There’s no telling if the winning argument “people talk bad about Antioch so let us just be Nashville?” meets that exacting standard.