Monday, Mar. 28, 2011

The Sears Tower to the Willis Tower

When Willis Group Holdings bought the rights to rebrand Chicago's Sears Tower as the Willis Tower on July 16, 2009, the London-based insurance company had no idea how strongly the Windy City felt about its 110-story icon. To be fair, Sears had not actually occupied the the famous skyscraper for 17 years — but that didn't stop angry residents from protesting the name change. More than 97,000 Facebook users joined the group People Against the Sears Tower Name Change, and thousands more signed the online petition It' Willis executives shouldn't have been surprised by Chicagoans' strong sense of tradition. Residents are still mad at Macy's for changing the name of its local department-store chain from Marshall Fields — a move that happened back in 2006.