"'The number 99 is a magic number -- deviating from that is something we absolutely are not taking lightly,' said Jeff Gold, who began working for the company when he was 14. 'I find significant discomfort emotionally about considering making the change.'
He added that the company hadn't decided whether to change its name if prices were raised. But other discount chains have weathered price increases without adopting new names.
When Motel 6 opened in 1962, it cost $6 to rent a room for a night. Today, rooms start at $29.99, but the company has stuck with its easy-to-recognize name.
'People get used to it,' said Laura Rojo-Eddy, a spokeswoman for Motel 6, which has more than 900 locations. 'Even though the price is no longer $6, we've maintained the positioning of the brand, which is to have the lowest price of any national chain.'
For DJ Thergood, who was picking up snack items at a 99 Cents Only in Silver Lake recently, the retailer's potential price increase 'always seemed like it was inevitable.'
Still, you know the economy is hurting 'when things at the 99-cent store cost $2,' said Thergood, 32, an Echo Park artist."