The whole buy local idea is something I definitely support. I think of it in a reasonable way in that if it makes sense, is comparable in price and quality, then why not?! I may like Starbucks coffee. So what?! What are you going to do? Crucify me? The whole Local idea in the realm of community politics has many levels. Some ultra local places are locally owned, and only carry locally made products. Then there is the places that are locally owned but sell items sold elsewhere, some in NC, in other States and around the World. Then there are places that are not locally owned and sell items not locally produced. Who is better for the community? You answer that for yourself.
When it comes to the great local unchained independent Asheville Grown and the Big Love Festival, they have included a franchise that is locally owned as one of their networked sponsors. Big Love making a Big Move! Dobra Tea is on the list. Congrats! As many of you know, AskAsheville is all about inclusion and love when regional and national franchises or chains get involved in the local community. For example, places like the 151 Boutique Bar and Red Stag Grill are commonly excluded from organizations like Asheville Independent Restaurants and Asheville Grown because they are located inside a hotel that is part of a franchise or chain.
I keep my ear to the streets as much as possible and interviewed another awesome business that was trying to get involved in the Big Love Festival as a sponsor. Here is their response.
“RelyLocal Asheville is thrilled and amazed to see a locally owned franchise business, Dobra Tea, being allowed to participate and advertise in the Big Love Fest being held by Asheville Grown Business Alliance (See there ad in the Big Love Fest flyer insert in the current Mountain X). I had thought this was a celebration of “Unchained & Independent” Asheville only. It is perplexing to me becuase we generously offered to sponsor the Big Love fest as a main sponsor ($500 or more donation) and provide free advertising and were flatly denied. We are a 100% locally owned business (not even a franchise) that merely has a software license agreement and server hosting from out of area. We at RelyLocal Asheville believe that locally owned independents and locally owned franchises both contribute greatly to the local economy. We are glad to see that Asheville Grown Business Alliance, by their actions, agrees with us finally. Good to have them on board with as we grow the local Asheville Economy and keep more capital working here in our Community.”
What do you think? Are we heading into the era of BIG LOVE, or are we growing more exclusive. Who knows? Who cares?