Yay, we get to pollute ourselves with yet another store pretending to be cool and progressive
So everyone who trumpeted loudly to get a Trader Joe's in Asheville can be happy now, but here comes a "hip" but still corporate chain that forces three local independent businesses to close up shop, two of which are minority owned (La Carreta's & NY Fashions). Pre-existing buildings will be demolished to accommodate the new entity on already crowded Merrimon Avenue. The convenience of exotic brands at bargain prices for what social cost? If this company was as truly progressive as it claims to be, it couldn't smugly plant itself down and swing the doors open at the cost of disenfranchising entrepreneurs that fought tough economies to keep their independent businesses afloat. While this will create some temporary construction and longer term retail jobs, the longer term impact will be that of a city that sells its soul to sell more swank.
Follow up thought: I so wish there was an alternate universe in which all the Trader-Joesites were Long Shoal'd and Merrimon were un-Teetered, but it looks as if we're watching a logjam in slow motion as Merrimon becomes swollen with legions of well-intentioned foodies flocking to the new foraging grounds. The problem is, two years down the line when all this is said and done, the businesses that for over a decade that have successfully maintained in that area will be dim memories, and the conscience issue will be moot. City Council will be immersed in some boondoggle related to the infrastructural challenges that will no doubt be a consequence of the rush to develop an area that is so congested that it will require a miracle of physics and flying cars to relieve. Yes, there are some vacant lots in that area... but where has the passion gone for affordable housing? Does all this new hubbub follow the UDO? There's so much that seems to have been overlooked and slipped under, and it's sad. The very folks who clamor to project their love for Asheville culture (in city and county government) are burying it in order to appease the larger operations at work- all that which lies at opposition to the Farmer's and tailgate markets, and conveniently waits eager shoppers in Aisle 12.
Update to the conversation: Here's folks that built their independent enterprises from the ground up and they're being steamrolled, for what? "Two Buck Chuck?" Please. When convenience trumps the hard work of many who don't rely on a corporate system to make the business for them, I question the values of a society clamoring for the enticements chains like Trader Joe's offers... when there's amazing quality to be found in the tailgate and farmer's markets all around WNC.
filed under: the asheville scene blogged: 22.12 Tue, 10 Jul '12