The city’s Buy Local movement is branching out.Read the full article
The Asheville Grown Business Alliance, a loose group of business owners and residents who want to see independent shops thrive, will celebrate its second anniversary next month. Similar movements in places such as Austin, Texas, and Boulder, Colo., the city that first banded together to support independents in 1999, are much more established. But with more than 200 active businesses and 400 posters with a distinctive red heart logo, the Asheville Grown movement is firmly planted in downtown and beginning to branch out.
As the start of the traditional seasonal shopping season approaches this week, the group has teamed up with dozens of similar organizations across the country to push consumers to spend more of their holiday cash with smaller, local retailers and on locally-manufactured products. It has also partnered with the Asheville City Schools Foundation to launch a loyalty card program early next year targeting independents. Business leaders and city officials are discussing a downtown business improvement district and how that might support locally-grown businesses. And Asheville Grown’s members are looking ahead as the movement matures.
“The direction I would love to see it go is that more and more people get involved,” said Franzi Charen, who has led Asheville Grown since its inception.