Local. What does it mean?
Good morning everyone,
Local. What does that mean? Does is mean I support only one specific “type” of local business? Does it mean I should support only local “family businesses”? Or does it mean that I only support small local businesses within MY town and not the town over? Does it mean it is cool to support a local family farmer but not a local family distributor?
While the heart is in the right place, frankly, I am weary of trying to figure it all out. I believe that as a community we take a lot of pride in supporting our local businesses. It is a part of why I love Nashville and the surrounding cities.
We are a family-owned business that loves this place. We are making a product that we believe in wholeheartedly– that many Nashvillians believe in. But, this morning I have a heavy heart & some things to say. I hope it sparks a conversation. I hope it creates some thought.
A few weeks ago, we left the West Nashville Farmer’s Market. We left without making a big deal or smearing anyone’s name. We didn’t have a plan. And we didn’t know how or where we would be able to sell our product.
When we left corporate America, we did so with the desire to build something peaceful and that would allow us to give something back. We have turned down investor’s dollars many times over – knowing that they could help us grow at an uber-fast pace. We are not crazy – we know by taking the money it would potentially mean fewer hours and eventually mean no stress over money or bills.
But, that is not what drives or motivates us. We are not perfect people – and our customers know we make mistakes. But, we have made a commitment and a promise to our daughter, to each other, and you to give nothing but honesty & integrity.
Do you want the real reason we left the Farmer’s Market?
People that we consider our friends were treated poorly in a public way on Facebook.
No politics. No deep-rooted agenda. That’s it.
This was not a battle for us about “producers only” vs. “resellers”. It was about taking a stand to protect our friends and the true sense of community.
We originally joined the Farmer’s Markets as a way to test our brand & our product. What we did not count on was being welcomed into a tight–knit family of entrepreneurs – farmer’s, bakers & artists of their craft. People that celebrated the news of a baby’s birth and cried together when someone’s loved one passed. People that showed us the best way to set up our tents and give us warm hugs every single time they saw us.
The vendors taught us how to be good to our customers and warned us what mistakes to try and avoid. They taught us how to be proud, genuine and to value the uniqueness that each other’s product offered. They helped create the soul in “juice. Nashville.” But, most important, they showed us that TRUE community was not a place that existed only in the past. It was alive and well in our own town.
This idea of “community” is strong and it is powerful. It means that even if you are similar to me – there is room to support and nurture each other’s growth and progress. But, in a healthy family there has to be a mutual desire for this to happen. If an issue comes up, it is the family’s responsibility to work through the conflict with love and respect. But, this has to be a mutual goal. Each of us has a right to our own perspective and thought. We each have the right to stand up for our own personal beliefs. I believe this is a good thing and ultimately it will allow the idea of community to live on.
We have a beautiful gift here in Nashville. – and when I say “Nashville” I mean “all of us” – Brentwood, Franklin, Green Hills, Murfreesboro, 12 South, West End, East Nashville, Donelson, Hendersonville, Antioch, Spring Hill etc. (You know who you are!)
All things local are amazing and unique. We should be proud of ALL of our small businesses and celebrate when one of our own grows, expands and is able to show the world the potential of this city! The more support we show this idea of community – the better off we will all be. More jobs, more celebrations, more money to fuel our entire local community in Middle Tennessee, our state, and ultimately our country.
I am proud that we are in a place that is gaining worldwide attention. And even more proud that some of these larger businesses in our town (and country!) have started in OUR Farmer’s Markets. I hope that we can focus on what REALLY matters and that the common thread that holds us all together - the desire to make a community that we all can be proud to call “home.”
Sending love to you all and hope to see you all at the Farmer’s Markets this weekend.
All the Best,