Carlye Gates of the Asheville City School Foundation goes local. A portion of the cost of each card benefits the educational program. photo by Max Cooper
This year, Shift Your Shopping (http://shiftyourshopping.org), a campaign that represents more than 38,000 businesses across the U.S. and Canada and encourages support of local merchants, selected Asheville Grown Business Alliance as an indie business champion to spotlight. Which is cool and all, but what’s really exciting is how Asheville Grown (a collective of local, independent businesses) has, well, grown.
“We have 360 businesses signed on and some incredible deals,” says Franzi Charen, director of Asheville Grown. “Last year there were only 120 businesses — so we've tripled the number!”
When she says “incredible deals,” she’s talking about the discounts and benefits offered to those who join forces with the business alliance by purchasing a Go Local card. Think of it as an annual membership to a local-only shopping club. Card holders are eligible for deals from the all around Asheville (north, south, east, west and downtown) as well as from regional service providers like Anything But Alligators! Dog Walking and Pet Sitting; The Dirty Hoe Landscaping, Inc.; and Wingbean food-delivery service. And there are online-only bargains as well.
“Check out the super swanky, searchable directory online,” says Charen. You’ll find this sort of steal: a free small popcorn or soda with a movie ticket purchase at Fine Arts Theatre; a free rabies vaccine or nail trim for your pet at Cedar Ridge Animal Hospital and Mobile Equine Services; and 10 percent off any service at The Blue Ribbon.
A card with that sort of power makes for a pretty awesome holiday gift for your favorite local shopper. Kind of like the gift that keeps on giving — and not just to the card holder, but to the local economy as well. Find the directory and purchase cards ($15) at http://ashevillegrown.com/go-local-card. Xpress publishes a full Asheville Grown Go Local guide in the Dec. 12 issue.