Chained to downtown?

Candidates and elected officials who would bar chain stores from Asheville are endangering the revitalization process downtown. Local retailers would benefit from the shoppers brought to downtown by chain advertising that [local stores] cannot afford. Every successful retail project in the country has a mix of local and chain merchants; the alternative is worse.

We saw the same debate take place [regarding] Lincoln Road in Miami Beach: “Keep out the evil chains, who destroy local retailers.” Well, we were a local retailer on Lincoln Road that did not see success until the chains came in. Sure, some locals who could not make it were replaced by nationals, but now there is a healthy mix of both doing very well, thank you.

The constitutional equal-protection issue of treating chain stores differently than nonchains is another problem. By all means, every retailer must meet building codes, size and signage requirements; chains can modify their branding needs to comply.

Finally, I wonder how many of the people who think downtown Asheville is too good for chain stores shop at the Asheville Mall?

— Howard Talesnick

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2 thoughts on “Chained to downtown?

  1. chuck

    The “revitalization of downtown”?
    Sir, your Floridian roots (I still dont understand why people admit to this as if it helps their argument) show your apparent lack of understanding of recent asheville history.
    I would say the current downtown Asheville is far more successful than any downtown asheville of the last 30 years. And with new businesses opening all the time, iI am confused at how someone could claim the downtown area needs ‘revitalization’.
    We already have more coffee shops and sushi bars than we need. Is a wal-mart going to help them attract more business?
    When will the downtown be successfully ‘revitalized’ in your (floridian) opinion?

  2. Derek Weekley

    Mr. Talesnick,

    What you and many Floridian’s (feel free to insert any other region or state) need to understand is that most of us do not want it the way it is where you are from. Please notice we are not moving to your area, you are moving here. One would presume that you have chose to do so because you enjoy Asheville. If the idea that you want to be here just so you can make it like “old home” is your intent, or the intent of anyone moving here, then don’t. Moving here to work, contribuite to the culture & ecomomy, and enjoying Asheville for what it has, not what you may think it “needs” is the reason for being here. Having grown up just outside of Asheville, visiting here in my youth and having lived here for 16 years, I can only compare your calus intent to that of locust. If life was so great in Miami, why did you move here? Please understand, I’m an avid proponent of growth (sustainable, smart growth) because it‘s part of my business, however, there is a place for everything, and it seems that the “chain stores” in the mall that you refer to, seem quite suited where they are. As I remember, Miami is quite nice this time of year. Maybe a revisit is in order.

    Derek S. Weekley

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