Enter Whole Foods, but the French Broad Food Co-op is, was and will be locally owned

We at the French Broad Food Co-op hear the concern of Ashevilleans regarding the loss of a local natural food retailer to Whole Foods.

Apparently, supporting a locally owned business, our vibrant community and, more importantly, our local food producers, touches close to the heart of our community. We recognize this and are proud to be 100 percent locally owned by nearly 1,000 community members. FBFC has been a community-owned and cooperatively governed natural-foods grocery store and health resource since 1975. We've hosted the Wednesday Co-op Tailgate Market for the past 10 years and we have four other locally owned businesses as tenants as well — Build It Naturally, the Recyclery, Joyner's BMW shop, and the Movement and Learning Center.

At FBFC, we believe that the strengths of our small store are not only better customer service and dedication to creating community in Asheville, but also [stem from] our focus on supporting local farmers, food producers and artisans etc. by carrying as many of their products as we can. We're so proud to be surrounded by such amazing local business in downtown Asheville, and we're a grassroots supporter of the "Asheville Grown, Buy Local" movement. By encouraging our community to "Buy Local," we ensure that 70 cents of each dollar spent here stays right here in Asheville — and doesn't flitter away to some unknown shareholder (Source: American Independent Business Alliance).

Thank you for your continued support of your store and your local farmers and your local producers. Everyone's welcome to shop at the French Broad Food Co-op. Stop in and see your friends and neighbors —they work here, shop here and, well, they own the place!

— Kelly Fain, marketing manager
Steve Watts, general manager

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6 thoughts on “Enter Whole Foods, but the French Broad Food Co-op is, was and will be locally owned

  1. Kriss

    Steve, do you remember about 3 years ago I spoke to you on the phone after having been in FBFC earlier that day with my wife and having been told by FBFC employees that I was not allowed in the store while barefoot? And you told me that what I’d been told was in error, and that I (and presumably any other customer) was welcome to shop in your store anytime regardless of what I may or may not be wearing on my feet. I had planned to stop back in sometime to meet you, but at the time I was living in 2 states, and soon thereafter had to go back to the other state for a while. So even though I’m now permanently here in WNC, unfortunately I’ve never had the opportunity to go back into FBFC.

    So now with the advent of outsider corporate giant Whole Foods coming into our area, I see a new importance and emphasis on supporting our local businesses, especially businesses that treat customers with dignity and respect, regardless of their choice of attire. And based on what I’ve been told by friends living in other parts of the country, Whole Foods does not fit that description.

    Thanks very much to you and Kelly for the letter and for reminding us that your store is still there and still more local and supportive of WNC interests in all respects than any large chain based in Texas could ever be.

  2. Shannon

    I’d like to thank French Broad Food Co-op for their undying support of all things local and sustainable in our community. The Co-op is a great resource for health and wellness and they have the best bulk foods (grains, herbs,spices, teas) in our region hands-down! Knowledgeable staff, home to the recyclery, and local as it gets! Proud to be an owner of this democratically-controlled business.

  3. invisiblefriend

    I like their bulk stuff too. Ive noticed that most of the other stores that sell bulk stuff have not been consistant. A few of my staples have evidently become so popular that all of a sudden they quit selling them in bulk and I noticed them in little bags in the isles, where they had never been before by some company for triple the cost. FBCO has had the same stuff for years. I was worried that greenlife would take business away from them and they would go under when greenlife opened. But because of who they are, what thy represent, and the quality of products, they are still there and always will be if theve made it this long. Thanks FBCO.

  4. moveorlose

    LOCAL MATTERS. We’re in a transitional era, where many are realizing and pushing for local economies, while others still stick to what is cheapest, fastest, easiest. I hope the co-op can focus more on educating the community of Asheville about the importance of local foods and local ownership. Who else is going to? I won’t ever buy Whole Foods’ 365 brand; it is made in China, and the $ price might be cheap but the worldly cost is very expensive. No matter how many fancy ads they make, no matter how many PR people they put on this… I’M NOT BUYING ANY OF IT. Good luck, co-op! Grab the reigns!

  5. moveorlose

    LOCAL MATTERS. We’re in a transitional era, where many are realizing and pushing for local economies, while others still stick to what is cheapest, fastest, easiest. I hope the co-op can focus more on educating the community of Asheville about the importance of local foods and local ownership. Who else is going to? I won’t ever buy Whole Foods’ 365 brand; it is made in China, and the $ price might be cheap but the worldly cost is very expensive. No matter how many fancy ads they make, no matter how many PR people they put on this… I’M NOT BUYING ANY OF IT. Good luck, co-op! Grab the reigns!

  6. travelah

    Whole Foods is a great retailer ….. It is wonderful to see them coming to the Asheville area.

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