The full story about the benches

After reading the article [“Benched,” July 28 Xpress] and all the comments [online], I felt that there were a few things that needed to be said. The benches have been gone for over three months now, so it is weird to hear all the noise now. The smoking that was affecting our customers was the issue. In the beginning, we did ask some folks to stop smoking, but they didn’t. The building management was also not happy with all the smoking in front of their entrance, so it was a joint decision. The city does not allow any smoking in all public areas, yet there are some that think it should be tolerated by a restaurant around customers that are offended.

We understand that these folks need a place to sit, and there are benches in front of the Civic Center and on the side of the building. Also, I heard that they are working on creating a sitting area behind the building. Back when we first removed the benches, we had quite a few residents come in and thank us, because some of the crowd [the benches] attracted “scared” them. There have also been many people that have asked us if it OK to wait for the bus or take a break on our chairs and we have never said no.

We seem to be getting a lot of negative remarks for other bench removals that have happened in the past, which have nothing to do with us. So before you make your decision on how to react to this story, please get all the facts, not just something Mountain Xpress decided to portray. Remember: We are a hard working, locally owned and operated business which provided jobs to six previously unemployed Asheville residents.

So either way you react, someone will be affected. We are very aware of our community, and it is impossible to make everyone happy, but we will do our best.

— Roman Braverman
Roman’s Takeout
Asheville

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9 thoughts on “The full story about the benches

  1. Carrie

    Thank You, Roman for clarifying. I will continue to buy meat/sandwiches from you because they are awesome!! I know you will be a staple in the Asheville community.

    Yummy!!

  2. Barry Summers

    Sorry you stepped into a sensitive subject. The more local, family owned, non-chain, fresh food outlets the better. Good luck to you and welcome to Asheville.

  3. Josh

    I am a bit confused as I went back to re-read the previous story posted in the Mountain Xpress on 7-28 and it appeared to me as if you were claiming the benches were removed by the bldg management and not by you.

    Now however, it would appear you are saying it was your decision.

    I would also like to point out that you stated in your editorial, “The city does not allow smoking in any public place.” This is not a true statement as the city does not have the authority to ban smoking from all public areas. Sidewalks are public property and the state will not allow local government to enforce laws like smoking on city sidewalks.

    Just my 2 cents on the matter.

  4. Dionysis

    “…you were claiming the benches were removed by the bldg management and not by you.

    Now however, it would appear you are saying it was your decision”

    Actually, it reads:

    “The building management was also not happy with all the smoking in front of their entrance, so it was a joint decision.”

  5. TokyoTaos

    Actually the original article quotes Roman as saying, “Building management wanted the benches gone, because they felt it was just a bad crowd of people hanging out there.” And then it goes on to say, “But building manager Flora Marr tells a somewhat different story, saying, “We’ve leased that spot to the tenant, and they decided to remove the bench.” You can read it at http://www.mountainx.com/news/2010/072810benched
    I don’t want to split hairs but the impression I came away with from the original article was that Roman was trying to put the onus on the buildings’s management and vice versa – this might have been the fault of the quotes used or the way the article was written but I think that impression certainly added to the ire.

  6. Benches have been getting moved ever since downtown began growing in popularity. If a business owner didn’t like the bench near its business, soon the bench was gone. And it wasn’t because some tired tourist had sat down for a gander at our lovely town. It was because those who sat on the benches were considered to certain unwanted types by the businesses and other powers that be that want to portray Asheville as the perfect boutique town. I could name the benches, but what’s the point? The outcome has always been the same. They are out of there.

  7. Dionysis

    “the impression I came away with from the original article was that Roman was trying to put the onus on the buildings’s management and vice versa – this might have been the fault of the quotes used or the way the article was written but I think that impression certainly added to the ire.”

    Very good point.

  8. RavensFire

    The Bottom Line is that there are a lot of bums in asheville. Bums are lazy and in my opinion should be removed from society. Just like the big waste of oxygen Papa Earl who sits in front of Doc Cheys, that bum puts in at least 30 hours a week getting free money from ignorant passerbys.
    I am a Veteran, my wife and father are Disabled veterans, the va takes care of you. He and other bums should be exiled. The benches were removed for good reason, regardless of who made the final decision. Lets clean up the waste of our society, and make Asheville a clean place to enjoy. By the way, I am a real native.

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