By Alex Gladu, Writer, Independent We Stand
Located amidst the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, is known for its distinct local charm. It’s a combination of the modern and the historic, and it’s full of endless possibilities for exploring. Asheville Grown, a grassroots organization that supports local businesses, brings all of these qualities together to keep residents falling in love with their town and with its great businesses.
Asheville Grown encourages consumers and business owners to think local first when it comes to shopping, investing or giving back. Its signature program, the Go Local Card, makes it incredibly easy for members to do all three. By enrolling in the program for just $16, consumers are eligible for exclusive discounts at participating local businesses all year long. This year, more than 380 local businesses are participating, giving cardholders discounts on everything from books to sandwiches to massages. The Go Local program also helps connect business owners to local banks and lenders, so they can invest and finance locally.
Proceeds from the sale of the Go Local Card go to local public schools all year long. But during the months of February and March, the local love goes even further. Each year, Asheville Grown selects a group of nonprofits or community organizations to direct proceeds to during these months. Enrollees can choose which group they’d like to support when they purchase their card, or they can choose for their donation to go toward public schools. This year, Asheville Grown has selected eight organizations: FEAST, which teaches people to grow and cook healthy, fresh food; Just Economics, which advocates for a living wage and a just economy throughout western North Carolina; Mountain BizWorks, which offers financing and business consulting for small businesses in the region; the Asheville City Schools Foundation, which advocates for local public schools in the state legislature; Evergreen Charter School, a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade public charter school with an emphasis on the environment; Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County, which encourages children to stay in school and gives them tools to succeed; Homeward Bound, which works to end homelessness in western North Carolina; and the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, an association of Asheville’s local, independently owned restaurants.
Asheville Grown knows that residents love the local flavor and flair of their community. During the months of February and March, the group gives them eight more reasons to put their money where their heart is. For more information on Asheville Grown and the Go Local Card program, visit www.ashevillegrown.com.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering at www.independentwestand.org/membership/. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local and find local businesses in your community at www.independentwestand.org/take-a-stand/join-the-movement/.
About the Author
Alex is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is double-majoring in Public Relations and Spanish. Since becoming a writer for Independent We Stand, she has fully adopted the ‘buy local’ lifestyle. Her favorite indie business is Sugarland, a bakery in Chapel Hill, N.C, where she has been known to go a little cupcake crazy. She hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in nonprofit or political communication.