Dig Local Asheville, NC

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Dig Local Update 6/4/20 - Black Lives Matter, Cultivated Cocktails Adjusts and Free Curbside Meals

There is no doubt that there is unrest in Asheville, but what can't be denied is the spirit of the city. We have heard multiple local businesses express the same sentiment as they work to sweep up broken glass, "this business is not my life. The windows can be replaced. Lives lost to violence cannot. We stand with the peaceful protesters." We've heard other stories about Ashevillians standing strong together in support of racial equity and ending the long history of violence and discrimination against our black and brown neighbors.
- Ted and Flori Pate, Dig Local

The Spirit of Asheville Cannot be Denied

Photo: (left) Black Lives Matter protestors in downtown Asheville. (right) Black Lives Matter plywood mural by Ian Wilkinson covering the shattered glass of Hazel Twenty.
Photo left, Ted Pate, Dig Local. Photo right, Taggart Houck, WYFF News 4

“This man that I have never met before is my hero not because he ‘saved’ my store, but for standing up for what’s right,” explains Hazel Twenty and Masie Twenty Kids Boutique owner, Lexi Tourtellotte DiYeso. For DiYeso, this hero came in the form of a man on a bike. 

While at home, DiYeso watched the security cameras in shock as she witnessed the windows of her Patton Avenue shop get smashed. But what was even more shocking was seeing an unfamiliar man stationed outside of her store while the windows continued to get broken. According to DiYeso, “he was continually hit by things being thrown at my store… [I was] unable to go help or tell him that his safety was more important than the things in my store.” He stood there like a security guard quietly protecting the shop of someone unfamiliar to him, as well. He did this for hours much like the peaceful protesters are doing on the front lines in an effort to get their voices heard and force change.

Over the course of the weekend, riots and protests have erupted on a national scale to advocate for racial equality. Asheville is no different in this, as city officials prepare for more protests throughout the week. The four officers involved in George Floyd’s murder have all been fired, and Chauvin has been criminally charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other police officers involved will be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Protests began on May 31st organized at the Vance Monument in the heart of downtown and proceeded to march through the streets calling for justice and change to occur. City leadership has released statements on the protests and ways that Asheville can move forward as a city, condemning police brutality. Chief Zack reportedly aims to be transparent and continue efforts to repair damaged relationships with the Black community in Asheville. He also noted that he is planning a potential revamp of the department's Use of Force Policy as well as some major changes for the APD.

As Tuesday evening has now come and gone, protestors and businesses took the bulk of the damage. Protestors were met with tear gas and rubber bullets after breaking the newly instated curfew, and businesses like DiYeso’s took a hit as well. The security cameras of her store showed her hero, at times being the lone protector, standing guard and doing what he could to prevent further damages. Chris’s actions led other protestors to stand alongside him, equally doing what they could to protect her store as well as other businesses. 

After the night drew to a close and police began their sweep of the streets to encourage those breaking curfew to head home, Chris headed home too. On his way out is where he met another local hero, Evar Hecht of Paul Taylor Sandals. In this amazing act of solidarity shared within the community members of Asheville, Chris and Evar teamed up using the plywood Evar had with him to board up the damaged storefront as well as Union Asheville’s at around 2am 

By 6am this morning, DiYeso arrived at her store and was greeted within the hour by 6 people who showed up with supplies ready to help clear the glass from the store and surrounding sidewalks. Shortly after, another crew came and started on the graffiti removal. “I  was loaned a shop vac, brought lunch from Manicomio by Jake Buckley, a neighbor in the Kress building, and someone anonymously dropped off a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts,” says DiYeso. After all was said and done, dozens of people were still stopping by to show support and offer a helping hand. This type of selfless giving of time and means is what the community in Asheville thrives off of. DiYeso’s employee, Sharon Findlay, and local artist, Ian the Painter, teamed up to create some beautiful and inspiring art on the now boarded-up windows. The mural, now complete on the storefront, “expertly expresses our feelings of community, connectedness, and raw humanity,” according to DiYeso. 

“I believe in the power of our community.  We are Asheville strong. This is how we support each other and lead by example.” While this is an ongoing situation, we hope that you all will be safe and diligent while doing what you can. We also encourage you to keep updated through the Dig Local app of how local businesses are adjusting on a daily basis.

See How Cultivated Cocktails has Adapted to COVID in the Latest #digAVL Video 

A series on how local businesses are adjusting to the COVID-19 crisis

Leah Howard, co-founder and brand manager of Cultivated Cocktails, tells us about how her family business has pivoted to manufactured hand sanitizer for the community as well as cocktail boxes to-go.
While we've all had to adjust to the "new normal" (whatever that is), our local business owners and managers each have their own story to tell about how they've been affected and what they are doing during these unprecedented times. Dig Local is proud to partner with our friend, Ann Smith, at Leap Frog Tours to interview some of the folks who make Asheville, Asheville.

 Dig Local Playlist on Spotify 

Five More Local Tunes Have Been Added.

One of the five new songs added this week is
"Give Me a Likeness" by Carly Taich.

"Carly Taich’s latest album, Reverie, is regarded by Blurt Magazine as 'a start-to-finish, no-filler/all-killer gem—a veritable calling card to greatness if enough ears find it.' In a few short years, the North Carolina songwriter has won multiple awards and performed in some of the area’s favorite festivals, from LEAF to Bonnaroo.

Carly’s clever lyrics are framed by golden musical arrangements, swooning violins and barbershop harmonies that take us back to some other era, or dimension. There is a cinematic mysticism to all she produces with one foot planted firmly in this reality. The paradox between honesty and fantasy, modern utilities and supernatural phenomena, leaves listeners wondering if Taich is inviting them into a dream, or attempting to wake them up.

Holding a magnifying glass to her own soul before turning it on others, Carly has an unexpected, laissez-faire way of tackling the human experience with humor and grace as if to always be whispering to her audience, 'You are not alone...'

And everyone’s invited to answer."

Listen to her song Give Me a Likeness on our playlist.

Other songs that we've added this week are:

 Check out our playlist on Spotify
and tell us which local artist you dig the most

Two Curbside Drive-Thrus
This Saturday, June 9!

Please join Food Connection and Red Wing Enterprises for the final weekly Meals and Music featuring meals by Katie Button Restaurant Group and sounds by Taishan of the Asheville Movement Collective. This meal will be from noon to 2pm at the First Baptist Church parking lot downtown Asheville. (Note: Meals and Music may become a monthly meal so stay tuned!)

The Swannanoa Valley Complimentary Meal Drive-Thru will be from 3pm to 4pm this week at 204 Whitson Rd. Good news! It will continue through summer, but distribution time will change to 11am to 12pm. This meal will also feature Katie and crews delicious meals! 

These meals are open to anyone who may need a free meal about now. Please join us! Our deepest gratitude to Wicked Weed Brewing for providing THOUSANDS of meals for these two sites over the past two months.

Look out for an exciting announcement about a new partnership coming soon!
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Keep the Asheville Vibe Alive and ...
Download the Dig Local App to see lists of who's doing curbside service, beer delivery, free meals for kids and more and keep up with your favorite places as they slowly begin opening with daily Dig Local updates. Be safe out there and take time to LISTEN to each other.
Keep digging local!