Unchain AVL

Asheville has traditionally been a community rich with local business. That trait attracts both locals and tourists to browse the streets of downtown, and venture out to areas like East and West Asheville.

“We are all our own businesses, but there is a deep sense of community,” said Savanna McCarthy, a barista at the Double Decker Bus.

Businesses like the Double Decker, or Vortex Donuts have been founded in Asheville. These local businesses work together by supporting each other, recommending customers, and even doing business, according to Lauren Tanman, an employee at Climbmax Climbing Center. For example, the Double Decker’s coffee comes from Notorious Roasters, a local coffee marker.

“I have already seen that when a customer comes up to me and asks where the best place to get coffee is,” said Tanman, “I’m not going to send them to Starbucks but somewhere local. And then other local businesses have sent them here. I think that’s great.”

Many of these businesses and their customers agree with the idea that chain companies would not give back to the community. Instead, the corporations disrupt the communal, quirky vibe of Asheville that the local business supply. Corporations have their own place and time, but not quite in a downtown location, according to Tanman

“We don’t want it to be you come downtown, and it’s just Starbucks and chains,” said McCarthy, “We still want to keep lovely Asheville.”

This kind of movement to keep Asheville local has been an undercurrent. However, the movement “Unchain Asheville” has recently emerged in the past year. According to Mountain Xpress, the movement started as a response to the Anthropologie that was built downtown last November. Now posters saying “UNchain AVL” cover windows of various businesses, who support the campaign. 

“Unchain Asheville is keeping chain restaurants out, keeping local businesses thriving,” said McCarthy.