History of Wheatsville Co-op A Community Grocery Store * Austin Chronicle Reader’s Poll
The Statistics Shopping & Food in Travel: Complementary Travel Elements to Major Tourist Activities TEXAS’ TOP TEN ACTIVITIES FOR OUT OF STATE TOURISTS Activity % Participation Dining 29% Shopping 28 Sightseeing 26 General entertainment 20 Visiting historic site 9 Visiting national/state park 8 Visiting theme/amusement park 8 Watching sporting event 7 Visiting art or museum exhibit 7 Participating in nightlife 7 Source: Office of the Governor 2007 MOST POPULAR ATTRACTIONS OUT OF STATE TOURISTS IN 2005 Rank Attraction 1 Alamo 2 (River Walk) Paseo del Rio 3 San Marcos Outlet Malls 4 SeaWorld of Texas 5 Six Flags Over Texas 6 State Capitol 7 South Padre Island 8 Padre Island Nat. Seashore 9 Moody Gardens 10 Houston Space Center Source: Office of the Governor 2007
Gastronomic tourism As markers of people and place, regional specialties and food products become vehicles for a closer understanding of culture (López 2006, 166). Shopping tourism Far from the utilitarian provision of necessary products while traveling, shopping has become a major travel activity, even the motivation for travel itself (Tosun 2007, 87). Alternative tourism paradigm Renewed interest in culture creates trends that assign symbolic and monetary values to cultural elements (López 2006, 166). Travelers seeking participatory touristic experiences can “consume” culture both literally and figuratively. Gastronomic & Shopping Tourism: The New Alternative Tourism Paradigm
• Modern consumer culture saturated with commodity signals.
• Retail trends encourage shopping as a means to “collect signs and images of many cultures (Lash and Urry1994, 272).”
“ MacDonaldization” backlash
• Increased standardization and homogeneity/U.S. Imperialism generates longing for the unique and authentic (López 2006, 168).
• Globalization a “contested process” (Murdoch 110).
Effects of Globalization: Generation of the Alternative Tourism Paradigm
The Rising Appeal of Embeddedness: An Alternative Geography of Food Factors generating ‘placeless’ food • Agricultural industrialization. • Intensified processing & broadened distribution. • Increased liberalization in international trade (Parrott et al. 2002, 241). • Rising concerns about food safety and nutrition (Murdoch et al. 2000, 107) increase anxiety over placelessness Counter-movement seeking embeddedness • Consumers increasingly seek local and traditional culinary alternatives , newly appreciated for their perceived authenticity .
• Supports local farmers and sustainable farming practices
• Reduces fuel consumption, pollution, and traffic
Additional environmental stewardship
• Discounts for bulk purchases and container reuse
• On-site recycling: packaging, food, even clothing
• Bicycle transportation
• Support of local environmental organizations
Ecological Embeddedness: Textual Representations “ The mission of Wheatsville Co-op is to serve a broad range of people by providing them goods and services, using efficient methods that avoid manipulation of the consumers and minimize exploitation of the producers or damage to the environment (Wheatsville Co-op 2007).”
Economic Embeddedness: Austin Money Built with local finances 1976 ZZ Top concert fundraiser: $5,000 raised 2006 renovation funds from members: $750,000 raised Profits return to Austin community • Patronage rebates checks Written to 1,500 members in 2006 • Donations to local charities Over $11,000 in 2006; 4.6% of net income! Member of Austin Independent Business Alliance • Guadalupe IBIZ district events • Promotes patronage of local businesses beyond the Co-op Source: Wheatsville 2006 Annual Report
Economic Embeddedness: Textual Representations “… my investment in Wheatsville is only backed by some big vegan guy. But if I invested in T-Bills then the U.S. government would use that money to kill a lot of people….Wheatsville kills far fewer people than that.” –Bluejay, Wheatsville Cultivator Source: Wheatsville Breeze February 2006
Cultural Embeddedness: Austin Weird Co-op products and politics shaped by members • Emphatically non-doctrinaire, inclusive & democratic • Members vote on banned products, charity donations • Anyone can join, non-members welcome “ Austin-weird” aesthetic represented in inventory, people & co-op events • Eccentric products • Prepared foods combine Southern cooking, Tex-Mex, and international cuisines • Diverse staff and customers • Seasonal festivals and monthly Third Thursday events involve local artists and musicians
Cultural Embeddedness: Textual Representations “… Wheatsville is so much more than a store -- it's also a community center, live music venue, and frequent fairground.” – Austin Chronicle Source: Austin Chronicle 2003
Cultural Embeddedness: Textual Representations Source: Goldstein 2006 “… where the hemp meets the hot sauce.” – Fearless Critic
Ecological Sustainable relationship with local farmers
Economic AIBA Guadalupe IBIZ District, UFCU
Cultural “…where the hemp meets the hot sauce!”
A myriad of texts reinforce imagery of embeddedness for Wheatsville and make a strong case for authenticity. In light of the new Alternative Tourism Paradigm, Wheatsville should be considered an excellent Austin tourist destination.
Aust-thentic as it gets! “ Take yourself on down to the place that screams "old Austin" from atop its neon corner sign and Arleen Polite mural, the place that still says "Hello" when you walk in and "Have a great day!" without a hint of irony or sarcasm on your way out, the place that will load up Oreos™, Mexican Cokes, spirulina, and groats (again, no hint of irony!) and give you a member discount to boot, all in one recyclable bag.” Source: Austin Chronicle 2003
Will the neon be retained in renovation? The Future of Embeddedness
BEHIND THE SCENES BONUS MATERIAL: Em- dread edness?
BEHIND THE SCENES BONUS MATERIAL: The back-store & a 4lb Frito Pie!