Readers quickly responded to correspondent Sarah Mansur's article about Johnny's this week. (See story here.) Mansur reported how a local complaint about wine tastings at the popular grocery store-turned community hub, has the town reviewing its rules for alcohol-related events in residential zones. In the story co-manager Meghan Truesdell says they want to make the store on West Main Street "the tiny, little Weaver Street Market on this side of town."
We've already received several letters from Johnny's fans, which we'll begin printing Sunday.
"It would be wrong to let the loud voices of a select few disrupt the happy murmur of a large and engaging community as they enjoy everything that this new Johnny’s has to offer," writes Gabriel Whaley (left), who recounts his first free cookie at Johnny's after a healthy, but not-so-tasty celery juice he bought there.
"Instead of bashing those who have issue with Johnny’s, I encourage those making complaints to actually come and try this new Johnny’s before they so vigorously attempt to tear down the rebuilding and rebranding effort of what may have been a disruptive force in the past, but is now on the straight path to potentially become one of the town’s best and most unique assets."
And here are a few more:
Jacob Yaniero: "A place where farmers bring their produce and dairy products to sell, a place where food trucks are substituted for fast food, and a place where the community comes together for a cup of coffee or to try some wine. Johnny’s is Carrboro. As a resident of this side of town I can attest to what this coffee shop does for the community. Do we really want Food Lion and Arby’s to be the only places on this side of town to shop or eat? I thought that Carrboro was better than that."
Seth LaJeunesse: "The chance encounters I've experienced at Johnny's have rekindled my sense of peace and belonging in Carrboro; unsolicited, several others have shared similar socially affirming experiences. To label Johnny's a "neighborhood disruption" -- by the way, both of Johnny's managers live within a few parcels of the establishment, why would they purposefully "disrupt" their own neighborhood? -- or to suggest that the town commence regulation of occasional wine tastings is to actively suppress Johnny's place-making potential, and ultimately, Carrboro's inherent vitality."
Misha Becker: "I take my kids to Johnny's on Saturday mornings so we can pick up our CSA produce (from Small Potatoes Farm) and get the kids a bagel. It is a wonderful, warm, family-friendly business whose owners and managers care deeply about their community. I did not attend the wine tasting mentioned in the complaint, but I happened upon it when I went over to Johnny's to buy some milk. There were a few cars parked out front but all was quiet on the outside. Inside was a small but vibrant, happy gathering of people. I cannot imagine what harm this event could have possibly caused the community."
Look for the full versions of these letters next week in The Chapel Hill News and share yout thoughts on this and other issues at editor@newsobserver. Thanks for reading the CHN, distributed to 38,000 homes in Orange and northern Chatham counties Wednesdays and Sundays.