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  1. 1. In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket. -Allen Ginsberg "A Supermarket in California"1955
  2. 2. Embedded Neon: Imaging Authenticity in a Local Supermarket
    • Wheatsville Co-op
    • Austin, Texas
    Amenity Applewhite GRG 374 Spring 2007
  3. 3. Embedded Neon: Imaging Authenticity in a Local Supermarket
    • History of Wheatsville Co-op
    • A Community Grocery Store
    • Existing Research on Shopping & Food Travel
    • Rise of Alternative Tourismand Effects of Globalization
    • Spatial Embeddedness & Its Textual Images
    • Situational
    • Ecological
    • Economic
    • Cultural
    • Authenticity & Tourism
    • Is Wheatsville a tourist desination? Will it be one in the future?
  4. 4.
    • 1976: Lamar Opening
    History of Wheatsville Co-op A Community Grocery Store
  5. 5.
    • 1977-79: Determination
    History of Wheatsville Co-op A Community Grocery Store
  6. 6.
    • 1980: Renovationon
    • Guadalupe
    History of Wheatsville Co-op A Community Grocery Store
  7. 7.
    • 1980: Relocation & Renovation
    History of Wheatsville Co-op A Community Grocery Store
  8. 8.
    • 1981: Opening at new location
    History of Wheatsville Co-op A Community Grocery Store
  9. 9.
    • Early 90s: Things look bright!
    History of Wheatsville Co-op A Community Grocery Store
  10. 10.
    • Today: Best Human-Scale
    • Place to Buy Food*
    History of Wheatsville Co-op A Community Grocery Store * Austin Chronicle Readers Poll
  11. 11. The Statistics Shopping & Food in Travel:Complementary Travel Elements to Major Tourist Activities TEXAS TOP TEN ACTIVITIES FOR OUT OF STATE TOURISTS Activity % Participation Dining29% Shopping28 Sightseeing26 General entertainment20 Visiting historic site 9 Visiting national/state park8 Visiting theme/amusement park8 Watching sporting event7 Visiting art or museum exhibit7 Participating in nightlife7 Source: Office of the Governor 2007 MOST POPULAR ATTRACTIONS OUT OF STATE TOURISTS IN 2005 Rank Attraction 1 Alamo2 (River Walk) Paseo del Rio 3 San Marcos Outlet Malls 4 SeaWorld of Texas5 Six Flags Over Texas6 State Capitol7 South Padre Island8 Padre Island Nat. Seashore9 Moody Gardens10 Houston Space Center Source: Office of the Governor 2007
  12. 12. Gastronomic tourism As markers of people and place, regional specialties and food products become vehicles for a closer understanding of culture (Lpez 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 culturalelements (Lpez 2006, 166).Travelers seeking participatory touristic experiences can consume culture both literally and figuratively.Gastronomic & Shopping Tourism:The New Alternative Tourism Paradigm
  13. 13.
    • Commodity fetishism
      • Modern consumer culture saturated with commodity signals.
      • Retail trends encourage shopping as a means to collect signs andimages of many cultures (Lash and Urry1994, 272).
    • MacDonaldization backlash
    • Increased standardization and homogeneity/U.S. Imperialism generates longing for the uniqueand authentic (Lpez 2006, 168).
    • Globalization a contested process (Murdoch 110).
    Effects of Globalization:Generation of the Alternative Tourism Paradigm
  14. 14. The Rising Appeal of Embeddedness:An Alternative Geography of Food Factors generating placeless foodAgricultural industrialization. Intensified processing & broadened distribution. Increased liberalization in international trade(Parrott et al. 2002, 241). Rising concerns about food safety and nutrition (Murdochet al. 2000, 107) increase anxiety over placelessness Counter-movement seeking embeddednessConsumers increasingly seeklocal and traditional culinary alternatives , newly appreciated for theirperceived authenticity .
  15. 15. Multifaceted Embedding of Place
    • Place is a socio-cultural construction, continuously negotiated and defined (Sonnino 2007, 70).
    • Embeddedness involves multiple simultaneous spatial processes:
      • Temporal Co-op History
      • Locational Site/Situation
      • Ecological Local agriculture, environmental stewardship
      • Economic Local business & finance
      • Cultural Austin culture
  16. 16. Locational Embeddedness:The Drag
    • Austins counterpart to other historic urban shopping districts
    • Times Square, New York Little Italy, Boston
    • China Town, San Francisco Old Town, Albuquerque
    • Home to iconic Austin businesses
      • 111 yearsUniversity Co-op
      • 81 years Dirty Martins
      • 20+ yearsToms Tabooley, Antones Records, Mangia
      • Pizza, Amys Ice Cream, Miltos Pizza
      • Recent icons: Vulcan Video, I Luv Video/Spiderhouse
      • RIPLittle City, Half-Price Books, Les Amis
    • Shopping enclaves retain touristic authenticity by maintaining local customers (Snepenger et al. 2003).
    • "It's an important civic place. It's a real repository of our identity as a town, as a city and certainly as a university community. - Lawrence Speck (KLRU-TV 2005)
  17. 17. Ecological Embeddedness:Local Concern
    • Exclusive grocery vendor for local products
    • Produce, dairy, meat, prepared foods, candles, soap
    • Environmental benefits of local sourcing
    • 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
  18. 18. 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 andminimize exploitation of the producers or damage to the environment(Wheatsville Co-op 2007).
  19. 19. Economic Embeddedness:Austin Money Built with local finances 1976ZZ Top concert fundraiser:$5,000 raised 2006renovation 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 eventsPromotes patronage of local businesses beyond the Co-op Source: Wheatsville 2006 Annual Report
  20. 20. 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 February2006
  21. 21. 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 localartists and musicians
  22. 22. 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
  23. 23. Cultural Embeddedness:Textual RepresentationsSource: Goldstein 2006 where the hemp meets the hot sauce. Fearless Critic
  24. 24. Evaluating Embeddedness:Evident in the Co-op
    • Spatial embeddedness
      • TemporalHistory of community-built grocery
      • Locational The Drag corridor
      • 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.
  25. 25. 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