Friday, we were informed about inflammatory remarks made by a fellow DG business regarding The Lemon Tree Grocer’s lack of support for the downtown. For the past 2+ years, The Lemon Tree has made the community of Downers Grove its top priority. Many changes have been made since our doors opened, and each was made with our customers in mind to give them a better experience. Not only have the store and its employees supported the town but so have both owners. Tim Canning and Shaun Black have both personally supported and will continue to support most local businesses including: Remedy, Cellar Door, Ballydoyle, Humidor, Larson’s Eye Center, Mathis Jewelers, Rocco and Rocco, Dream Interiors, Runners World, Another Round, Capri, Tivoli Bowl, and many others.
We are passionate about Downers Grove and the community. When we hear otherwise, we are saddened, and at the same time feel that the issue needs to be addressed.
Anderson’s Bookshop post on Facebook:
“While yes, as a business, Lemon Tree has the right to plan events as they see fit, this action along with their earlier sales tax “rebate” deal with the Village, just leaves us shaking our heads.
Downtown Downers Grove is home to Borrowed Earth Café, a raw foods restaurant. Borrowed Earth Cafe has been featured on Check Please! As well as being a Michelin Guide Recommended restaurant along with other accolades: (http://www.borrowedearthcafe.com/10.html).
But yet Lemon Tree chooses to support an out-of-town business that is in direct competition with one of our own, all the while knowing that Borrowed Earth is approximately 1 block away from them.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: if Downtown Downers Grove is going to survive and flourish then we, the businesses, ALL need to survive and flourish. And one way to do that is to support each other whenever possible.
When we need a large event venue, we turn to the Tivoli Theatre – Classic Cinemas. When out-of-town authors and customers come in for events and want something to eat, we recommend Smokey Tomato Cafe & Catering, BallyDoyleDowners Grove, Gatto’s-Downers or any of the other wonderful restaurants in town. When we need supplies for events we turn to Consider It Done – Downers Grove, Avec Panache, Gabby’s Gifts or Carlson’s Art Supplies. Not to mention all of the daily recommendations we make sending our customers to other Downtown shops.
But intentionally building competition against a neighbor (that could have also been a customer) is not the way to do it. We hope that next time Lemon Tree will look at the wealth of talent and diversity right in their own back yard”.
This is our response to Anderson’s and the community:
We have always had an open door policy with respect to neighboring businesses. For example; when the late, beloved BJ Boyd was upset that we were carrying the same line of grocery products a few years back she approached us with her concerns. We didn’t even know there was a conflict at the time, but she contacted us. We sat down and came to a fair and reasonable compromise, and in our opinion that is what a good neighbor does.
We also find it curious that Anderson’s questions our efforts to partner with downtown businesses when last year one of us (Shaun Black) spoke with management at Anderson’s about partnering with Lemon Tree. Owner Trace Anderson’s response, “we are not interested in partnering with you at this time”. Lemon Tree then proceeded to make Anderson’s the Neighborhood Business of the Month (special mentions go on Facebook Twitter, and the Lemon Tree blog). Yet the fact that you feel the need to attack us regarding something that has nothing to do with your business, certainly leaves us ‘shaking our heads’.
Competition is everywhere. Anderson’s mentioned Smokey Tomato, and we really like it. When they opened a catering business and restaurant a block away from us we weren’t upset, and understand that more than one company can have a similar product.
We are not a vegan restaurant and have no interest in becoming a vegan restaurant. We have been to Borrowed Earth Café and really enjoy it. We also really like Danny, respect the business they have built and in no way are we trying to threaten them.
We did partner with Karyn’s to do a retail line of vegan and raw products. Our goal is to give people an option to get raw and vegan foods on nights they do not want to go out to dinner, or when they want to eat on the run. We also feel that bringing more attention to the benefits of these foods will bring more people to try them, not just at Lemon Tree, but at Borrowed Earth as well.
Karyn is not only a personal friend of ours and has been for years. She is one of the founders and foremost experts on Vegan and raw foods, with over 30 years of experience. We are not the first retailer to carry Karyn’s line, and Borrowed Earth does not have a retail line of products, so it would be impossible for us to carry theirs.
As for our tax rebate- A tax rebate deal was offered to us prior to us choosing Downers Grove. It was one of the many reasons we chose to open in this community, and we’ve worked hard to be good community members.
Last year we donated to local charities and community organizations such as the Indian Boundary YMCA, DGJWC, Donna’s Good Things, PedalHeads Bike Club, District 99, Lester Elementary Booster Club and many others. In fact, the amount we donated far surpasses our tax rebate. We look at it as “paying it forward” and being a good neighbor.
And finally, we’re teaming up with Karyn and hosting an event on October 21st- Meat vs. Beet, supporting Downers Grove Junior Women’s Club, Chicago Canine Rescue, and Safe Humane. We hope that everyone can join us as we continue to support the community of Downers Grove.
Tim Canning, Shaun Black
Lemon Tree Grocer