NEW SYMERNA BEACH, Fla. - A petition to ban chain stores from Downtown New Symerna Beach is gaining traction and the city is taking notice.
The goal of the petition, found on the Change.org website, is to push the city to stop any chain stores from opening up shop in downtown New Smyrna Beach. Resident Bryon White started the effort.
“I think citizens and business owners here in New Smyrna Beach really care about the local character and quality of our community,” White said. “They want to preserve that way of life. And they want to protect these small businesses from being booted out by these large chains.”
The petition already has thousands of signatures.
“We don’t want to be like other communities that are overrun with these big chain stores,” White said. “We want something different like we already are. We just want to stay different.”
The Florida Local has been up and running for about five months. Their business model speaks to their name because everything in their store has Florida ties.
“I think if anything comes out of this petition, I hope that it’s the fact that these unique districts are going to get some kind of protection from it,” co-owner of The Florida Local Alonda McCarty said.
The mayor of New Smyrna Beach tells The News Station that they are looking at how other places have put restrictions on chain businesses to see how it could be implemented in their city.
“There is precedent for options like this in other cities. New Smyrna Beach will certainly take all those in account when we decide whether or not we decide to make a move here,” city spokesman Phillip Veski said.
“Really the petition is about having a conversation and beginning a conversation to protect that quality of life,” White said.
There is a special city commission meeting to discuss this next Tuesday, November 19.