It's been exactly one year since Sam, Batch co-founder and my boss's boss, called me with a short and clear directive for the then Assistant (to the) Retail Store Manager:
"Everything in the store is half off."
Sam always speaks with machine-like precision, like he has already scheduled every syllable he's going to say a day in advance. Clear. Concise. Efficient. This felt different though. There was an uneasiness to his voice, and as the day progressed, every few hours it would get worse as I received yet another phone call to drastically slash our prices.
By 4 p.m., the end of the shift, there was a line of customers at the register, many of them fellow Farmers' Market employees, with heaps of products barely contained within their arms. The entire store was marked down 80%. People were snatching up luxury leather like it was discount jerky. I felt like I was struggling to dog-paddle.
We were still finding glass shards from the tornado, a mere paycheck's time prior.
As you might have guessed, this was the last day the Batch Retail Store in its traditional capacity remained open. We closed our shop, packed the inventory, and relocated to our center of operations, the Batch Warehouse on Eugenia. We pivoted. We began focusing on how to transition into an online presence. Some of us traded our discount blazers and first-communion shoes for gym shorts and hoodies.
This expansion has been noticeably, well... forward. We've met new challenges, made new connections, and forced ourselves to rewire our brains to a new image for what Batch could be. I wouldn't say anyone would describe it as easy. Most of the most valuable opportunities rarely are. But as I think about the ways that Batch has had painful experiences in the last year, it's almost more difficult for me to imagine what we would look like without them.
I started writing this blog post as "One Year Later... An Insider's Guide to the Farmers' Market", that is, a reflection on Batch's retail store AND my favorite places to eat. As I tried writing the introduction, the former kept swallowing my thoughts (I promise I will write the latter soon). I thought about the diverse cast of small business characters we were lucky to call our neighbors. I thought about the tourists who would come and tell us their stories, and then allow us to become part of a new one. I thought about the locals who would invite us into their most vulnerable family traditions, annual gift-giving rituals and Saturday morning strolls.
I'm so grateful to have been a part of the Nashville Farmers' Market community. It was the truest embodiment I can imagine of "Local Love". It was people doing things on a small scale, but I never failed to appreciate how huge of an impact it was making.