Lassen's, the California-based, upscale natural foods grocery chain, recently announced that it will open a new location in Echo Park. They'll be taking over the space next to Walgreen's, on Sunset Boulevard, that has been sitting empty for two years.
This will be the company's second location in Los Angeles. The first, in Los Feliz, was met with a fair amount of controversy when it opened in 2011.
It seems unlikely that an establishment like Lassen's would be protested in a neighborhood like Los Feliz. After all, the grocery chain is local, it's relatively small, and it's pro-organic. But as it happens, they're anti-gay rights, too. And the founders threw some significant money at Prop 8, 2008's ban on gay marriage, both personally and as a company. That's a disconnect that a lot of people can't wrap their heads around, but you must remember: religious people like healthy food, too.
The company muddied the waters when a store manager told the Ventura County Star that any donations made by the Lassen family were private. However, even a quick, cursory search shows that most Prop 8 donations were in fact made by the company, not private individuals.
Of course, the Los Feliz store is apparently going strong. Strong enough that the owner finds opening another location just a few miles away to be a good decision, calls for protest notwithstanding, and the area's general political and social climate apparently notwithstanding, either. And they read their Yelp page -- the Lassens are aware that many of the one-star reviews are by people who've never set foot inside the establishment.
So, Angelenos, your feelings on Prop 8 aside: generally speaking, do a company's politics influence your shopping decisions? Answer in the poll, and explain in the comments.
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