Ferraro Foods speaks to Facebook furor over Sensible BC video
A video posted on You Tube depicting grocery-store owner Danny Ferraro directing customers away from a Sensible BC petition (to decriminilize marijuana) has created a furor on social media, with many people committing to boycott the popular Trail store (Ferraros also have a grocery in Rossland).
A Trail Champion reporter was able to contact Danny’s brother, David Ferraro, today to ask about the situation, and David confirmed Sensible BC is once again today set up with a petition outside the store, where Ferraro staff brought them coffee and doughnuts in a further attempt to create a detente (they also posted a public letter of apology on Facebook, which they’ve said will be forwarded to Sensible BC, and the text of which can be found at the end of this article).
David pointed out that the video in question (embedded in this story) only shows a portion of the interaction, but said he doesn’t want to get into a he-said/she-said-style argument that will only fuel a conflict he hopes is now dying down.
“We don’t want to wade into the politics of it, we want to do what we do best, which is to be grocers for our community,” he said, adding he regrets any ill will the situation created and hopes their sincere apology can help leave the issue in the past.
He also said he hopes people factor in Danny’s warm and generous character, as well as his contributions to the community, before they judge him out-of-hand.
Herb Couch, a Nelson/Creston representative for Sensible BC who was helping out with canvassing in Trail on Saturday, said this is proving to be a distraction to their goal of getting Trail residents access to the petition.
“I don’t want to see us get side-tracked,” he said. “I’m pleased there’s someone from Trail cavassing. It was unfortunate we had all this interference, but it sounds like progress is being made there today, and I think that’s best for everyone.
“We hope that things will go smoothly from now on,” he added.
He did, however, take exception to the contention that canvassers were on Ferraro property at any point, arguing they were on public property for the entirety of their four-hour stay there.
“I also wanted to say thank you to the 87 voters who signed the petition on Saturday while we were there,” he added, explaining every riding needs 10 per cent of registered voters to force a referendum on the decriminilization issue.
The letter posted on the Ferraro Foods Facebook page read as follows:
To all our valued Ferraro Foods customers,
I am writing to you in response to the events that took place on Saturday, November 23, 2013 between Danny Ferraro and the Canvassers representing Sensible BC.
Originally the signature gathering had started in front of the opening to the store. Due to customer complaints, Danny had asked the canvassers to move off the private property, which was finally accomplished. Unfortunately strong personalities were at work here.
In a similar situation on Friday, November 22, 2013, I was approached by a representative of Sensible BC and asked permission to be able to gather signatures from inside the store in Rossland, however after we discussed this, we both agreed that this was not the proper venue.
Ferraro Foods is a second generation grocer that has community roots dating as far back as 70 years ago and have remained committed to our communities throughout.
We have always maintained that our affiliations remain with the community, not in political or religious arenas, and in saying that, we believe that everyone has the right to their freedom of speech.
Danny would like to apologize one on one with the Sensible BC canvassers.
We respect and encourage our customers to comment, good and bad, allowing us to continually strive forward providing our customers with the highest standard of service.
We would like to personally apologize to our customers and any one that may have felt uncomfortable during this situation.
We have forwarded a copy of this letter to Sensible BC.
David, James and Danny Ferraro
Ferraro Foods, Trail and Rossland