While many companies across the country and in North Carolina are taking steps to show their opposition to a new law that removed LGBTQ protections from some localities and forced trans folks into the wrong bathrooms, one local RVA business is letting people know where they stand as well.
Ellwood Thompson’s, RVA’s local/organic grocer located at the top of Carytown, posted a picture of their new bathroom sign on their instagram today showing the store is flush with gender neutral facilities.
A photo posted by Ellwood Thompson’s (@ellwoodsrva) on
“Since the bathrooms are only one-toilet-per-bathroom, we thought it was a good time to promote a message we felt strongly about – gender neutral bathrooms,” said Colin Beirne, marketing manager at Ellwood Thompson’s.
Beirne said anyone familiar with the location knew their bathrooms were in dire need of an upgrade and about a month ago they set about completing some upgrades. Prior to the renovations, they’d had male and female restrooms in back and co-ed restrooms in the front. But because the rooms were single stall anyway, they decided to make the switch to gender neutral throughout the store.
No stranger to progressive-thinkers, Beirne said Ellwoods has had trans employees and customers for some time, and they wanted them and folks like them to “to feel comfortable” and to show that the grocery store is “proud to promote them.”
While most of the responses have been positive, no change is going to happen with out critics like one instagram user who called the update “The dumbest thing ive [sic] ever seen.”
“I thought our customers and those who follow us on social media would embrace this and be cheerleaders around what we’re doing, said Beirne who was surprised to see any kind of negative feedback to begin with. ”It’s been interesting to see both side of the fence come out.”
But Beirne said Ellwoods wouldn’t let the critics sway their decision, and the local company is proud to show their support for the trans community where they can.
“Ellwoods doesn’t mind being a leader or an activist on this,” he said. “If it draws negative attention, we don’t mind it at all.”