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Ace Employee: Don't Boycott Local Business; But Do Voice Your Concerns

An anonymous employee wrote, "I ask the people of Davis to please express their displeasure and to demand change in a way that does not endanger a valuable source of local economy and the livelihoods of your neighbors."

Davis Patch received the following letter from a Davis Ace Hardware employee Tuesday afternoon.

The previous night, a letter was posted on DavisWiki that was sent by Davis Ace owner Jennifer Anderson to her employees encouraging them to vote for Mitt Romney. 

Here's the anonymous letter. Share your thoughts below: 

As an employee of Davis Ace, I commend the people of Davis for voicing concerns on Jennifer Anderson’s means of expressing her political agenda. However, I would like to implore you all to do so with phone calls, letters, petitions, and for those of you in journalism, with interviews and media coverage; and I ask you, please, do NOT boycott Davis Ace.

Anderson’s mistakes aside, Davis Ace IS a local business. It keeps money in the local economy. More importantly, it employs over 100 people, all of them residents of Yolo County. We do not agree with or condone the political actions of our boss, but if you boycott our place of employment, it is us, the employees, who will suffer the most. As much as I disagree with Anderson’s poor choices in dispensing political information and the inappropriate implications in the recent letter, I want to keep my job, and I don’t want to see a local business fail. I am very grateful that there has been such a response from the community on the subject. And I ask the people of Davis to please express their displeasure and to demand change in a way that does not endanger a valuable source of local economy and the livelihoods of your neighbors. Thank you.

Share your thoughts below. 

Scott Meehleib November 08, 2012 at 01:41 AM
As I said on Davis Wiki, I feel bad for the employees, but I will only resume shopping at ACE if Jennifer issues a statement saying that she will no longer push her political opinions on her workers. I don't care about apologies like some of you keep harping on about; why ask for an inauthentic bending of the knee? Actions speak louder than words. Everybody makes mistakes. I don't think you're a terrible person, Jennifer. Please just do the right thing.
Rosemary Foreman November 08, 2012 at 02:47 AM
She did overstep her bounds as an employer, but i agree, that should not stop us from patronizing a local business that employs so many people...I don't really expect a public apology, but she certainly owes one to her employees...
Staying Anonymous November 08, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I work for somebody else (in another town) that did the same thing, sent out a "think about your job when you vote" letter, urging people to vote for a certain candidate. It's intimidating and insulting and shouldn't be tolerated in a free democratic society. It's about money--the behavior will persist unless it hurts the pocketbook. Boycott Ace until she apologizes to society. Hibberts is better for hardware and building materials, and there are other places around to find most of the other items.
Cfranc November 08, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I hear what this employee is saying, and I'm really torn on this. I don't want to support a business that intimidates its employees. And, making it worse, I'm pretty uncomfortable shopping in an atmosphere where the business owner may be gazing out the window, watching locals walk in, and possibly thinking "Look at all those liberal chumps, who don't even watch Fox, giving me money." Sorry, but Ms. Anderson is really portraying that kind of persona with her radical actions, assuming they're true. For now, I feel that I need to avoid Ace. However, an apology to the employees would go a long way toward changing my mind.
Staying Anonymous November 08, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I'm in complete agreement. It's up to Ms. Anderson to step up.
Jim Kelly November 08, 2012 at 08:15 PM
i feel badly for the employees of Ace, but my family will now shop at other locations in Davis. I hope that when Ace has to lay people off, that the additional business for other stores in town causes them to hire. Letters like the one Ms. Anderson sent to her employees are not only wrong ethically, they also reflect an ignorance about what makes businesses successful. A real entrepreneur adapts to the environment, seizes opportunities and deals with the challenges. If she wanted a secure job with steady income that was guaranteed, Ms. Anderson should have become a university professor, not a small business owner.
Roberto November 09, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Free speech in Davis??? Suggesting a Republican Candidate??? Oh come Jenniffer, you should have known better! This is Davis. You need to remember, behind all the polite talk and smiles; we kill coyotes, squirrles and turkeys. And... suggesting a Republican. Hey! talk about a way to ruffle feathers. So you see, we're really not that nice.
Staying Anonymous November 09, 2012 at 11:22 PM
It probably isn't free speech if the audience is captive. That's the whole point, not the ideology of the message but the method of delivery.
staying anonymous November 14, 2012 at 01:54 AM
This is intimidation pure and simple....I think she needs to be fired and maybe she will think twice about the Affordable Care Act when she has no health benefits. Grow up lady and be honest that this country needs universal health care coverage. Just how far can you push people?
Staying Anonymous November 14, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Hey--you stole my user name!
Concerned Citizen November 15, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Jennifer Anderson is a millionaire, coercing employees through fear & laughing all the way to the bank about it. If this were about principles, instead of profits; she'd make a whole-hearted apology.
TNolte November 16, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Wow! I wasn't aware that Hibbert Lumber was secretly owned by a multi-national corporation and that all the employees were smuggled in from Belgium. I had always naively assumed that by shopping there I WAS supporting a "local business" employing "residents of Yolo County". Thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that, if I love my community I am morally obligated to give my money to Jennifer Anderson.
KW November 16, 2012 at 07:48 PM
The line of BS that reads: "you can't stop supporting a business when you disagree with how they run their business because it will hurt the employees" is really stupid. You can choose to stop supporting any business for any reason. That's what a free market is all about. If she wanted to keep politics out of people's decision-making process regarding her business, she should have left it out of the way she ran her business. I see nothing wrong with informing employees about a very real issue affecting their own employment or benefits and let people factor that into their own voting equations. But that clearly wasn't the case here. She chose to endorse a candidate. And she did so on the basis of something that was not only a sure-thing, but also just one of a myriad of issues facing national politics. Assuming she would cause no offense to others in making so many assumptions all the way down the line was a mistake in the eyes of many patrons for many reasons. We'll see what difference it really makes going forward. But if I were in her position, I'd focus on running my business, which has done quite well under a variety of political administrations, to the best of my ability. People tend to react badly to perceived coercion (even if it is merely misconceived), and you're guaranteed to upset a segment of people by engaging in judgmental politics. The best way to avoid these issues is to strive to respect EVERYONE in your community if you value their business.
Long term resident November 16, 2012 at 07:53 PM
I would like to remind people that there is no coercion here. Voting is private and how someone votes is unknowable by an employer or anyone else. That said I don't think that Jennifer Anderson's letter to her employees, though within her rights, is the smartest thing she has ever done -- especially in light of the likelihood of her employee votes actually impacting the presidential election results in CA. I have lived in Davis 40 years. Jennifer Anderson /Davis Lumber / Ace has been a fine business citizen in this town for all of those years contributing to many community efforts. Honestly, is one stupid political goof worth all this fuss compared to decades of being a good local citizen? I am a liberal democrat but am willing to give Jennifer Anderson a pass on this. The election is over. Move on.
Gary Wilson November 17, 2012 at 08:07 AM
“Yes, I did “get the job” through our family, however, I could have destroyed this company with poor management - but I haven’t." Hey Jennifer - you might want to check again. Doing something that may alienate something like 70-80% of your target customer base = poor management. The sad thing is that IF ACE ends up laying off employees, shorting full-time employees, or reducing benefits, you will claim it is because Obama won the election, rather than because of your arrogance in pushing your politics on your employees and offending customers who are well aware they can take their hardware dollars elsewhere.

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