by Bryon White March 19, 2020 3 min read

Well, this sucks. 

2020 has up to this point been a banner year for Yaupon Brothers. We launched nationwide in all Cost Plus World Market Stores less than a month ago. They will be hurting now, and so will everyone else. When this snowball started to roll down hill, we shifted heavily into our online business - selling that AMAZING Florida Yaupon to you through the internet on our website and Amazon Prime. We are lucky we have that option; many makers and small business people do not. 

In all honesty, it's easy to support online businesses as long as shipping carriers are operating. We've put out a promo code to give some incentive, and many online sellers have done the same. If you're here reading this, you're supporting us and we are so grateful. Thank you!

Unfortunately, not all small businesses have an online presence. When they're mandated to close, they lose all of their income. In the smallish town where we are based in East Central Florida, the economy is nearly totally supported by tourism. When the shops close and tourists leave, it doesn't take long for the cracks to show. That is already happening now. The time has come for every community member all over the country to lace up their boots, break out their wallets, and support their own communities however possible. If you have restaurants, bars, shops, cafes, or any other type of offline business where you live, please ask how you can help. Many of these businesses will not make it through this, but I know we can save many of them with good American ingenuity and adaptation. We are a very caring society, regardless of how it feels sometimes. 

In our town, the mayor of New Smyrna Beach, Russ Owen, has started donating his entire mayoral salary to a non-profit called Foundation 37. The charity will provide earmarked assistance to small businesses and their employees, from helping with the rent or light bill, to buying groceries and paying medical expenses for employees who are out of work. Their SIP grant fund is specifically designed for this purpose. Please donate to them if you're inclined and able. Local vendors have also started raising funds for this initiative. Our friends at The Florida Localare selling their NSB Vernacular t-shirt online and $5 from each shirt goes towards this effort. You can buy one here. At Yaupon Brothers, we are working on a few concepts to help the community. 

The first is a curbside farmers market in Edgewater, FL, which will allow vendors to stay in business and allow customers the option to buy fresh local food and produce without exposing themselves to large crowds. We will offer curbside pickup and the market will be open Monday through Friday, from 8am until noon. This will be a subset of the New Smyrna Beach Farmers Market, which was closed indefinitely by the city government. The market will be located at 132 W. Park Avenue, Unit #7, Edgewater, FL 32132, and it will open Monday, March 23. There may be a few bumps getting it up and running, but we're gonna go with it. Customers can submit preorders to, or text to 386-566-3826. We also will accept cashless payments and exact change. We encourage people to stay in their vehicles and order from the menu board. Folks, it's a crazy time but we are an innovative and generous society, and we will crush this bastard asshole virus. I know it!

In the meantime, we THANK YOU immensely for your continued support. Please continue to drink that Yaupon. It will keep you healthy, and keep us in business. If you live in Central Florida or have connections here, please continue donating to Foundation 37 and patronize the curbside market. If not, please support the community you live in. They will need help, too, and no one is immune from the effects of this virus. 

From my favorite Bright Eyes lyric: "we have a problem, with no solution, but to love. And to be loved." And also wash your hands and social distance! 

Cheers to all! Please keep an eye out because we will be posting regularly throughout this event. 

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The Specialty Food Association has chosen the winners of the 2021 Leadership Awards, which honor influential and innovative entrepreneurs who are transforming the specialty food industry. The awards are presented in three categories: Business Leadership, Citizenship, and Vision.  Bryon White from Yaupon Brothers American Tea Company is the winner for outstanding Citizenship... read more about his story!