After a backlash online over the banning of “Mexican-style” food at the Tacoma Farmers Market, the organization behind the decision has changed course.
The Point Ruston Homeowners Association (PROA) reversed its decision on Wednesday morning (July 27) after customers and community members expressed outrage over the ban.
“We are thrilled to have worked with Taco Street to reach an agreement that will allow El Güero and Burrito Boy to move into future Point Ruston Sunday Markets,” the statement read. “We will always strive to support small businesses that make a living as full-time brick-and-mortar stores in the Point Ruston neighborhood, and we are thrilled to be able to support the Sunday Market pop-up shops. We are looking forward to continuing to celebrate all cultures and communities at the water’s edge.”
The controversy began when the Tacoma Farmers Market announced on Saturday that “Mexican-style” food would not be served under a PROA directive. Organizers say they had no part in the decision, were “deeply saddened by this brutal news” and pledged support for the businesses affected.
The next day, PROA called the situation a “misunderstanding” and cited exclusive contracts with local brick-and-mortar stores for its decision. Part of the “exclusivity” extended to Mexican cuisine.
The association said it would work on the issue internally. Many users speculated that the company involved in the exclusivity was Taco Street.
The owners broke their silence on Tuesday (July 26) in an Instagram post supporting El Güero and Burrito Boy.
“We understand that the Point Ruston Owners Association acted out of concern for the impact that competing businesses would have on our restaurant,” the message read. “While we appreciate this concern for our business, we have let the Point Ruston Owners Association know that we are welcoming El Guero and Burrito Boy to the Tacoma Farmers Market.
Despite the ban being overturned, users are still criticizing PROA for not taking responsibility or apologizing for the controversial decision.
“This has no emotion, no responsibility and no apologies so I doubt it will help you,” one user wrote. “Once you’ve said something, you can’t take it back.”
Another said: “Even the way it was written seems to blame Taco Street.”
“At best it was an abrupt decision that was grossly mishandled. At worst it was a failed attempt at discrimination,” one commentator said. “While the situation has been resolved at this time, it could and should have been handled very differently, perhaps starting with a discussion with Taco Street, instead of making belated statements that appear to be blameworthy.”