Weird of strange

OR EXTRAORDINARY CHARACTER'

Keep Louisville Weird is a grassroots public awareness campaign, recently and quietly begun by a small but growing coalition of independent Louisville business owners who are concerned with the spreading homoge-nization of our hometown. We're concerned that the proliferation of chain stores and restaurants in Louisville is not only driving the independent business owner out of business, but is also robbing the city of much of its unique charm. While we don't discount the need for the Wal-Marts of the world, we're troubled by the current civic notion that excitement for our town should come from the courting, establishment and promotion of chain stores and restaurants that can be found in many other cities across America.89

Suddenly large billboards started dotting parts of Louisville with a striking black and white design and with the simple message 'Keep Louisville Weird'. and then there were T-shirts ... and bus cards ... and stickers. No one knew where they had come from. And the story behind the 'Keep Louisville Weird' motto did not come out until almost a year later. By then, the media were raring to cover it.

The billboards were placed by an informal coalition of independent Louisville businesses - a protest against 'Starbucksification', sparked by the sale of Hawley-Cooke, Louisville's largest independent bookstore, to Borders in August 2003. They borrowed the 'Keep My Town Weird' idea from a similar slogan on car bumpers in Austin: 'Collaborative fission of coordinated individualism'.

bumper stickers from Austin, has been followed by others like 'Keep Portland Weird'.

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