March 3, 2017
Studio Chane, Swell-O-Phonic, Soma Wilai and The Wonder Lab owner Ron Chane announced that he is withdrawing from organizing future Fondren's First Thursdays. Here is his statement, verbatim, from Facebook:
It is with a heavy heart that I am officially withdrawing my efforts, resources & responsibilities on behalf of FFT. I bought into an idea that I falsely created in my own head about a community of local district merchants whom I thought deserved my relentless efforts to include all. Heart, soul and personal financial resources were poured into a dream of community, but I now understand that beyond my own imperfect and unrealistic determination, there are certain factors and behaviors of entitlement, greed and disrespect that no longer warrant my tolerance or desire to continue with the same drive I started with 3 years ago. I have experienced great support from businesses such as Babalu, Rooster's, Pig&Pint, La Brioche, Sneaky Beans, Ramey, Bank +, Ardenland, Sal&Mookies, Peters Real Estate, JWH Rental, Rainbow, Cups and several others who deserve more than just my appreciation. (Note - any paid in sponsors will be reimbursed their prorated share starting today.)
However, from high end restaurant owners that cannot play with other fellow restaurants for 1 night of community, to new and existing restaurants that feel entitled to all of these efforts without contribution, to various merchants who pledge to support to get on sponsor promotion and then bail, to liberties taken by local protestors to disturb a night of love & peace - I part with those difficulties here and leave all to their own devises.
THE LIFELINE OF THIS EVENT WAS NEVER JUST MY EFFORTS - IT WAS THE GREAT PEOPLE OF JXN AND BEYOND WHO SHOWED ME WHAT COMMUNITY WAS ABOUT. Thank you for sharing 30 Thursday's with all of us. I would also like to thank Nina Bjorkman and all of the great community volunteers of past and present as well as JSU's Seneca Wilson, Brandi Lee, Commander James McGowan, MS Public Broadcasting, JFP, Find it in Fondren, Demarcus Franklin, Cody Cox, Nathan Glenn, Byron Knight and too many others to list.
I want to be very clear as to my understanding that I do not run Fondren, own the 4th day of the week or run the streets of Fondren.
The efforts of several listed above will continue in areas such as Duling Ave, Fondren Plaza, Sneaky Beans/ Fondren Corner. The efforts on behalf of FRF with Arts Eats& Beats and Fondren Unwrapped are independent and will not be affected by this decision. The State Street Concert Series will soon announce their adjusted dates.
I do not exit as a victim - maybe as a fool or village idiot, but more so as someone who is guilty of trying imperfectly to please all, but woke up and saw the light.
Thank you all with love and peace.
Live fast dream forever.