In your Jan. 19 story, “NAACP leader: Boycott Pope stores,” it was reported, “(Currituck NAACP President William) Etheridge in fact encouraged a boycott of the retail stores owned by (N.C. Budget Director Art) Pope’s family… claiming Pope takes the profits from them and puts money back into the right-wing agenda.”
Mr. Etheridge failed to present a full picture of charitable giving by Art Pope and the John William Pope Foundation. In addition to supporting public policy nonprofits, which seek to enhance prosperity for all people, the Pope Foundation devotes millions to humanitarian charities, such as soup kitchens, medical missions, food banks and homeless shelters.
In October, the Pope Foundation gave $15,000 to Food Bank of the Albemarle to help those struggling to make ends meet in Elizabeth City. One of the foundation’s core focus areas is to meet the immediate needs of men, women and children in our communities.
Mr. Etheridge also failed to mention that Variety Wholesalers — owner of Roses and other discount stores — is an equal opportunity employer that provides jobs to local residents and terrific values to customers.
African-Americans make up about 22 percent of North Carolina’s overall population, but Variety Wholesalers’ workforce is over 44 percent African-American. Furthermore, over 37 percent of the managers in Variety Wholesalers stores are African-American.
Recently, Variety Wholesalers opened a Roses store in Elizabeth City that employs 38 local residents. Our stores are good members of the community, providing jobs and a place for the whole family to shop. We are proud to be part of the Elizabeth City community.
Editor’s note: The author is chief operating officer of Variety Wholesalers.