When Carlie Alaniz applied to the Roots Markets open marketplace to sell her custom-designed flower pots over Mother's Day weekend, she made plans to return as a vendor at its next event.
"It was a very successful market," Alaniz says. "I did meet a lot of cool people, and it just was an overall good experience. Having that experience is what prompted me to sign up for their next market."
Alaniz runs The Lucky Pot Co.
and sells decorated flower pots at craft fairs and open marketplaces. She applied to participate again at an upcoming market in June, and says she was turned down over her "views." On Wednesday, she received an email from Roots Markets saying it would refund her vendor fee because, "Our business has values just like any other business. Our values are biblically based, we do not have the same views as LGBTQ+."
"It was really upsetting three days before the market that I was counting on that income for that Saturday and the rug was taken out from under me," Alaniz says. "I was in a lot of shock at first."
Roots Market emailed Carlie Alaniz on Wednesday taking back their approval to sell her products because "we do not have the same views at LGBTQ+."
Courtesy of Carlie Alaniz
In the email, Roots Markets apologized for "accepting your application and not doing our research before hand [sic
Alaniz says she identifies as "bisexual queer" but the email did not specify whether the decision to bar her was about her sexual orientation, the views expressed on her social media or some of her wares, such as a set of handmade flower pots decorated with Pride flags she planned to sell on Saturday at the market. She also planned to donate 10% of her income this month in honor of Pride Month to "a local organization that helps trans youth."
"I guess they looked over my Instagram profile and decided this was the step they were going to take," Alaniz says. "Being a vendor and in a small business community, we rely on those markets a lot, and I had been talking about that market for a couple of weeks. I told my friends about it. The first one was very successful, so I even told other vendors you should apply too."
She says she was tempted to reply but she decided to wait and process the jarring email she received. Instead, she shared a photo of the email to her Instagram stories. The story stayed up for 24 hours and went viral, prompting a backlash against Roots Markets. Alaniz says she received more than 1,000 messages, and all of them were positive and supportive.
One neighbor who attends the market, Katherine Hope, shared a screenshot of Alaniz's story with Roots Markets' email on her Facebook, and her post was shared over 160 times.
"It's a really big deal right now in Fairmount and Near Southside," Hope says of the Fort Worth neighborhood. "There is talk of a protest already. I didn't expect my post to be shared so much, but I'm glad it did."
Alaniz didn't think she'd receive as much support as she did either.
"I didn't think it was gonna blow up as much as it did, and I work from home and was working when I got all these messages," Alaniz says of her post. "So when I got home, I was able to sit down and process everything."
Alaniz says Roots Markets may have refunded her application fee, but she regrets the time she spent supporting and recommending a business that felt negatively about including LGBTQ+ people .
"Had they just been upfront about it, I didn't get the vibe that they had those views and didn't want to work or LGBTQ+ people" Alaniz says. "All of this could've been avoided had you just been upfront. When I came across this market and applied and saw that that was your viewpoint, yeah I would've been upset or mad but I never would've applied and told about your market to other people."
We reached out to representatives of Roots Markets on social media and by email but received no replies as of Thursday.
Alaniz is finding the bright side in all the support she received for her business and her well-being.
"All the support I've gotten over the last day and a half has been amazing and everyone has really rallied behind me and given me words of encouragement," Alaniz says.