Austin Small Business Owner Objects to Use of Store in Rick Perry's First TV Ad

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“I didn't know he was going to use our store in an ad. No, I don't support Governor Perry or his views.”

–Peg McCoy, owner of Farm to Market Grocery in South Austin

Farm to Market Grocery is a small business in Austin located on South Congress. Farm to Market sells goods, organic foods, and other sundries. The store and its caring owners, Angela Atwood and Peg McCoy, have a long history of community service and outreach. And now, thanks to the 2010 Texas Governor's race, they have the unexpected notoriety of being prominently featured in Rick Perry's first television ad of his general election campaign.

Earlier today, Governor Rick Perry and his campaign released their first television ad of the campaign season. The following is a screen-shot from the opening seconds of the ad — which shows one of the store's workers carrying flowers to put outside the store:

This afternoon, I went over and spoke with Peg McCoy, one of the owners. What struck me immediately about Peg was how caring she was. She is not political — she's spent her life trying to feed, shelter, and care for those in need. Her work was featured in the Austin Chronicle in 2005, in a short piece titled, “Community Cornerstones”:

Angela Atwood and Peg McCoy know a thing or two about communities and have spent the better part of their lives developing them. Angela has more than a dozen years' experience in development of housing and homeless services programs in Austin/Travis County and served as the senior director of community affairs for SafePlace. Peg worked with housing projects on the border and also served on the Homeless Task Force here in Austin. Their latest venture, Farm to Market Grocery, might seem at first like a severe departure from their activist roots, but the duo's commitment to building thriving communities is evident in their jewel of a grocery store.

Housed on South Congress, a street that sees extensive foot traffic, Farm to Market embodies neighborliness in its wares as well as in its location. Atwood and McCoy are committed to working with local growers and producers and have stocked their shelves and refrigerators with a wide variety of Austin's goods. From the sweet baby squash and crisp apples to the jars of salsa, salad dressings, and other condiments, the best of Austin and the surrounding area is available.

Peg was very surprised her store was used in the ad, and none too happy. While she didn't know her store would be used in an ad, she does know this: she will be voting for Bill White this election.

About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.


  1. She may not…
    have known, but someone at the store did. They didn't just set up the camera and wait for someome to start working. I bet the person in the video is a Perry supporter, volunteer or staff, which means they would have to have permission to film. Given how staged all campaign commercials are, I find it hard to believe she or someone else didn't know.

  2. My understanding…
    I could be wrong about this, but my understanding is that you're supposed to have a license and/or have a signed document from the store owner in order to be allowed to use a commercial residence like this in the ad. I've got someone looking into it…

    Either way — this is embarrassing and a rookie mistake from Perry's campaign. I thought trying to host a press conference in front of their campaign's headquarters was dumb; this is even worse. This is their first major TV ad. They couldn't even get a clean ad about the economy out the door without screwing up.

  3. RichardsonDemocrat on

    this is really a big screw up
    Did Rick Perry think that an organic grocery store owner in Austin would actually support him? This is absolutely a rookie mistake that is REALLY surprising to see from Rick Perry.

    Now it would be understandable if this was some really old stock footage (like Hilary Clinton's 3 am ad), but this sounds like it's NEW footage.  Perry's campaign literally walked around the streets filming businesses in Austin that 100% don't support him.

    This is just really lazy work and stupid that they didn't do their homework.  If I lived in Austin, this grocery store would be my new go-to place.  Phillip, I recommend pushing your friends and people on this website to go there and shop, to thank them for having such a nice store and standing up against Rick Perry's say and do anything approach to politics.

    I've also noticed that ever since Mark Miner came back on, they have had a bunch of really dumb mistakes like this.  I honestly think that Mark is not a good communicator and his strategies just DON'T make sense. He beat KBH because she ran quite possibly the worst campaign in the history of Texas politics.  They aren't going to get that lucky again, and Rick Perry is NOT going to convince the 10% undecided voters to support him, especially with stunts like this.

  4. Yes…
    they would have to have the permission of the owner, but they would also have to have the permission of anyone who was filmed, which is why I suspect anyone shot in the film is a Perry supporter or staff (including the barber shop). If you're going to pay the money for the quality of advertising they are doing, you're going to want to be able to have things under control, so you're not going to just film people doing things on Congress.

  5. Eh…
    It's an interesting and entertaining story, but I can't say it's much of a game changer. Not likely to throw them off message or move any voters one way or the other. And unless every business owner whose facilities they used comes out with a similar story or we find out they didn't get permission, this will a blip on the public's consciousness vis a vis the gubernatorial campaign. Just my perception. Perhaps I'm jaded.

  6. eh…
    aside from paying to blanket the airwaves, the Perry campaign was also hoping for a bunch of free media coverage to spread their message, especially since it's their first tv ad, and they've been prepping people for it for months.

    Instead of that, they got a couple days of small business owners in the news that don't like Perry.  There's no press release the White campaign could have sent out that is anywhere as awesome and free as that.

    Gamechanger? No. Thrown off message and lost a couple newscycles? Absolutely.

  7. not to mention
    this is indicative of a larger problem within the Perry campaign, something that does actually have the potential to cost them the election.

    This isn't the first stupid mistake that has tripped up their momentum.  They are really good about giving off this aura of superiority and invincibility, but there's cracks all over their walls.

    I'll grant this to Perry: 2006 Team Perry would have not let stupid mistakes out the door.  Robert Black wouldn't have held a Bill White pep rally in front of his own headquarters.  Luis Saenz and crew wouldn't have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in an Acorn pay-for-vote schemes.  They wouldn't be recruiting Green party candidates so blatantly.

    The conventional wisdom is that Rick Perry is unbeatable.  The conventional wisdom is wrong, not least of which is because the current team of Perry people are just sloppy.  

  8. It seems to me that Rick Perry
    is as sloppy with his fiscal responsibility (i.e. the $21 billion budget deficit he won't talk about) as he is with his rookie campaign missteps.

    I guess this is what happens when a governor acts more like an arrogant dictator instead of a public servant.  

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