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Posted on Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 8:17 a.m.

Rise & Fall: Herb David Guitar Studio and Food Gatherers

By Cole Bertsos

One is a business that has managed to keep its doors open for more than 50 years, the other is a charitable organization that couldn't quite reach its goal.

Here are our picks for Thursday's winner and loser from the news.

Rise: Herb David Guitar Studio

Between visits from future and current rock stars, this business has stood the test of time. After 50 years, owner Herb David has managed to keep his guitar studio, located at 302 E. Liberty St., not just open, but growing. Throughout the years, he has expanded, added lessons and programs, and taught himself through trial and error how to craft a quality instrument from scratch — with no signs of stopping.

Fall: Food Gatherers

With the Rockin' for the Hungry drive all wrapped up as of Sunday, Food Gatherers raised 150 tons total of food — 50 tons short of the 200-ton goal — but organizers are staying optimistic. The group still is hoping to make up the difference with donations, which they have done in the past, so reaching the goal is not out of the question.



Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

Food Gatherers has many local business and corporate sponsors. I hope those who advertise with reconsider. When I look at their 1000's of volunteers I cannot believe you would label them as you did.


Fri, Dec 14, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

How is Food Gatherers collecting 150 tons of food losing in anyway? Why is it necessary to have a column of this nature at all. Can't the news just be the news? Why focus on what they did not collect? Isn't it more productive and helpful to talk about what they did do?


Fri, Dec 14, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

The real "fail" here is not Food Gatherers. They collected all the food and money the community brought to them. If FG did not meet their goal, it's because we, the Washtenaw County community, failed to step up to the plate. You run an electronic newspaper, which means you can make changes as you wish (and note that the change has been made) - why not admit to your own mistake and change the headline to note that THE COMMUNITY fell short.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 10:23 p.m.

You can do a lot of spin on this, but in the final analysis, it would appear to me that you can't spin this one well. Please consider giving up on this rise/fall thing. It's just a gimmic, no matter who came up with it, and it would seem to interfere with what you are trying to say.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

Who really failed here? Food Gatherers as an organization or the community itself? I, for one, am very guilty of not making the simple trip to a drop-off station.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

I too take exception to the "Fall" status given to this organization. First off you're comparing a for profit company to a non-profit organization. Nothing at all against Herb David. I love there shop and am a patron of it. I also give time to Food Gatherers and can say that these are hard working and dedicated people. They do amazing things with the donations they receive. I agree with other posters that it would have been easy for them to have set a safe goal but they wanted to challenge out community to step it up. Instead of placing them in a "fAll" status which some may think is synonymous with failure, perhaps the appropriate thing would have been to write a story about the missed goal that encouraged giving. You really "failed" with this and for that needs to also rate itself with a big Fall.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

Hi Michael- A story as you describe ran on Monday here:

Leah Gunn

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

To all of you commenters who think that Food Gatherers is a fabulous organization (and I wholeheartedly agree), send a check to them at One Carrot Way, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. I already have. Perhaps an outpouring from those of us who read will help them to fill their fundraising gap.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

I'll be there Tuesday volunteering and will give them a check as well. Spot on with the suggestion.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

I agree with the other staff commenters - categorizing Food Gatherers as a "Fall" is inappropriate. @Kyle - you said to read the context under the headline and here is what it says, "Here are our picks for Thursday's winner and loser from the news." Really??? Food Gatherers is the best "loser" you could come up with this week, which also saw a campus murder, union defeat, the public shaming of UM's Social Media director, and numerous home invasions? Wow.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

1976- I was referring to the text below the fall section explaining why FG was featured today. Each week there are always a number of stories to choose from, luckily this week we were able to use rise & fall as a way of highlighting an opportunity for readers to take action on the situation which is not typical for these type of posts. I guess I could put a sports analogy to it where your team may be a goal short at halftime but there is still a game to play and plenty of opportunity for the entire team to get out and get the big win. We're hoping this post highlights that and the community can rally to make it happen.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Please be sure to read Paula's note above and well as the context under the 'fall' headline. Also, understand that this rise & fall is a post to highlight trending topics in the community. We work with FG each year to track donations from the drive here on encouraged readers to get out and help push the drive in the final day and provided a response from Mary Schlitt at the conclusion of the campaign. The 'fall' in this case would be that although great volunteers at Food Gatherers like Pat Wilinski put in many hours of hard work and that a large number of area residents came out to donate the goal was not met. What we hope this highlights is the importance of everyone in the community coming together to support organizations like FG that help meet vital needs throughout the region. Also, just for note, for those of you who were unable to make it out to to Rockin for the Hungry last week Food Gatherers is continuing to accept donations online here:


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

I agree with what others have written. I don't care for the Rise/Fall feature anyway, but especially to label a successful, well-organized, highly competent, and much-in-need nonprofit as a "Fall"? That's not remotely helpful. An article on Food Gatherers missing its high goal would have been great, as a way to highlight the need and what people can do to help. To categorize them as a "fall" is ridiculous and unnecessary.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

Earthchick- A story like you describe ran on Monday here:


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

Wow, how disappointing. Food Gatherers is not "falling." They are a fantastic organization that does a lot of good for our community. They didn't meet their goal, but they raised enough food and funds to provide almost 350,000 meals.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

I've never liked this rise and fall feature. It usually comes off as rather ill-tempered and snarky on the "fall" side and overly boosterish on the "rise" side. (Though I'm happy about good news for Herb David.) The pairing does nothing for either story. I'll echo other commenters in saying that you cast an unduly negative picture of Food Gatherer's heroic work. They keep on performing miracles and deserve only praise.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

It would have been very easy for Food Gatherers to set a "safe" goal that they were guaranteed to hit. Instead they set a stretch goal, like any good organization should. While I understand your intent with listing them, many of the other "Fall" snapshots have been negative, which makes "fall" imply "fail." No one should think Food Gatherers failed.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

Agreed, there is no fall of Food Gatherer's taking place. This was a stretch.

Paula Gardner

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

We think the community needs to realize that Food Gatherers - which is among the top-rated nonprofits in the area (and, I believe from memory here, the country) did not make its goal during this community's largest food drive. The need in this community remains extremely high, especially considering the fact that we have the lowest unemployment in the state. We have too many people among us who need food assistance. As expressed here, we're disappointed that the group didn't reach it's goal (the 'fall' news event) and encouraged that a subsequent push to do so will be successful. This group is well-run and effective - but it also needs support from the community to sustain its efforts. Here's some info from an earlier story on where this community stands on giving/donations. The focus is on Hope Clinic, SOS, and Food Gatherers:


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Just because they didn't reach their set goal does not make their efforts a failure, nor do they deserve the ridiculous "fall." You are assigning a negative connotation to a positive and community based organization. This could, and should, have been handled better.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

It's great to highlight the need for the work Food Gatherers does and the need for people to support that work with donations. It's not so great to label them with the word "fall," which sends a negative signal no matter what you're trying to communicate.

Kelly H

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

Sorry, Paula. There is just no excusing this. Associating FG with "Fall" like this is a negative. Did FG meet its goal? No, but as previous commenters have pointed out, 150 tons of food is certainly not a negative. The "earlier story" that you refer to mentions Food Gatherers, but was also written several days before the FG event. So, here's an idea: instead of lumping FG with a "fall" (read: failure) why not write a stand-alone piece about FG and what the community can do to help reach its goal?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

They raised 150 tons (300,000 pounds) of food for those in need, and this is a failure? This is crazy. Congrats to Food Gatherers and to all the people this 300,000 pounds will feed! A huge win in my book! Wise up and quit with this project. It don't work!


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Yeah, this is insanely tone deaf and you should be embarrassed for posting it.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

I don't think it's your intention, but associating "Food Gatherers" and "Fall" may give people the wrong impression about Food Gatherers. What message is it that you are trying to convey anyway? I'd suggest that just give up this "Rise & Fall" thing entirely. It's seems pretty thoroughly devoid of anything useful.