Neighbors for Neighbors

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That thinks Whole Foods moving in to JP isn't all bad? To be fair, my boyfriend has worked for them for 3 years or so and treated him very well, fyi. But they're going to employ more people than Hi Lo, give better benefits, likely pay better, etc. And they've added a lot of local vendors over the last few years. Plus, I know for a fact they gave interviews to all the Hi Lo employees that wanted them. I understand wanting to keep the neighborhood diverse (I lived in Queens for years and loved that part of it, and love that about JP too), and I don't want JP to become gentrified and overpriced (I wouldn't be able to stay!), but what are the non-WF solutions people are offering here? Or is it just an anti-corporate stance to be anti-corporate? As for the cost of the food at WF - it's never going to be as cheap as, say, stop and shop, but there's one of those up the street, as well as lots of great bodegas in the neighborhood still...

 

Please excuse my poking the bee's nest here, but I've been seeing/hearing all these protests and I really do want to understand where all this sentiment is coming from. 

 

Thanks in advance for any input...

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Jodie, you're not the only one!  Check out www.jpforall.org for the sanest, most rational and forward-looking statement about Whole Foods' arrival in JP that I've seen in this whole debate. 

Sadly, much of the anger that should have been directed at Hi Lo and Knapp Foods at the beginning was instead directed at Whole Foods.  After getting off on the wrong foot, unfortunately some folks have stayed there.  If it speaks to you, sign the JP For All petition, like the facebook page, and spread the word! 

Thanks, Gretchen. I'll do that...
And I just saw that Rick Stockwood, JP For All's founder, posted an update here on Neighbors for Neighbors yesterday.  It's still on the welcome page under a few other postings in the left-hand column. 

Jodie, you're not the only one!  I haven't met any neighbors who aren't competely excited to have a Whole Foods in their neighborhood. I live just 3 blocks from Whole Foods new location, and everyone I know in my area wants Whole Foods to come. 

I am tired of hearing in the media and on this website about how JP residents are against the Whole Foods.  I just don't see this as being the truth.  I understand some folks don't want it, but I do think they are a vocal minority.

Hi Jodie,
I have mixed feelings about the issue. I currently purchase certain items from Whole Foods in Brighton, and I can easily continue to do so because I have a car and can afford to pay for gas. Although I would clearly benefit from having a store here in JP, I must weigh my personal convenience against other important community-related concerns. I have lived here for only 1.5 years, but in that time I have become increasingly aware and supportive of the community's efforts to support our fellow neighbors who are lower income. I know that many paint the picture as being of different ethnic diversities... and that is all good, I love it, but the bottom line here is who can afford to shop at Whole Foods? and how will this impact our housing prices -- will it attract higher income folks who can afford to buy big places? and drive out renters who can no longer afford to live here? Thus, what sort of community do we wish to maintain? These are the questions we need to consider.
I think that Whole Foods could do a lot by a) hiring local people, b) including the local hispanic foods that will be missed by the closure of Hi-Lo, c) working with the community to include as many low-cost foods as possible, and d) working with the community continuously over time to ensure mutual benefits in all regards.
I might support Whole Foods moving in, but with the cautions mentioned above.

Hi Maureen,

The last we heard from Matt O'Malley's office, Whole Foods has interviewed every ex-Hi Lo employee who sought an interview and has hired 25 of them -- more than any businesses in JP.  Two weeks ago, Whole Foods donated $8,500 to the Hyde Square Task Force, and the company has a long history of extraordinary generosity to the community and causes we all support.  If you visit Whole Foods markets in different communities and compare their offerings (Brighton vs. Fresh Pond, for example), you will see that they offer different speciality foods in each location, driven by what the neighborhood wants.  Finally, if you compare the prices on many staples and the 365 house brand, you will see similar and sometimes better prices than can be found in other grocery stores.  Whole Foods has already answered your questions.

But the answer to your question about what sort of community we wish to maintain?  Sadly, while members of our community are fighting Whole Foods, empty storefronts stretch from Hyde to Jackson Squares and the new businesses moving in are hardly ones that contribute to a vibrant and healthy Latin Quarter:  Kennedy Fried Chicken, MetroPCS and GameStop, Bank of America, and soon, you'll be able to get cash for your gold at All Checks Cashed.  Which one of these places has contributed $8,500 to a local organization?  Why are they, with no track record of being good neighbors, permitted to operate without any of the conditions you list, while Whole Foods, which has a proven track record, is meeting with such demands?  

I am with the people that think Whole Foods is too expensive, especially for that neighborhood.  A few comments on the above:

  * $8500 for the Hyde Square task force is probably an hour's profit for them.  It's really a paultry sum. 

  * The specialty foods they sell are still going to be outragiously priced

  * Many of those who can't afford a car also can't afford to shop at Whole Foods

I hate Stop and Shop and would welcome another reasonably priced grocery store in JP.  Market Basket would be perfect, but I think they only do suburban stores due to the higher cost of locating in the city.  My guess is that the majority of people who do significant shopping at a Whole Foods in that location will be from outside that neighborhood, so will be driving in causing traffic problems.  FYI, I lived on Kingsboro Park for 15 years before moving to Moss Hill 8 years ago.  I currently shop at Roche Bros. and Star - both still on the expensive side, but I've had some bad experiences at that Stop and Shop wrt pricing, customer service and traffic getting in and out of that parking lot, so it's worth the drive.

 Hi Anita,

 

As a long-time resident of "that neighborhood," as you call it, I can assure you that many of my neighbors already shop at Whole Foods and are looking forward to ditching the car and doing their grocery shopping on foot.  Yes, "that location" will draw folks from other JP neighborhoods, as well as from Roxbury, Dorchester, Roslindale, West Roxbury, and Brookline -- which will be an enormous boost to the businesses in Hyde Square that have been struggling to survive during this economic downturn. If you haven't been to a Whole Foods recently, you might be surprised to see how competitive the prices are.  And as a long-time shopper at the Stop & Shop in Jackson Square, I can tell you that the imminent arrival of Whole Foods has already shaken things up at that store -- in a very good way.  The other day, the store manager was at the entrance greeting people.  I've never seen that before!

 

When Whole Foods opens (and it will open, as it has signed a 20-year lease for the building), I invite you to come on over from Moss Hill, check out the store and meet your neighbors in Hyde Square.  During your visit, you can stop by the Hyde Square Task Force and ask them if $8,500 is a paltry sum and what other businesses in JP have given them that kind of support. 

 

   

As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Um, what?
Exactly Dorian!
Hi Gretchen,
Thanks for your reply and information. I will take this into consideration.

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