Neighbors for Neighbors

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Whole Foods or Trader Joe's: We have voice, let it be heard!!


I just blogged about Hi-Lo closing.

I'm curious, which would you rather, Whole Food or Trader Joe's or what alternatives would you suggest?

How would this benefit our community and who would it hurt?

If we feel strongly about this, we can weigh in. Before we do, we need to carefully take into who our who really represents - and work to ensure all voices are heard. 


This post was edited to after feedback from the comments at 7:38 pm. 


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Comment by Eric Gordon on January 14, 2011 at 8:52pm
I vote for Trader Joe's  - would be a great addition to the neighborhood.
Comment by Jasmine on January 14, 2011 at 8:51pm

Trader Joes!

better prices

better treatment of employees

better fit for the neighborhood

Comment by Orissa Viza on January 14, 2011 at 8:47pm
Quite the toss up-If the TJ sold wine/beer, definately. Better on the cost/value grade that WF, but WF has much better fresh produce.
Comment by Jennie P on January 14, 2011 at 8:38pm
@Eric I totally agree with you about Harvest in JP - it and the one in Cambridge are like night and day. And I of course am not really worried about the City Feed on Boylston, it is unto itself and is great and won't be affected by any of this. I think a lot of people feel the same way about Harvest being as you said, underperforming, so you're absolutely right that some competition would be good! It's just a matter of how to do it without putting a strain on non-corporate local businesses. Trader Joe's carries, in season, more local and often local+organic produce than any Whole Foods in the area. TJ's seems to pay more attention to that. And once again, way more affordable for everyone, unlike Whole Foods, who buys the same conventional produce sold at cost by Russo's in Brighton and double or triples the price. We can't afford that in Hyde Square.
Comment by Eric on January 14, 2011 at 8:29pm

I don't see City Feed as a competitor to Whole Foods or vice versa, certainly not the one on Boylston. If City Feed continues to do what it does well then I think it will be fine.


I think Harvest could benefit from the competition. Local or not, I think it's a generally underperforming market that skates by on the fact that it is a co-op in JP. I'm not going to financially support Harvest for philosophy alone.

Comment by Jennie P on January 14, 2011 at 8:25pm
Dave, thanks for the tip. I actually don't eat meat - lol. Was just sympathizing with Meg on the lack of something needed. But I do know folks who will definitely benefit from your tip nonetheless, so thank you :)  Also, I love that we have a local butcher AND that it is called Meatland.
Comment by Jennie P on January 14, 2011 at 8:21pm
On a different but also important note, neither WF or TJ's are unionized, but TJ's supposedly compensates above union wages/benefits and is a pretty good employer from the people I've talked to who work there. So yet another reason to support TJ's if they were somehow a contender. WF target market is already occupied by multiple locally based vendors like Harvest and City Feed, whereas TJ's has only some overlap, but definitely a different style of market than what our community already has, and is WAY lower priced with decent quality and no conventional produce price-hike b.s. like Whole Foods has. If WF sets down, it's the beginning of the end of what's left of community diversity in Hyde Square and environs. I saw it happen in a friend's neighborhood in Oakland over a two year period. Very quick. Alarmingly so. Whole Foods went in, diversity plummeted, and voila it's another Park Slope.
Comment by Dave on January 14, 2011 at 8:21pm
@Meg & JennieP : Have either of you tried Meatland? If not, why not? They're a great local butcher who has quality product and will get you anything you request.
Comment by Jennie P on January 14, 2011 at 8:18pm

I totally hear you Anna. And I too was very sad when Pupusa Guanaca closed. I fortunately have a few latin markets in my neighborhood where I can get the items you mention steps from my door. But we should be able to get them easily all over JP, and certainly in an area where there has been a long standing demand for them.

@Meg: Whole Foods would directly compete with (and probably threaten the existence of) our locally based City Feed and Harvest. I do hear you about the fish and meat markets, but wouldn't it be better to have a locally sourced market to provide those? City Feed could be approached to add those items to fill in what you can't get at Trader Joe's. JP also badly needs a local farm market. Right now the only local produce we can get within walking distance is at City Feed, and they can only stock so much. The economic thing and preserving JP's existing community is vital.

Comment by The JP Jazztet on January 14, 2011 at 8:15pm
hi-lo is a jp institution and i'm sad to see it go.  it is an important resource for the community and it's hard to imagine it gone.  it will be a stark reminder that the neighborhood is really changing and i wonder about the jobs for those that have worked there for years - hope they get first priority.  that said, your question is a tough one.  obviously trader joes has waaay better prices and we go there for canned goods, dried nuts, seeds, frozen stuff, chocolate, wine, beer, hand soap etc....but in the end, if i need to go to one place, it ends up being whole foods because of the produce and meat/fish/cheese dept.

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