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.
Well if we really want to have this conversation on representation we should then open a discussion to those who are the main clients of Hi-Lo at the moment, the primarily lower income latino population. I would very much caution into making any statement of "we the JP community" because there are a variety of communities here. Unless those whom will be impacted the most by this closure and any other changes happening in this sub-section of JP are asked directly and brought into the conversation it's impossible to create a full representive voice.
I would vote for Trader Joes... But what we really need is a European style "Markt Halle" ... i.e a market Building run by? JPNDC Main Streets... HYDE Square Task force....The City of Boston..(Is time for the Mayor and the city Council to get involved in a progressive creative small business promoting way). A Building where several food vendors could operate. A sort of mini Hay Market. Its a perfect time for it. Low cost investment several vendors paying lower rent could certainly bring in enough rent to cover that space. There is a huge parking lot this building could accomodate several entrepreneurial business's of all stripes and in summer would be a great farmers market. There are already several small food business in the Hyde Square Heath area so this will be an adjunct to it. And also a great magnet to get people to come out to JP.
We do not need anymore high capitol investment low local return business. That is from the old way of later stage capitalism. We need more diverse economic growth opportunities with low entry costs in to the business mix.
This market idea will work for everyone....
I think this is tragic for the Latino community. Hi-Lo has provided many of us with staple foods that we cannot find elsewhere and that are important to our sense of identity. One of the reasons why many people talk about liking JP is because of the "diversity" and for me an anchor of this diversity is the ability to find the main ingredients to put together a traditional Central American meal without having to go all the way to Chelsea to find the ingredients. Hi-Lo is part of what makes the community diverse and interesting - the loss of an anchor where a variety of food can be found is a loss that the Latino community will feel deeply.
The move of a high end establishment such as Whole Foods will undoubtedly provide many food options for other new and well established populations, but not to the Latino and Caribbean community who until now have served as the anchor of the "Latin quarter." I worry that Whole Foods will not carry any of the foods that allowed me personally to make a home so far away from my own roots or if they do it will be so out of my own price range and the price range of the lower income population.
This is of course part of a process of gentrification. I wonder where are the voices of those who have opposed the entry of Dominoes Pizza and Starbucks into the neighborhood. A good conversation about the long term consequences of bringing in a high end retailer into the Latin Quarter needs to happen. I just hope it's one that takes into account the fact that there are forces of class, race, gentrification, and urban changes taking place and that these changes will undoubtedly have negative (as well as positive) consequences for the lives of members of the community.
If this is true, I will grieve the loss of my source of comfort food.
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