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 Sheila on January 14, 2011 at 7:49pm
@Marlo, I certainly dont advocate for a starbucks. But, why is Hi-Lo shutting down is the real question. My experiences there havent been positive, and I dont think its that affordable. JP is a neighborhood as old as the basements in a bunch of our houses - just look at what used to be horse carriages, and its a neighborhood that is awesome because it has changed a lot, and always supported diversity - thats obvious. I think they probably ran into a cash issue, some of that is rent related I'm sure, but is it possible that they didnt cater to everyone in the area? I think it might be. Or maybe, after 47 years, they were just ready to retire. Who knows? So, if there has to be something new, then I advocate for trader joes - I have been to many throughout MA and they are reasonable $$$ wise, and they do stock things if you ask for them. I also think they are way more measured in their inventory based on demographics then Whole Foods would be. I dont want a whole foods here.
Comment by Anna Sandoval on January 14, 2011 at 7:45pm

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.

Comment by Jennifer B. on January 14, 2011 at 7:43pm
TJs. Whole Foods=Whole Paycheck. It is WAY too expensive for our community.  It's terribly sad that Hi Lo is going to go, but at least what comes in its place can have reasonably priced options for our neighbors, good quality, and good variety.
Comment by Andrew Brilliant on January 14, 2011 at 7:37pm

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....

Comment by Eric on January 14, 2011 at 7:37pm
Trader Joe's is not involved in the sale of Hi-Lo, so I'm a bit confused as why they are being discussed. I don't think we can force Trader Joe's to open a store there.
Comment by Joseph Porcelli (Chief Neighbor) on January 14, 2011 at 7:35pm
@ Marlo - great point. If I change the title of the blog post, it will break the URL. I add it to the body. Multi-tasking-poorly.
Comment by Jen Capell on January 14, 2011 at 7:22pm
Trader Joe's - as someone else mentioned, getting to the Trader Joe's in Brookline is really hard without a car, and also Trader Joe's is more financially accessible to more people
Comment by Anna Sandoval on January 14, 2011 at 7:21pm

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.

Comment by Matt on January 14, 2011 at 7:19pm
Trader Joe's!
Comment by Jennie P on January 14, 2011 at 7:12pm
@Marlo: 1) I don't have a car, and I'm sure I'm one of many, so it takes forever for me to get to Trader Joe's.  Ever tried to get there on the T and home with eight bags of groceries?  2) I shop at Hi-Lo as well, and I like that I can shop in my own neighborhood at a non-corporate market that carries foods few other stores can provide  3) You will probably find that most people on Neighbors for Neighbors are pro-JP small business, have no interest in Starbucks, and that's why this whole thing with Hi-Lo closing and gentrification happening in Hyde Square is upsetting.

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