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 on January 15, 2011 at 1:51am

1. Why is there an assumption that no new business would emerge to service Hi-Lo's customer base? The market is out there. The business was profitable. Hi-Lo apparently didn't want to be in the business anymore. They chose to sell to another supermarket who may or may not be successful.

2. I don't think anyone who shops at WF would consider any of the below mentioned stores, Harvest or City Feed (or Stop & Shop) to be direct competitors to WF. If that were true, then one could say, why do we need a Hi-Lo when Stop & Shop has a really extensive stocking of Goya products. I really can't imagine shopping at City Feed for groceries regularly due to the incredibly limited selection. As for Harvest, as mentioned earlier, the fact that they are a co-op does not mean that they deserve business or accolades for that alone. If anybody puts Harvest in peril business-wise, it's Harvest.

Comment by Robbie Samuels on January 15, 2011 at 1:06am

I can't believe people are debating Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe's and not seeing that this would be detrimental to many residents. And why do we need a big chain in JP to sell organic food? We already have member-owned Harvest, 2 locally-owned City Feeds, Stop & Shop and TWO farmer's markets. This is what gentrification looks like and I wonder what City Life/Vida Urbana and JPNDC are doing about this. I hope we can support their efforts.


It's time to organize. Even if WF moves in (TJs isn't even an option so why did you start this debate??) they should definitely be pressured to provide reasonably priceditems similar to what was found in the Hi-Lo so the Latino community isn't left to fend for themselves.


We live in a diverse neighborhood and that's part of what makes it so great. Perhaps this message board doesn't represent the demographics of the neighborhood but I hope we can find a way to work together so ALL of our community benefits.

Comment by Linda Burnett on January 14, 2011 at 11:44pm

I think a collection of smaller shops tailored to a variety of economic strata, as an earlier member suggested, would be a good use for this space.  I immediately think of the Hispanic community: where are they going to shop when Hi-Lo is gone?  Will we all have to schlepp down to Stop & Shop, or worse, DRIVE and further muck up traffic on an already horribly congested stretch of Centre Street?

We already have great sources for local and organic products -- let's not bring in a monolithic purveyor of these items.  It will imperil the Harvest Co-Op (Higher prices?? Remember -- this store is member-owned!!), City Feed (locally-owned -- both locations) and even the smaller mom-and-pops that have been fixtures in Hyde Square for decades.

Comment by Nicole Pittman on January 14, 2011 at 11:24pm
Oh man!! Either would be WONDERFUL! First I was thinking Trader Joe's given the price, and anything you can't find there is easily found at City Feed or Harvest. Whole Foods would be nice for the ready-made food and/or salad bar though!! I realize it's sad that a neighborhood institution will be shutting down, but I personally don't shop there, I drive to Brighton or Brookline every time. A Whole Foods or Trader Joe's would mean less driving and more walking. Also I could buy fewer groceries more often, leading to less wasted food. Maybe Whole Foods could cater to the Latino population of this area as well as those of us who would really appreciate a WF so close.
Comment by Sheila on January 14, 2011 at 11:15pm
And, City Feed is not affordable AT ALL!
Comment by Sheila on January 14, 2011 at 11:15pm

Very true on TJ's produce - not good. Stop and Shop isnt a great alternative.

Comment by Nevart Hamamjian on January 14, 2011 at 10:59pm
Whole Foods, definitely!!!! There's a TJ's on Longwood and Whole Foods treats their employees really well. FYI, there are TWO farmers' markets in JP -- behind Bank Boston and at Community Servings.
Comment by Anna on January 14, 2011 at 10:45pm

i always think its sad to see local businesses close, but being that that's the case... i personally don't think WF coming in will take business away from city feed or harvest. I don't shop at harvest because the prices are more ridiculous than whole foods, (still, i shop at the one in central sq sometimes because its near my work) and let's face it - i can't afford to be a martyr for the food i eat on this salary. plus, i can NEVER get everything i need from the one in JP, creating the need for multiple trips. We drive to trader joes in brookline for groceries every week, so in my case, it would take business away from trader joes. I will always pick up random items from city feed because its a few doors down - but who could afford to buy all of their groceries from city feed anyway?

when it comes to prefernce of WF vs TJ's - I say whole foods all the way. Yes TJs is cheaper, but their produce is SUCH poor quality, there is so little organic food, their source/policies are less transparent, and unless you've worked at both places or have closely followed their labor practices, arguments to that affect carry little clout. WF is a corporate chain, yes. would i prefer it to be an affordable co-op? yes! but i'd still be happy to have a WF in the neighborhood!

Comment by Pascale Martineau on January 14, 2011 at 10:44pm

I like them both, but I'd have to say Trader Joe's hands down! About the same selections as Whole Foods but better prices. Plus Trader Joe's has a homier feel - it would definitely fit well in JP. And since we have Blanchard's already, we're not missing out on TJ's lack of liquor license.

I agree with Michael Christopher, Harvest Coop has ass selections, the one in Central Square is so much better.

Comment by Michael Christopher on January 14, 2011 at 10:40pm

Why is this even a question?  Trader Joe's is NOT moving in the space - Whole Foods is.  And as for if it were a Trader Joe's, they couldn't sell alcohol because of the limited licenses allowed in the state to a single business.  Personally, either one would be a great improvement, because Harvest is pathetic in both it's selection, staff and most importantly, "fresh" fruits and vegetables (It also didn't help that one of its workers was whistling "Frère Jacques" at an earsplitting level for the entirety of the time I was in there tonight picking up a few things). City Feed is ok, but too small, and while the Ghetto Stop and Shop has improved greatly over the past year, but honestly, like I said - none of this matters.  The decision has been made.

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