Neighbors for Neighbors

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Where will the Latino and Caribbean JP residents who counted on Hi-Lo as an institution for 47 years get the items they need that can't be easily found in Boston?

Rather than debate what organic food store should move in, I'd really like us to explore how to continue to provide the culturally appropriate ingredients that have been vital for many JP residents. Will some local entrepreneur step up to fill in this gap? Can we pressure the new store to carry these items at reasonable prices?

The wonderful diversity of JP is at stake here as this change continues to move us towards two JPs - one that can afford to get in a car and go to multiple shops in and beyond JP to get our organic produce, etc. and one that had a great local spot for ingredients that are difficult to find elsewhere.

We don't have to accept this change without an organized response. We have a history of standing together, JP residents stopped a HIGHWAY from destroying our community in 60s and it's now Southwest Corridor Park. As Margaret Mead so eloquently stated, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

 

 

 

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Comment by Todd on January 17, 2011 at 10:28am
Why not talk to Stop and Shop about further increasing their selection of particular products? They already cater to the neighborhood to some degree and my guess is with Hi Lo closing, they could see that opportunity.
Comment by Rira on January 17, 2011 at 10:24am
Here you go.  Buy the site from Hi-lo and create what you like with the space.
Comment by Marjorie K on January 17, 2011 at 9:01am
I agree with Charles. I would also add to Anna's list the great variety of Caribbean, Colombian, and Brazilian coffee sold at reasonable prices. Where will I buy my Yaucono coffee now?
Comment by Pam Kristan on January 17, 2011 at 8:47am
Robbie -- I'm with you on this. We NEED Hi-Lo to stay Hi-Lo. I love that store. I'm happy to step up with you an ensure that HiLo stays.
Comment by charles faris on January 16, 2011 at 9:59pm
Whoever moves in will want to make money. Let them know what you want to see and then follow up with purchases. Retailers are easy to influence.
Comment by Whit on January 16, 2011 at 6:54pm
Anna, that is a great list!  It's exactly the items I went to Hi-Lo to buy and when they were not spoiled on the shelves it was great.  Weird thing, the one thing that was always cheaper at the Co-Op than at Hi-Lo was tomatillos.  I would add cilantro to this list--I mean cheap cilantro.  Of course you can get it anywhere but it's expensive at the regular grocery store.  There is a ton of new retail space going in down towards Jackson Square.  If there is a demand for those items, then probably someone will open a store there and sell it.  If City Feed could get help to open then it should be a given that they would too--and if it isn't then we should agitate for them to get it.  How about that vegetable store down right near Jackson Sq. station?  I haven't been in there but I wonder how many of the items you listed can be obtained there?
Comment by Anna Sandoval on January 16, 2011 at 6:07pm

@ Dana I would like to respond to your question even though I had already said a bit about this in a previous post. Some of the items that I find are difficult to find elsewhere are the following:

- Banana leaves for tamales

- Corn husks for chuchitos

- Queso fresco and the many types of cheeses including queso de pita, queso seco, queso de capas, etc.

- Tostadas

- Tomatillos to make sauce for enchiladas

- Plantains

- Maseca (yellow corn flour) to make tortillas

- Loroco (seasonal fruit/spice to put on pupusas and other foods)

- When one is feeling lazy they sell canned beans from the different countries

- all the necessary spices to make food taste delicious and even the ketchup I grew up eating (yummy), and the chicken soup that I had as a child when I got sick.

- Wide array of chiles for different dishes from sweet to hot to unberably hot.

 - Breads such as: Pan dulce, pan de muerto, pan de agua, baguettes, pan frances, etc.

There is possibly a couple of stores in Roxbury that carry some of the items but in order to get all the items it does require quite a bit of travel/time/work.

 

 

Comment by Matt L. on January 16, 2011 at 5:27pm
As a person of Chinese descent, I full understand and respect the grocery needs for certain ethnic communitites. I can't get certain veggies at Whole Food, nor are they the cheapest grocer, but IT'S NOT AS IF HI-LO WAS FORCED OUT. They're leaving because it was customers were NOT coming with enough frequency to sustain a viable business. Where was all of this good will a year ago? 5 years ago? If people were coming and Hi-Lo was profitable, Whole Foods would not be in the conversation and at least in our neighborhood, I see an abundance of Whole Foods bags. I would argue Whole Foods definitely fills a need in this community.
Comment by Dana Ortegon on January 16, 2011 at 12:51pm

Robbi:

I can understand the emotional response to changes like this, but the one thing I would recommend is being sensitive to the language that is used. For instance, rather than assuming that you need to "pressure the new store" to take a particular action, perhaps you can approach it in a less combative way. Maybe by asking the new store to work in partnership with the community and to honor the diversity of our community.

 

It would be really helpful if you could  post a short list of the types of items that Hi-Lo carries that would no longer be easy to find. And did you mean that these items can't be easily found in *Boston* or in Jamaica Plain.

Thanks,

Dana

 

Would love to see a list

 

 

 

 

 

Comment by Joseph Porcelli (Chief Neighbor) on January 16, 2011 at 10:32am
Thank you for posting this very important question!

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