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Whole Foods official announces it's opening a store in Jamaica Plain


According to the Boston Globe, it's official, Whole Foods announced toda that it plans to open a store in Jamaica Plain in the building currently occupied by Hi-Lo. Here are some quotes from the Globe Article:
“Whole Foods Market has been keenly interested in developing a Jamaica Plain location. We are now eager to become active members of such a strong, diverse neighborhood and to open a store that is reflective of the vibrant community,” Laura Derba, Whole Foods Market North Atlantic regional president, said in a statement.
"In keeping with the company’s mission, Whole Foods Market plans to source a wide variety of products that meet its strict quality standards as well as the diverse needs of their shoppers"

More info available on JP Patch


LETS DISCUSS: What are your thoughts about this?

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Comment by Gretchen on January 19, 2011 at 5:19pm

Whole Foods has a facebook page, on which I just posted the following:

"I live in Jamaica Plain MA, where I gather a new store will be opening in the place of a Hi-Lo market that has been there for almost 50 years.  Along with being a general grocery store, it has provided for the Hispanic  members of our neighborhood a broad range of products and produce that are hard to find elsewhere.  I hope WF will be able to hire many if not all of the HiLo employees, and keep those products on the new shelves along with their traditional products.  Including both these employees and the produce etc. in a Jamaica Plain Whole Foods, would be very much in keep with what makes JP so wonderful.  
Oh, and it could be dangerous for me to have your vegan ginger cookies that close!"


I would hope WF has already thought these thoughts, but nudges might help.

Now I'll go back to worrying about City Feed!  

Comment by Pete Stidman on January 19, 2011 at 5:17pm

First of all, beware of ringers on here. The former CEO of Whole Foods was investigated by the SEC for posing as a shareholder on a blog debating something or other, so it's not a tactic they're ignorant to.


I have to say I'm not shocked that some on here support such a thing—but I take that as another sign that the neighborhood is becoming Brookline or Harvard Square. JP has long had a unique character and I'd hate to see that slowly destroyed by national chain stores. Let's not have illusions—Whole Foods gets most of its food out of California, not local producers. It has stores in the U.K. It's a mega corp that will threaten our locally grown businesses City Feed and Harvest, not to mention raising rents throughout Hyde Square, which will displace other local businesses and residents. It's not a bout staying "funky" but about staying true to JP's roots and its people. I have always loved JP because it is not like other neighborhoods. And also—are you all ready for hundreds of cars from Rozzie, West Rox, Brookline and the rest of the city coming down Centre and the J-way? A cyclist was killed just outside Trader Joes in Brookline a year or so ago. And that Hi-Lo parking lot is way too small to handle that influx. Anyone know if there is any zoning change request at all, or any attention to the parking/traffic issue?

Comment by Jennie P on January 19, 2011 at 5:15pm

@Jordan W: you're exactly right, and why is it that that is the case? Why do forums like this not reach every part of the community? And how can we have a dialog that extends to everyone in our community, not just some who happen to hear about it and whose first language is English, I might add. I think that many people become marginalized because they come to expect it, and there is little or no motivation to fight it. Also: a reminder to all of us: not everyone has a computer or uses the internet in this way!

I hope that in the coming weeks as word spreads more that there will be more community involvement than our little debate going on here in this online forum.

Comment by Whit on January 19, 2011 at 5:12pm
The "saplings" were the sweet little new businesses that would gain light from the tree's falling.  I was not referring to Whole Foods as a sapling.  I was, however, addressing you directly as you correctly gathered.
Comment by Raymond Santos on January 19, 2011 at 5:11pm

I wonder how many people commenting on this actually shopped at Hi-Lo? If you know anything about Hispanic and Caribbean cuisine, and have shopped at chain supermarkets, you will know that many of the ingredients that make the food so flavorful, can't be found in a standard market. That's why the Hispanic community, in particular, is going to feel the void, at least in the short term. Sure, you can get plantains and rice at Stop & Shop and, hopefully Whole Foods, but what you can't get is the flavor of the Latino community. 


That being said, Whole Foods in JP is perfect. Let's not ignore however; the real problems that are going to come from this. 

Comment by Eric on January 19, 2011 at 5:10pm

Jennie, if I recall you thought that a Trader Joe's would be "AWESOME." In capital letters. I'm a bit confused by why one "corporate giant" retailer that does not focus on latin groceries would be different than another "corporate giant" retailer. Would that not attract the clientele (and current members of the diverse community you now live in)that you derogatorily describe below?


One of the unfortunate aspects of all this debate has been the false choices that have been consistently presented by some commenters. It seems to be that if WF opens that JP is "lost" and that if WF doesn't open then everything will stay exactly the same way it does right now just exactly how we like it.


That's just not true. You can have a WF and have economic diversity and you can not have a WF and have no economic diversity. During this debate when I was reading people suggesting a full time farmer's market, a Russo's, I mean, I was waiting to hear La Boqueria. All of these supposedly "better" options (from those fearing gentrification from Whole Foods) would have attracted far more new residents to JP and increased the demand for housing.


I support affordable housing. I support strong tenant laws. I support economic diversity. I support racial diversity. I also support creating a long-term effective way of ensuring that those goals are reached. But as much as anyone wants to imply that this is a referendum or final decision on the achievement of those goals, it is not.

Comment by Jennie P on January 19, 2011 at 5:08pm

Support Local Farmers and Fishermen! Why pay for your food to be transported across thousands of miles when you can save money and support the local community by purchasing high-quality, fresh organic produce, meat and fish from local farms and fisheries. Pick up is easy and the food is fresh – picked or caught that day.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) listing for Metro Boston

Comment by Rebecca Henson on January 19, 2011 at 5:07pm

I hope our community will help encourage Whole Foods to keep the beautiful art-adorned wall that faces Perkins St.

Comment by Jordan W on January 19, 2011 at 5:05pm

@Jennie P "More like "products that meet the diverse needs of their incoming, white upper middle class, condo-buying, rent-increasing shoppers""




 Whole Foods did their market research before they chose this location.  Hi Lo is leaving because it can't survive, plain and simple.  The niche market it is serving cannot provide it with an adequate income stream to maintain a profit margin.  Is it the economics of gentrification? Probably.  Does that mean that Whole Foods is somehow failing "our" community? 


I've yet to hear the moral outcry from anyone who actually shops there - from those seemingly silent but soon to be alienated members of our community who are losing their access to staple foods.  Where are they in this debate?  Probably not on white upper middle class, condo-buying, rent-increasing neighbors for neighbors...  

Comment by Rebecca F (community manager) on January 19, 2011 at 5:05pm
I shopped at Hi-Lo when I wanted good inexpensive produce. BTW I'm pretty sure that I'm commenting on this site. There was a bunch of cilantro for a buck or so and 10 limes for a couple bucks. BTW, I'm also pretty sure that others who shopped there also comment on this website.

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