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

Neighbors,

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 Andrew Joslin on January 20, 2011 at 5:39pm

I'd like to see Whole Foods challenged to reduce the environmental and quality of life impact of what's going to be significantly increased traffic in the north end of Jamaica Plain. JP is already at the limit of what it can handle for truck and auto traffic (wall-to-wall!). How about some incentives in place for foot, bike and bus customers?

How about hosting a farmer's market in part of the parking lot once or twice a week as a credible nod to supporting local product and cooperation with the community? How about a community space in the building for education, community meetings, performance etc. Whole Foods has plenty to gain from a JP location, what are they willing to give back?

-AJ

Comment by Rebecca Henson on January 20, 2011 at 4:54pm

I think it is important and healthy to discuss our thoughts on Whole Foods moving to JP. But regardless of our opinions on this, it appears that decisions have been made and that it is more than likely that the company will be moving into our neighborhood. So, what can we do to get the most out of this situation?

Are we interested in drafting a memo to Whole Foods from the 'JP community' reinforcing our desires to see that they attempt to serve our unique community in a unique way (ie greater selection of products from Latin America, specific community support to initiatives that we know are important to JP residents, please don't tear down the Taino Indian mural on the back of the building, etc)? What can we do to best articulate our hopes/demands for this new store that will occupy such a central spot in our neighborhood?

Comment by EMDWyman on January 20, 2011 at 2:25pm

I see the positives and negatives of WF coming in - it's saddest to me that another business (eg. Hi Lo Foods) is having to shut down, especially after such a long life.

 

Like several who have commented here, I'm most concerned about how many businesses in the Hyde Square area have had to close or move of late. Anyone know what community groups in JP we might be able to work with to try and support new businesses getting started and thriving in the short-term, with hopes to get more active and supportive landlords in the long-term?

 

Comment by Erin A. on January 20, 2011 at 10:32am

Just interested why nobody is angry at City Feed being in the neighborhood when their pricing is comparable, if not higher, than Whole Foods. I bought a TINY BAG of Pirate Booty yesterday there for $1.59.  Downtown at a locally run indie store near my work this sells for $1.  City Feed sandwiches are nearly $8 (and delicious).  Where is the moral outrage about their lack of affordable options for local people?  If you're going to be angry about affordability, you can't apply that yardstick to only certain businesses.

 

I have shopped WF many times and been surprised that deals can be had there, and on quality items.  I also have shopped Hi Lo and to me it was the very example of how people who are poor do not always pay the lowest price for items in local stores.  Cafe Bustelo had a great price there, but much of the (frequently substandard) produce did not.  I am sure that the people defending Hi Lo's loss are sad they will no longer be able to run out and get bull testicles, pig ears, and tripe - all staples of the meat aisle there - without visiting Meatland (Hog's heads still on sale!) just 6 blocks away in Jackson Square.   I will miss Hi Lo for sure, but this whining about Whole Foods destroying JP seems really misplaced. 

 

As for WF's commitment to local sourcing see:  http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/locally-grown/  and quality standards:  http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/quality-standards.php

 

And it is going to bring a lot of life into Hyde Square, help other businesses there, wonderful news for that area.

Comment by Rebecca Henson on January 20, 2011 at 10:14am
Comment by Erin A. on January 20, 2011 at 10:02am
In a word - YAY - welcome Whole Foods!
Comment by Todd on January 20, 2011 at 10:01am
Pat, thank you for injecting more facts into the discussion.
Comment by Ryan Durkin on January 20, 2011 at 9:56am

Like many of the other posters, I'm optimistic that building this Whole Foods will inject some life into Hyde Square. A little extra traffic couldn't hurt the businesses in the area! Hopefully after a grocery trip WF shoppers will drop into Miami Restaurant for a Cuban Special, Brendan Behans for a Guiness or Pumpkin for an "I <3 JP" tattoo.

WF is hardly the worst giant corporation that could descend on our neighborhood. It will be important though, to hold this "regional president" person to her word of the corporation being an "active member" of the neighborhood. I expect WF to support things like local athletics, community groups and outreach (as they have been known to do).

Comment by Pat Roberts on January 20, 2011 at 8:10am

David, here are a couple of links that corroborate what I said--that Tony Harnett bought a natural foods store in Brookline called Bread and Circus.  He and his wife didn't start it.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company/history.php#4

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-8763891.html

I used to shop there when it was owned by the young couple who sold it to Tony, and then used to have conversations with Tony after he bought it, about his plans and aspirations for the store.  It's neat to see that his plans, which sounded unrealistically optimistic at the time, were realized in such an impressive way.

Comment by Breton Hornblower on January 19, 2011 at 10:48pm
+1 Maura, buoying the local economy is a positive thing. I walk by all the empty store fronts and find it really sad. I'm interested in knowing what people who recently invested in the area (ie. Canary Square and The Haven) think. I would like people to invest in this area and for it to grow. There is no reason to see any more vacancies on our main thoroughfare. I also don't understand why people are trying to tar and feather Whole Foods. I have yet to see compelling evidence they will "tear at the fabric of our community".

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