As you know, the Jamaica Plain Gazette and JP Patch are reporting that Whole Foods will be moving into the building currently owned by Hi-Lo Foods - even though Whole Foods has yet to confirm.
Highlights of questions that have been raised so far include: What will be the impacts on local businesses, the Latino and Caribbean communities, traffic, parking patterns, the cost of rent, and properties values?
Given that these impacts could be significant, I propose we need a community process!
We need to educate ourselves about the facts, understand what we can legally influence and how, and ensure that all those potentially impacted are made aware and given the opportunity to participate in the process.
Look at the local farms in Massachusetts that Whole Foods supports:
@Brett - I too would like to respond...
"No impacts need to be considered, and there doesn't need to be a community process. This isn't a country where we get to command what brand may or may not do business in a particular area."
Actually we get to do exactly that. And that's why there's no Domino's in JP. That's why there's Southwest Corridor Park instead of Rt. 93 a block from my house. That's what it means to be legally allowed to organize.
"1)If Hi-Lo was serving a vital need in the area, someone will no doubt take advantage of the plethora of open retail space to start such a business."
I certainly hope so for the sake of Latino and Caribbean residents. But rent is high so it's doubtful that a new business will be able to sell the items for the same prices. I believe the community process that you are so quick to shut down is how the community shows there is a need. It's not up to the individual to do so but should be a community effort.
"2) If you don't like Whole Foods, don't shop there. Patronize the businesses you want to patronize. And if it turns out that nobody wants a Whole Foods and doesn't shop there, they'll go out of business, and someone else will get a shot at the location."
You do realize that residents from nearby communities will begin to drive to JP to shop at Whole Foods, right? So regardless of the fact that a small but significant percentage of the neighborhood can't afford to shop there (or won't find what they're looking for), WH will still do quite fine. And yes, some residents in the neighborhood will be thrilled by the new WH - until the traffic impact is felt. Just ask Brookline residents near Trader Joe's - I'm sure they love the traffic jams, illegally parked cars on their narrow side streets, etc.
"3)Markets operate with pretty low margins, and the name of the game is all about providing what people want to buy. If there are a lot of folks in the area who want the kind of food only Hi-Lo carried, then it'd make sense for WF to carry it as well."
WF isn't obligated to change their business practices to serve the needs of the Latino & Caribbean community. They'll do quite fine without changing a thing (see #2 above). If they do indeed end up opening up in JP, I don't see them graciously deciding to add several aisles of ingredients that were found in Hi-Lo. I do believe that an organized response to WH moving in may elicit a positive response from WH, or a business comparable to Hi-Lo getting financial support to open up elsewhere in JP, or some other positive response.
Doing nothing and expecting a positive outcome? That's not an option if you're in the group that's going to be most adversely affected. If it was your wallet or your family that was being harmed you wouldn't sit back and just accept it as fate? Or would you?
I'm waiting to see how Hyde/Jackson Square Main Street, JPNDC and City Life/Vida Urbana respond. As a white resident I want to support the efforts led by JP organizations that work with the Latino & Caribbean communities so we can identify a resolution that meets their needs.
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