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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Whole Foolish

Can someone please explain to me why a proposal to replace one supermarket with another is worthy of armed police at a community meeting?

Even after reading Yvonne Abraham's excellent summary of the battle between Whole Foods and a part of Jamaica Plain I am left scratching my head as how something so mundane can threaten the fabric of a community.

Yes I am aware that store is often known by the name Whole Paycheck and a few tours around the Brighton store have made me a confirmed non-customer. I am also aware that Hi-Lo market served a largely Hispanic population before it closed its doors.

And I am certainly aware that JP has been evolved over my time in Boston -- moving from a sometimes unfriendly and dangerous place to one of Boston's brightest, most vibrant and diverse communities.

It's also true that Hyde Square was long the center of that concern, thanks to the infamous Bromley-Heath development. Not so today.

But it strikes me JP has been a community in transition for quite awhile. As Abraham points out, Hi-Lo is more beloved now than when it was open and the proximity to the Longwood Medical Area has played a significant role in higher property values.

Is there is one community in Boston as open and welcoming to everyone, as JP? I know Whole Foods certainly did not destroy the fabric of a Brighton that has become home to growing Russian population.

So what gives?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its national chains that are the issue in many peoples mind. While the suburbs are saturated with McChains and strip malls, city neighborhoods are more interesting and more desirable places for many people because of the independent businesses that help give them identity. There are organic grocers in JP already, but they are locally owned, so the money stays in the community. With Wal Mart or Whole Foods, low wage jobs are local, but the upper management jobs are in Texas or Arkansas.
Mayor Menino fought a walgreens opening in his neighborhood because of these same reasons, citing the statistic he often puts forth that for a chain, only 5 cents of every dollar stays in the community, while for a local business 50 cents stays in the community. Of course, he supports Whole Foods in this case because its not his community. Would you want a Wal Mart in your neighborhood? Shop at City Feed and Supply or Harvest in JP, support you neighbors.

June 12, 2011 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe some of the upper brass in this store are right from our neighborhood. I'm also confident that some started as baggers. Check your facts.

June 12, 2011 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just went to Wal Mart this week-end to buy jumper cables. (Boat battery ran down). They were cheap, and Made in USA. We shouldn't worry so much about money staying in the immediate area, just look at the labels and buy American. Jobs in Indiana are the same to me as jobs in Methuen, as long as they're not in Shanghai.

June 13, 2011 9:12 AM  

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