Nine Months of Whole Foods News: A Look Back
Ever since the JP Gazette broke the news in January that Whole Foods planned to come to Hyde Square, its been the talk of the neighborhood — and, to a surprising degree, the nation.
This morning, Whole Foods Market opened its Jamaica Plain store. That capped a nine-month flurry of media coverage that began when the JP Gazette broke the story on Jan. 19, 2011 that the upscale grocer would replace Hi-Lo Foods. The owners of the property, Knapp Foods, signed a long-term lease with Whole Foods. Here are some of the highlights of that coverage, both from JP Patch and elsewhere.
- "A Whole Foods Fight in Boston" — The Wall Street Journal weighed in with a report showing that many Latino small business owners support Whole Foods' arrival.
- Of course, you can visit the store now. But over the weekend, Whole Foods offered media tours to, among others, blogger Steve Garfield, the JP For All/JP Para Todos Facebook page, the Boston Globe, JP Patch and El Mundo, whose offices are just around the corner from the store.
- "Whole Foods and the Future of Jamaica Plain" — Radio Boston's coverage included this April roundtable with supporters and detractors of the new store.
- "Police Arrest Three Persons, Shut Down 'Town Hall' Meeting" — Whole Foods held a meeting at the Curley School in June, which police shut down after protesters had hung one banner from a balcony and then attempted to unfurl another one in the auditorium. This JP Patch report garnered 348 comments, the most of any story published thus far on JP Patch.
- The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council took a central role in the debate over Whole Foods coming. The volunteer advisory board narrowly voted in March to support a statement that Whole Foods was "not a good fit" for Hyde Square. The group then started an ad-hoc committee which, after much debate, released a report containing recommendations. In the end, Whole Foods rejected the JPNC's desire for working out a formal Community Benefits Agreement, saying they would use their normal policies on giving back to the communities where they have stores.
- State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, who represents JP, waded into the debate. Initially she called on Whole Foods to break its lease unless it created a fund to help mitigate the potential negative effects of gentrification. She later backed off that position, saying that as a senator she had no power to interfere in a private transaction.
- Opponents, saying Whole Foods would worsen the negative effects of gentrification, created a lot of their own media, including videos. It is collected at the Whose Foods? Whose Community? Web site.
For a complete archive of JP Patch coverage of Whole Foods, please see the Whole Foods topic page.