Residents Push for Grocery Shuttle as Johnnie's Closes
The Charlestown store is expected to shut down for renovations by Nov. 19.
With Johnnie’s Foodmaster reportedly closing by Nov. 19, Charlestown residents are urging officials to come up with a plan for shuttling people to supermarkets in Somerville or Chelsea.
At the Charlestown Neighborhood Council meeting Thursday night, several people raised concerns about getting a transportation program up and running—especially with Thanksgiving exactly two weeks away.
One council member said the decision of what to do “should have been made yesterday.”
Danielle Fitzgerald, neighborhood coordinator with the Mayor’s Office, said that the mayor was working with City Councilor Sal LaMattina and the Boston Elderly Commission to come up with a plan to help residents get to a grocery store—likely either Market Basket in Chelsea or Stop and Shop in Somerville.
“We are very aware that this is a very serious concern for all in the community,” Fitzgerald said.
CNC vice chairman David Whelan said the council planned to invite interested partners—possibly representatives from one or both of the nearby supermarkets—to attend an upcoming meeting but that it likely wouldn’t happen until early to mid December.
But some people felt that meeting should happen sooner.
Charlestown resident Melissa Brennan, a former CNC member, said she thought the council should go ahead and post a meeting date for later in November and then work to get interested parties there.
“It’s a hot-button issue, and people need food,” she said.
The Thompson Square Johnnie’s is one of six locations in and around Boston that were recently transferred to Whole Foods. The company plans to remodel all six stores and reopen them in late summer or early fall of 2013.
In the official announcement from Whole Foods, a tentative closing date of Nov. 30 was given, but members of the CNC said Thursday that the store was expected to close earlier, by Nov. 19.
Shortly after the official announcement of the transfer was made in October, the Townie Association set up a petition requesting that transportation be provided to nearby supermarkets and temp jobs be offered to current Johnnie's Foodmaster employees. As of Nov. 8, the online petition had 288 signatures.
What do you think? Should a supermarket shuttle be provided as soon as possible for Charlestown residents? How urgent is the issue? And do you have a preference—Stop and Shop or Market Basket? Tell us in the comments.