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POLL: What Grocery Chain Would You Prefer?

Which grocery chain would you want to see in town?

Charlestown Patch readers demonstrated strong and divided reactions to Thursday's news that in Charlestown (and five other locations).

Over on our Facebook page, the following comments served as strong examples of those opposed to the project:

  • Donna Henderson OBrien: Great: another slap at the elderly and the poor.
  • Sonny N Nichole Blackstone: Lets just make it more expaensive to live in Charlestown that way the people who made the town what it is cant live there no more

Back on the thread from the article itself, Whole Foods got a fair amount of support, including the following comments:

  • Joseph: Fresh produce at WF (not organic) is cheaper than Johnnies. Fact! The pasta and sauces are similar in prices. The frozen dinners, similar. WF has a generic label and it's very tasty!
  • Mum22: While I feel for the people that relied on Johnnies as their main food source, I'm thrilled that we'll have a neighborhood market that isn't filled with overly-processed "food". Whole Foods has a significantly healthier selection of foods. Yes, you may pay more, but every single study done on the subject says that the more you pay for food, the less you pay for healthcare.

A number of other readers said they woudl prefer neither chain—which got us thinking: if you could choose ANY grocery chain to be where the Johnnie's is now, which would you go with?

Mary C. Long September 02, 2012 at 06:31 PM
You're right, I'm sorry. Saying "the government is watching via its scope on a rifle" isn't paranoid - its completely effin delusional. And my frustration with anonymous folks extends only to those who abuse it (like you). Others, like ctownBOS said above are just being cautious. I don't know the other folks you mention and I've lived all over the US. And finally - ill post when I feel like it and I didn't ask anyone to "moderate" anything. Unlike you, I don't fear "the thought police." Nor do I work for them (as I'm guessing you'll accuse next! Lol
Charlestown joe September 02, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Hey Larry fine: Why not start a "friends of Bunker Hill St/Medford Sts. and get some volunteers! that seems to work.
Mary Catherine's nemesis September 02, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Now Mary Catherine, that is your name right, you've said: "But, whatever. Speaking of real world, Ive spent too much time here today. Will check back in a few days or so." ---Yet you keep coming back for more and attack and deny that we have a government that is far too involved in our lives and does actually monitor, watch, challenges the democratic process and people power, asassinates people, and concocts world-wide conflicts to guarantee outcomes in its interests--and because someone asserts this, they are paranoid. I don't think you are too well read or informed and you, like that vast majority of sheep people, are being lead to slaughter--the Mid-East conflicts and the dead youth sent back in black body bags-case in point. Keep on supporting the corporate controlled US govenment and its global police keeping missions and keep coming back to the Patch to assail people who know better and be shaken out of your comfort zone and complacency and don't call it masochism.
John Stella September 03, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I'm for whatever keeps us with a job actually. I also like knowing what I'm buying and some generic brand of products that are forsfed to us I'm all about me and my friends having a job. None of us know whats going on. We know about as much as an outside consumer. What if they have thier own people already? Do I have to interview for my job I've had for 8 years?
Mary C. Long September 03, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Ima, mouthy, sick of stupid - and now you're my nemesis too? Goodness -you win! You obviously need this MUCH more than I do. I guess I can see the point of a screen name now as this is creepy. Signed, Masochist Mary
John Stella September 03, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Mary C. Long, what are you getting so pissed about? I did'nt even mention you. I'm a bad person cause I'm worried about job security and I know what I like to eat? Damn, I was gonna give you a chance and not rip you apart like everyone else has. Can you be right and everyone else is wrong? Happy to be your nemesis. Love John Stella.
Mary C. Long September 03, 2012 at 02:54 AM
What, John Stella?! I was responding to the person going by Ima, mouthy, sick of stupid and "my nemesis" (they're all the same person) - my comment wasn't directed to you. Scroll up.
John Stella September 03, 2012 at 03:10 AM
I apolgize Mary. I thought it could have been a synanom like lol or lmao. I messed up by calling you out...but I have been spot on with everything I wrote about Supermarkets and job security.
Mary C. Long September 03, 2012 at 03:16 AM
I agree with what you wrote! I was about to reply and say that sucks when I saw your note. lol. To get back to what I was saying here originally, just because Townies are slowly being replaced by wealthier neighbors, it doesn't mean they don't count. It shouldn't mean that, at least. And I think many newcomers to the town DO see value in working together, but the elitist (and loud) minority make them all look bad & make working together VERY difficult (and same goes for coocoo self-proclaimed Townie spokespersons - like my stalkerish "nemesis" - who also represent a small portion of the town but shout loudly). And it's too bad, really.
cass September 03, 2012 at 10:19 AM
I believe a solution that could work for Charlestown is Wegmans. I have made the trip out to Northborough several times and it is beyond worth it. Wegmans is a chain that provides phenominal customer service and products at an affordable price. Even better is that they offer a range in products, so if you want a $20 steak you can get it, or you can get a large packge of quality ground beef for $3.99. This would allow more residents to have their needs met. They are trying to grow their presence in the Boston area and I think Charlestown could be a great fit for them. It's Whole Foods quality at Market Basket prices.
Charlestown joe September 03, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Just like to make a comment,as we all would like to see our favorite supermarket there, WF unfortunately is the one that is buying, I believe it is like six locations that are johnnies food master. Please correct me if I am wrong.That WF is buying! So with that said, can we stop all this name calling and arguing,it is really getting bad out here. It isn't that all these food chains are bidding on the spot in the mall! Thank you.
Roweena Thompson September 03, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Despite what Townies, Toonies, transplants, life-longers, short-term renters, elite Navy yard residents, and dilapadated public housing dwellers want, Whole Foods will get what it wants. WF is a large corporation, it is bedfellows with your local government. There was overwhelming opposition to WF in Jamaica Plain. They have a very fine local organic grocer there already--City Feed and Supply (run by two long term residents and their local staff, and buying local grown in operation for more than 10 years), yet all local council and City Hall approvals were granted despite public sentiment against, protest and objection. All for One, One for All and One Grocer MegaCorporation for you. Their is no choice, You have no voice.
Sick of Stupid September 03, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Have any of you ever thought beyond the silly Townie/Toonie class war you are waging? Do you look around you to see change that is other than who was there first!? Do you see all the growth around C.Town. For example; maybe Whole Foods is banking on the future, because you are stuck in the past. Do you see the demolition and soon to be new construction of housing right behind the mall? Do you realize that the college, just over the bridge, enrolls 13,000 students and its associated staff of nearly 1000 employees. So you realize MGH is expanding and Spaulding will take occupancy of its Navy Yard facility with it's clients, patients and staff. Sooner or later the lamentable public housing projects will be raised and re-build accommodating even more residents, similar to the Mission Hill projects. With the Sullivan Sq. and New Rutherford Ave. improvements, large scale development will follow. Yet most of you want to complain about Townies -vs- Toonies! If you want rampant change to slow down, if you want a role in the process, if you want a voice in progress--then vote in the appropriate public servants and legislate term limits to curb long-term pols from making nice bedfellows with big business and corpoarate AmeriKa who are selling you out!
Sick of Stupid September 03, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Mary Catherine Long, Why is it creepy to know who you are? No one is stalking you -just replying to your public posts. You're "virtually" out-there or do you forget. Your writing style, no matter your moniker is obvious. You have a web site, a blog, you are a writer (of sorts) you purport to be a publicist etc. It is easy to put two and two together especially since you have been active ever since you began to promote your "chapter 1" on the local Patch although your various bios relate you live in Cali! Why do you weigh in on CTown matters, given you are in Northern California. I suppose you just can't help yourself get some local attention for that drivel you call story telling! Talk about transparent. You're a blow-hard-keep yourself and your long-distance observations on the West Coast!
Tim September 05, 2012 at 12:02 PM
I have no dog in this fight. I shop at Johnnies, WF, Market Basket, Trader Joe's and Stop and Shop. The reality is that one store isn't going to make everyone happy; the crazy part is that people can't seem to acknowledge that people with a different points of view have valid points. Grab a beer and relax. I've been thinking about this for a few days, since the news broke. I don't really know how I feel, but here's what I'm thinking: 1. Demoulas / Market Basket aren't going to open a store in a space that small; they rely on high volume to price as low as they do. Look at Somerville and Chelsea; those stores are huge. 2. There are a lot of elderly people who rely on Johnnies - not just for convenience, but for the pick up / drop off service. Johnnies is important to them; don't just brush off their needs. If some new store comes in, it would be cool if they'd continue the pick up / drop off service. 3. Johnnies isn't cheap, especially for produce/meat/seafood. I almost never buy this stuff here because it goes bad in a day or two, and it isn't cheap. The sales can be good if there's stuff on there that you buy. 4. Whole Foods has good stuff, but you have to pay attention to prices so you don't end up with a 90 dollar bottle of olive oil. Whole Foods also doesn't have the standard brands/products, so it could be difficult for the elderly to shop there. 5. Grocery stores don't change neighborhoods; the gentrification has already happened when they move in.
Tim September 05, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Also, another grocery store, maybe a S&S is opening across from the Garden in the new construction, by the back side of the Grand Canal. I think it's supposed to be a Stop and Shop. They're a rip off too, but it's another option.
Anne Flink September 06, 2012 at 12:27 PM
I just don't live well enough for Whole Foods to make sense. I like my Diet Coke, my Lays chips, my Edy's ice cream. To say nothing of my Glad, Bounty, Cottonelle, Fantastik and Tide. Can't get any of that at Whole Foods, can I?
ctownBOS September 06, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Yes, you cant get certain brands but WF has so much more to offer. I was skeptical at first because they didnt have all the brands i was accustomed to. But then I asked myself (not really but you get it) why should I be a slave to crappy corp brands...especially as their only real goal is to make food taste as good as possible for as cheap as possible which means chemicals, artificial this and that, fillers, cancer causing crap, etc. The thing I like about WF or Trader Joes, is you dont have to worry about checking the label on everything you purchase. THis is not to say all is healthy at these stores. Many foods are full of natural fat and sugar and calories, but its easy to tell which they are by what type of food it is and dont have to examine the label to see if your killing yourself. Seriously, you will like WF once you try it. And they will cater to the type of neighborhood they are in. They want to succeed. Their store will be different in many respects as far as offering from a store in Newton or Wellsley. This is (hope and) change that will actually be delivered and welcome. Keep and open mind!
M Donahue September 06, 2012 at 02:12 PM
If I remember correctly, the Whole Foods at MGH also offers delivery for orders of orders of $50 and up. Maybe they will have this available at the Charlestown location Also, 10% off if you buy things buy the case like waters, etc. Just another little perk. I don't know their delivery rates, but for those who shop Peapod it may be comparable.
Gina September 06, 2012 at 03:01 PM
I am not surprised, but I can not believe what a mess this is becoming. I do not make a ton of money, but I don't care if WF comes or not. Johnnie's is not the most reasonable market out there, but it is convenient. I am just happy to have a grocery store in town. WF does have a lot of organic items which do cost a bit more, but so does Johnnie's! They definitely have cheaper alternatives. Their meats and bakes goods are of a quality that highly surpasses those at Johnnie's. Humans are resistant to change, but we just need to deal with it. Although we live and shop here , it is not up to us! Progression is a good thing people!
Joseph September 06, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Ace Hardware for your paper products and cleaning agents, CVS for your snacks. Both even give you "reward points" that Johnnies does not.
Alphanaut September 06, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Great points Gina!
WD September 06, 2012 at 08:01 PM
A co-op is what all the residents could benefit from moving in - too bad they only operate up north. http://www.coopfoodstore.coop/about
WD September 06, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Here is the co-op vision - can't the CNC and influential neighborhood members think about forming our own market to serve the whole community instead of focusing efforts on WF opposition? 1. The Upper Valley will have a retail source of food that is affordable, healthy, grown and/or processed locally to the fullest extent possible. 2. There will be economic value returned to the community via charitable contributions, outreach projects, patronage refunds to member and other avenues. 3. Customers and staff will be better educated about food issues and, as a result, make healthier choices. 4. There will be a vibrant cooperative sector in the economy, both nationally and regionally, and a local community educated in the value of cooperative principles and enterprises. 5. The cooperative’s bioregion will have a vibrant local agricultural community and that community will, in turn, have a reliable retail market for its products. 6. There will be a major source of employment in the community that provides personal satisfaction to employees, livable wages and financial security for employees and their families. 7. There will be a thriving business organization that protects and restores the environment.
Marie September 11, 2012 at 06:55 PM
There is only one shopping mall in Charlestown and only enough space for one large market store. That single store must serve the needs of the entire community. There may be a lot of yuppies in Charlestown but there are many ederly and poor folks who will not be able to afford Whole Foods. Also, may of the workers in Johnnie's have been there for years and they are sure to lose their jobs if Whole Foods comes in. I shop at Johnnies and also at Whole Foods near the MGH. Most of the more affluent Charlestown residents drive and can easily get to a nearby Whole Foods location but the less fortunate and older residents will not have this access. Really, when did people become so indifferent to the situations of their fellow neighbors!
Owen September 11, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Marie, Please stop with the "yuppie" business. I live in Charlestown, I am not oiriginally from here, and I want a Whole Foods in the neighborhood...and I'm the farthest thing from a "yuppie". I'm enlisted in the Coast Guard, hardly a bastion of yuppie activity. Seriously, give it a rest. Also, what statistics do you have for us that proves your point? Let's see the hard numbers that prove WF will be bad for Charlestown.
Toonie September 11, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Give it a rest. Honestly. The fact is that Johnnies is expensive as well. If you can afford to shop at Johnnies, you can afford to shop at Whole Foods and maybe even become more healthy for it. If you disagree, then you're simply whining for the sake of hearing yourself whine. As for the workers...if they're good employees they should keep their jobs. I hope they all do. But you know what, companies buy each other out every day. It's part of living in the USofA. Life goes on.
ctownBOS September 11, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I agree. If the employees are competent / solid workers, they will get a new job with better pay and benefits at WF. If they are immature, lazy and incompetent, they dont. I know this mindset goes against the new American way of giving handouts to those that can help themselves but choose not to. The elderly will do just fine (actually much better) at WF. This "yuppie" crap is such BS. Things constantly evolve. Its not like Charlestown was some poor blue collar town for the last 500 years and then WF comes to town and changes everything. Fact is that the largest chunk of residents in Charlestown—according to the 2010 census—are between the ages of 20 and 34. I hate this "poor me" attitude. Newsflash - you are NOT entitled to ANYTHING no matter what you hear in the mainstream news. The market dictates how things need to work not some government or local city group. No one owes you anything. Go out and get it for yourself whether that is a job, food, cellphone, cable, house, sneakers, anything. If you want it, work for it. Those who truly cant help themselves due to health or disability are a different story and they will be taken care of around here. If you are lazy and want things to just stay how they were over the last 20 years, TOO BAD. Accept the change and stop being a grumpy old man. And if you dont like it, move. Life has no promises and neither does Charlestown.
Joseph September 11, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Marie is absolutely right!! Hey Marie, I'm with you!! But for the life of me, I just can't seem to grasp this one point. If Whole Foods is buying the entire chain of Johnnies, as in, buying them out; as in, Johnnies will no longer exist; as in, Whole Foods is buying Johnnies, the inventory, the buildings they own, their outstanding leases, their shopping carts, etc., etc., etc, how will Johnnies remain in Charlestown? Is it Market Basket or Wegman's that bought out Johnnies? Or was it Hannafords or Stop & Shop? My memory is failing. Get it now Marie? You are failing to realize that the DeJesus family doesn't give a flying rats ass about the residents of Charlestown, nor any other town that they do business in. Maybe they did at one time, but not now. They could care less about whether someone makes $15k/yr or $150k/yr. They sold out. They are moving on. Good for them.
William Maffei September 13, 2012 at 12:26 AM
This is a completely valid point. WF can be economic if you are a smart shopper. Buying items that are on deal is a great way to get quality product for reasonable prices. WF also has a great generic brand that is completely affordable. I also remember reading an article in the past comparing local super markets and WF fell in the middle as most expensive (Stop and Shop being the most expensive). Sorry I don't have the link. I think WF would be a great addition to the Charlestown community. One more point, Johnie's is not at all cheap. I can come up with the same grocery list and go to a MB and pretty much get everything on my list for 1/2 the price.

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