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Charlestown Foodmaster to Become a Whole Foods

Reports that Whole Foods was interested in the site, along with five others in the Boston area, were true, according to an announcement from Johnnie's Foodmaster.

Update, 10:40 a.m.: According to a separate announcement from Whole Foods, the two supermarkets are not disclosing the terms of the agreement.

Whole Foods also said this: "Whole Foods Market has guaranteed interviews to all Johnnie’s Foodmaster employees at the six acquired locations with the goal of hiring as many as possible."

Original story:

It's official: Johnnie's Foodmaster next to Thompson Square will become a Whole Foods.

According to an announcement sent by Foodmaster Friday morning, the supermarket chain has agreed to transfer six Foodmaster locations in the Boston area to the Texas-based upscale supermarket company.

In addition to the supermarket in Charlestown, Johnnie's Foodmasters in Somerville, Arlington, Brookline, Melrose and South Weymouth will be transferred to Whole Foods.

According to the announcement, those supermarkets will likely close sometime before Nov. 30, when the transfer is scheduled to be officially completed.
The announcement says Whole Foods will remodel the buildings and hopes to reopen them at the end of its 2013 fiscal year. Because the company's fiscal year ends at the end of September, that would mean the markets would reopen in late summer or early fall of 2013.

Reports that Whole Foods was interested in the Johnnie's Foodmaster sites surfaced in August.

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YOUR TAKE: Whole Foods to Buy Out Johnnie's Foodmaster?

Sean Boyle October 27, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Providing transportation for one year during construction is not pushing it at all, and it is 100% reasonable and fair. They are putting 100% of the town into such an inconvenience. Not having a place to shop for groceries for a year, especially when you live in the city, is ridiculous. If I worked for PR in Whole Foods I would see this as an opportunity to gain popularity and loyalty in the community. Helping other might help them in the future.
Amy October 27, 2012 at 08:57 PM
So can we replace Dunkins with Starbucks and Papa Ginos with Panera? Thanks
Just a person! October 27, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Hey Toonie I hope that you'll be the one supporting Whole Foods, because it certantainly won't be me! I also do not shop at Foodmaster either! I would rather see a vacant lot there like it was years ago., but you probaly wouldnt know what was ther before there was a Mall there! After all your name explains it all! Every store in there is worthless,
buddy October 27, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Toonie, most townies who are posting here are not so worried about themselves with the whole foods situation.. they are concerned for the elderly (most who have lived here thier entire lives!) No one is asking you to pay for thier transportation to another store... We'll chalk you up to another toonie with the sense of entitlement...unfortunately you too will grow old and depend on the convienences of your local community.. karma is a bitch! hope one day it comes back and slaps you in the face!
Owen October 27, 2012 at 11:48 PM
buddy, So you're saying that anywhere an WholeFoods is, the "elderly" cannot get what they need to survive? And if you want to talk about "entitlement", then look no further than those expecting a grocery store chain to bus them all over the city to go food shopping. If WF foots the bill for that, then cool. However, they have no duty to do so.
Owen October 27, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Those complaining that there is no way to get groceries for the next year (if it even takes that long to remodel Johnniesl) seem to forget efficient online delivery services line Peapod. I use it on a pretty regular basis and they are always there when they say they will be. Adapt and overcome, people.
Owen October 27, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Wow, you are seriously a bitter, mean spirited person. Are you sure you and Seamus O'Sullivan aren't the same person?
Owen October 27, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Yawn. Yeah, we get it. Only people who have lived in Charlestown for a century should have a say. God forbid people who *gasp!* didn't grow up in Charlestown decide to move here. And the fact that you'd rather have a run down dump like a vacant lot in Charlestown speaks volumes to the kind of neighborhood you'd rather live in. The fact is those who aren't "native" to Charlestown are have an increasingly greater say in matters. Just a fact of life. Live with it.
Owen October 27, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Panera, fine whatever. Starbucks? No way. I'll shop at WholeFoods because they sell quality products. Starbucks coffee is garbage. Fact.
Owen October 27, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Why? It's a shame that we'll have quality meats and produce finally? Yeah, we've heard the fallacious argument about masses of people starving in the streets because they can't afford Whole Foods, and how Johnnies is a shining utopia of super inexpensive Wonder Bread and Ruffles.
buddy October 28, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Owen, I think the elderly can find food at WF, but some will need transportation to another food store until it opens. Im not saying WF should pay..maybe elder affairs will step in .....oh... then you and toonie can whine about your tax dollars being used to help the elderly!!!
Toonie October 28, 2012 at 12:35 AM
@Just a Person. Yep...I'm the only person that will be supporting it. The well educated executives at Whole Foods decided to open a store in Charlestown because I really wanted one. They didn't see any potential for growth or an improving and thriving neighborhood. You're a sharp one! (In case you're also challenged in identifying sarcasm...that was a good example).
Owen October 28, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Buddy, Pump your breaks, seriously. I never said I'd have a problem with taxes being used to help those who need it. But there does need to be a discussion about how serious this really is. What percentage of people in Charlestown are totally incapable of getting to a store other than Johnnies until WholeFoods opens? Are there no other programs available to them to get them where they need to go? You're the one pushing the argument that there is this huge demographic being over looked, and that special programs need to be stood up to help them.
Toonie October 28, 2012 at 01:22 AM
@buddy...there are plenty of options to get food without having the ability to walk next door. In fact, the vast majority of elderly people in the US do not have the option of walking to a grocery store. I do feel badly that this option, that many have grown accustomed to, will not be available for a period of time. However, I think the sense of entitlement lies with those that feel that it is an absolute must to be provided with transportation to/from a grocery store because of the effects of a business transaction between two grocery stores. And it's even more ridiculous to think that taxpayers should foot the bill. All this said, I am not an evil person. I do hope that the elderly find a way to bridge this gap between the closing of Johnnies and the opening if WFM.
Bette Task October 28, 2012 at 11:26 AM
I think the CNC should redirect this year's mitigation money to provide this much needed transportation to Market Basket in Chelsea. But that is not likely to happen. We already know what most of you think of the CNC!!
Just a person! October 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Yes Owen C you are right! Rather see a vacant lot. I remember when Main st in Charlestown was a thriving St ,plenty of stores and a "neighbor" friendly place. So we have people like you come in and choose to supposedly make better changes to our neighborhood (ex.convert store fronts to Condo's, ideas, like close the tunnels on Rutherford ave, to make more green space,but really, fact is you are taking more green space away..building multiple condo buildings. Did you ever hear the old expression, "you cannot fit 5lbs of s--- in a 2lb bag" And , I do know that the non-native have a lot to say, but the question really is, do the make sense!
JMH October 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I believe it would make good business sense for WF to arrange a shuttle for people without transportation, like the elderly, to and from the Johnnies parking lot: - they keep customers in the habit of going there for groceries - excellent PR - possibility to employ old Johnnies people during the construction. - WF could write it off as charity OR look for some assistance from the state (mumbles visits again) In the end, the shopping mall stays alive, customers and employees are happy, and it would cost them nothing.
G.Sweeney October 28, 2012 at 08:58 PM
I just stopped at Johnnies on the way home, there was a discussion in the back of the store with the Manager, townies and "toonies". Everyone is concerned with a high end supermarket coming to the neighborhood. One of my concerns is that johnnies has been a long time supporter of hiring persons of disability. I hope the entire town will ban together and hold the Whole Foods corporations feet to the fire to see that they continue that practice. Johnnies has sold their stores, like anyone they want to enjoy some retirement years. They have always supported the community with donations in many areas we as a community should send them off with a touch of class and wish them well in retirement. Change is not easy for anyone finding the answers to help support our community is what we have always pride ourselves on. Let us show our strength, pride and resourcefulness in finding those answers to assist the elderly and working class in our community.
Joe October 28, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Gonna bite driving to Chelsea and Medford for essentials. At least we can still get beer in this town. BTW please watch out for flying objects, gonna be a great wind blowing. Be safe out there.
Bette Task October 28, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Retirement? Am I missing something here? They still have other stores that they are not selling off. Or am I wrong? I'm sure they want to get rid of Charlestown before the supermarket at the North Station gets into place. Then all the North Enders don't have to cross the bridge to Johnnie's. I still think that the CNC should devote this year's mitigation funds to, maybe the Kennedy Center to provide transportation to Market Basket in Chelsea. They (they elderly and lower income people) won't believe what they can save on their food bills. If they even had to pay $3 to $4 for the transportation, they would more than make it up on the savings for their food and household goods.
G.Sweeney October 29, 2012 at 12:15 AM
According to the conversation this afternoon with the Manager they have sold all of them. I did see comments on the Somerville patch about WF coming to their neighborhood. I'm going to approach BHCC about the mini van they have perhaps they would consider at least while the store is under construction. Donating maybe once a week to taking elderly Charlestown residents to Market Basket since they go back and forth that way anyhow. I think any idea is a good idea and worth investigating, kudos to you Bette for suggesting one. Now lets keep them coming:)
Jay K. October 29, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Well said, G.Sweeney.
Zach November 02, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Whole foods is not *always* more expensive. Their 365 line is cheaper than almost anything, and is nutritious. The foodmaster in Charlestown was/is way too expensive for the quality of food they offered. I welcome a Whole foods! The neighborhood will benefit ten fold from it!
Zach November 02, 2012 at 06:18 PM
How about Peet's instead:)
Zach November 02, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Charlestown got its reputation by being "A "neighbor" friendly place."? LOL
Zach November 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Also... Regarding price, the "Bar" of fried, processed food filled with chemicals is 6.99 per pound at Foodmaster, vs. 7.99 for fresh, healthy, nutritious more filling prepared food at whole foods. This is a no brainer. If you compare costs alone, Whole Foods wins. Factor in taste, quality and nutrition, then Whole Foods is a total win for the neighborhood.
JustAnother November 02, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Part of Charlestown's charm is the walkability and that it has everything you need - post office, drug stores, doctors, hw store, library, groceries all right here. I have 2 little ones and the library being shut for 4 months has been a pain. No local groceries just a few blocks away? Yes. We'll live through it. But for so many people its going to be a hassle. Doesn't matter whether its Johnnies, Stop-n-Shop, WH or Trader Joe's, its got more than the local convenience stores. Any chance of a short-term corner grocery store to fill the gap?
Jacqulyn November 15, 2012 at 05:04 PM
This is such crap! In need of things and don't have the time to TROOP it to stop and shop, and the little local convenience stores don't carry meats or potatoes SMH... This was such a bad call! If they we're so interested in johnnies FINE buy it out but damn be smart and don't leave us w/o a grocery store for a year... This is so unfair and I'm so annoyed.. looks like it's cereal for my family tonight cause I don't have the luxary of a car and I'm in school all day until I pick up my daughter so no time for the bus either.. but yet again whole foods doesn't care about their new neighbors so.. guess that's my problem huh?
AnnJ December 12, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Even though it was on the "pricier" side, Johnnies was convenient. Now, here we have Whole Foods...I think a survey should have been conducted prior to them selling it off. Granted, that may not be logical in regards to the business aspect, but how many Townies shop at Whole Foods? I know the closest I have ever got to one is driving by on Rte 1 or something. Problem is...money. Not convenience, or what are the elderly, those without vehicles, etc. going to do. Not only is it a problem for Charlestown, but the North End also. Years ago when I worked there, I remember how many out-of-towners would go to Johnnies because it was closer. Sad part, no matter how many complaints, Whole Foods is still going "up."
James "Gem" Coughlin December 12, 2012 at 07:53 PM
@AnnJ why on God's green earth would a business owner conduct a survey to see if he or she should sell his or her holdings? That is the most preposterous and possibly most idiotic suggestion I have ever read. Next thing you know you'll want the Sox to survey what weekends work best with locals for homestands. C'mon.

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