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Whole Foods Not a Done Deal, Yet—Cunha

President of the Charlestown Neighborhood Council has word that Johnnies' fate hasn't been sealed yet.

The deal that would replace Charlestown’s with a Whole Foods isn’t done yet—at least, according to Charlestown Neighborhood Council Chairman Tom Cunha.

Cunha said Tuesday at the council’s September general meeting that he had gotten that news from John Dejesus, president of the Foodmaster chain.

Charlestown Patch left a voicemail with Dejesus on Wednesday to confirm the comment, but Dejesus never called back. On a followup call, the woman answering the phone told Charlestown Patch that the company was not interested in commenting.

Cunha said that multiple Charlestown residents had called his house for an update on the matter. He added that the sticking point between the two companies seemed to be how Johnnies’ employees should be treated after the completion of the deal.

Should the deal happen, Cunha said, it would likely not require any action from an official board, as the type of business in that location would not change.

Charlestown Patch readers to initial reports of the potential deal—with some strongly in favor of trading the Foodmaster for a Whole Foods. Others staunchly opposed the change on fears that it would make it difficult for low-income parents to feed their families.

In a , Charlestown Patch readers said they would prefer a Whole Foods above all other grocery chains in town—though Market Basket led that poll early on.

Owen September 08, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Mary, If the majority wants a Whole Foods, and it doesn't happen, why should we be forced to go to another neighborhood to get our food? I go to Johnnies because it's there. That's it. Your neighborhood is changing. That's a fact of life.
Just a person! September 08, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Owen c, I imagine you came to Charlestown because you could shop at WF right? And as far as "yuppy" parents all over with their multiple children, I think you have them confused with the "Nanny's" And Toonie , as far as buying and staying, don't think so, as you stated in your post Gut them, and sell because, Charlestown property has maintained its market value, to buy your dream home in Newton/Wellsley, where surrounding property that you speak of has not! You can buy plenty of property that needs work in JP, Roxbury,Chelsea, Dorchester just to name a few.. Please,
Owen September 08, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Just a person, It's obvious you don't think before you post. There are tons of "toonie" families who live in Charlestown, and have no plans of leaving. But, since you most likely mill about all day in front of Papa Gino's and CVS, you probably haven't taken a look deeper into the neighborhood in a while.
Chucky Collins September 09, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Shame on you Owen. What kind on core values do they teach in the coast guard anyway? I spent 4 years in the army national guard where they taught me 7 core values, some of which are selfless service, respect, duty and integrity. If you possessed an ounce of any of theses, how could you just throw the residents of that elderly building to the wayside like this? Did you even know your grandmother? Btw, thats an honest question. Shame on you, sir. As for the community making decisions based soley on lower class families, absolutely no we should not! E.G. The navy yard park. That architectural masterpiece of a childrens pool was designed and built solely to cater to you, the high earning newcomer. Well, I am there 4 times a week in the summer. Thanks, btw. But in cases involving the welfare of so many families? YES! Thats a no brainer. Community decisions involving the welfare of low income families and their ability to provide for themselves should ABSOLUTELY be based on what will help those same families stay afloat.
Sean Boyle September 09, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Look at the controversy of Whole Foods is doing to our town! It's making neighbor go against neighbor. All of this over a store. I don't want Whole Foods to come to town if this is what its going to do, which it seems to be doing since the "news" hit the general public. If you don't like what there is at Johnnies, don't shop there or suggest some improvements directly to Johnnies.For the person who said they shouldn't have to shop to Cambridge or Beacon Hill for "quality foods" .. why should the people who want the items that they would normally find at Johnnies be forced to shop somewhere else? Secondly, no one "took over" the town. Whether you're a Townie or a Toonie. Whether you like it or not, your "yuppie" children (and I put that in quotation since "yuppies" seem to be dividing their "distinction") are now Townies. Everyone is welcomed in Charlestown. If you have no pride for the town: it's people, history, and culture, then I suggest you move out because that is how Charlestown is and how Charlestown will forever be. The Boston Globe is wrong and should be ashamed of itself for adding fuel to the fire with that remark about gentrification. This has nothing to do with gentrification, it has nothing to do with Charlestown's demographics. It is simply about the price of food. Way to start a fight in our community and divide the people who here. Lastly, I do not believe Whole Foods is fit for the neighborhood of Charlestown. Mary I'll be picketing with ya!
Toonie September 09, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Sean, I agree with pretty much everything you are saying except for a couple of things. I have only every used the word "yuppie" in quotation marks because it's NOT my word...but at the same time, it really doesn't offend me. I appreciate what you are saying about the "yuppie" children being Townes - very true! Especially for those of us that aren't going anywhere. I still have my fingers crossed for a Whole Foods along with many other people. This is just one of those things that we're all going to have to agree to disagree on because none of us really have any control over it anyway. Time to move along.....
Mary Doherty September 10, 2012 at 12:51 AM
I've been shopping at Johnnie's for 12 years. I really like it and the people who work there. I buy most of my produce at the open market in Haymarket during the week-end and go to Harvest Coop in Cambridge for a few things, like organic coffee, loose tea and lower priced tahini. But Johnnie's is my home base. The manager always has a smile, I love the cashiers and baggers and really appreciate their affiliation with Harvest on the Vine. Whenever I feel I have extra $$, I can buy groceries at Johnnie's, that are already bagged and these will be delivered to the food pantry. This is a magnificent service Johnnie's has provided.
Marianne Faithfull September 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Whole Foods is a reality, the gentrification of C-town is a reality..best to accept reality.
Joseph September 10, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Other than Whole Foods, what other businesses/supermarkets are lined up to take over the lease at the location currently known as Johnnies? What are the frauds on the CNC going to do? Veto Whole Foods buying out Johnnies? Tell the owners of Johnnies not to sell out? Unless one of these other stores (TJ's, Wegmans, MB, etc) steps up, the building will either be occupied by Whole Foods or left empty. This is a fact.
Just a person! September 10, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Think a week of this is quite enough! Time to move on to something else, beating a dead horse here. Nobody on here can or has the power to make the decision on who is going to be in the misfit mall, including the CNC. And if you don't know by now after a week of comment, the whole deal is whole foods is buying up other johnnies' sites Charlestown is only one. In other words, realize there are no other offers on the table, whole foods or johnnies that's it.
Joseph September 10, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Beaten, yes. Dead, no. I think you'd be surprised how many people believe that what occupies that location is up for discussion. That was my point.
John Stella September 11, 2012 at 03:40 AM
My hat is off to somebody who actually is trying to go to bat for Johnnies employees. Townie or Yuppie, we are your neighbors,and your friends. I'm actually disgusted that the majority posting here really don't give a shit about other peoples futures, but hey, now why should any of us be sympathic towards yours. I know my fellow employees are reading this and none of them want to post, so I guess it's me. I'm not college educated. I really don't have a particular trade I'm good at. What I'm trying to say is, there's not a lot out there for a guy like me. So, when we don't know about our future, it's really not cool. I'm 32 years old. I don't know how long some of you have lived here for but I'm sure longer then I have some of you. We went this long without a Whole Foods. Now it's a Charlestown necessity? There is no perfect grocery store. No need to act like there is. Now me and my friends and co-workers have to live like there's not certain unemployance? What if it was you? It might have happened to you and if it did, I'm sorry, it must suck, but why would you want to see people you see everyday struggle? Our interactions with everyday customers are huge for our company, seriously. Certain people not so much, but we have people who come from other towns because of the interaction. Whether it's me or another employee. I see it every day first hand. If this story is true, thank you Mr.Cunha for giving a shit.
Nicholas September 11, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Have fun dying fat and young.
Nicholas September 11, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Whole Paycheck! Haha that's SO ORIGINAL. You can't legally NOT allow a company to open a business. Menino can't help.
Nicholas September 11, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Johnnies is just as expensive. This is just people complaining to hear themselves squawk.
Nicholas September 11, 2012 at 04:25 AM
I don't understand what's so wrong with yuppies... it's better than the junkies selling heroin on every corner of the town. More yuppies please.
Marianne Faithfull September 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM
"Free market society," "employee at will," "pursuit of happiness." These are the realities. You want lifetime security, bcome a teacher or join some other union. There are no guarentees. Welcome to the real world. Now, warm up that shoe leather cuz Whole Foods is comming!!!!
Seamus O'Sullivan September 11, 2012 at 01:10 PM
John- What's to say Whole Foods won't hire you? Maybe at a better wage with better benefits? I don't know the situation, but have any of the Johnnies employees considered that? I shop at the Whole Foods in Beacon Hill every so often, and it's not all hipsters that work there like you would think. It strikes me there's plenty of everyday people like yourself working there too. My point is, companies get acquired every day, and some employees get let go while some don't. It's a fact of life. I don't think it's that many people on here "don't give a shit" about the Johnnies workers, but rather, think that Whole Foods might be a better fit for the community, at least as it is made up today (unfortunately for people like Mary, Elaine and Lisa, this isn't 1975 Charlestown anymore). I don't think we know enough about the job situation to make a determination one way or the other right now, so we're just opining on the fit for the neighborhood. My guess would be that many of the Johnnies workers would be kept in place, but then again, I don't know. Certainly no one wants to see a bunch of people lose their jobs.
Alphanaut September 11, 2012 at 01:24 PM
If you are one of the employees there that appreciates your customers and are cordial with them, then I don't see any reason why Whole Foods should not pick you up. If you are one of the employees that only talk to your other coworkers, make no eye contact with the customer, and generally act like we are a bother for being there, then I'm sure you'll be happy working elsewhere. I'm a corporate pilot and I can tell you a single negative interaction with a client and I'm out on my ass, no reason it should be any different anywhere else. On a positive note, just got back from Foodmaster a few minutes ago and the cashier and bagger were incredibly cheerful and polite, very nice!
Joseph September 11, 2012 at 01:59 PM
John, instead of looking at the threat of potentially losing your job, be proactive. Put together a resume or assemble some organized list of your skills and experiences at Johnnies and elsewhere. Write a letter to Whole Foods, attaching your resume, introducing yourself and letting them know you are looking for a job at this location. As far as job security, we're all in the same boat there buddy.
Owen September 11, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I see a lot of posts talking about employees being "nice" and "appreciative". If I had a dollar for every time I've witnessed customers, in many different establishments, act arrogant and mean towards what they consider "the help"... A low paying job plus customers who think they're royalty equals an employee who doesn't really have any vested interested in stroking customers' egos. I have always been against hierarchy and privilege. We are all equals.
Just a person! September 11, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Hey Owen C, Are you jealous, that Ican hang around all day and do nothing? Worked all my life ,got what I want, and now sit around and listen to people like you,that think they can change the world, then I get to laugh.
Owen September 11, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Just a person, Why are you so angry? And provide the exact quote where I said I could change the world. Anyway, now that I know you're one of the gems crowding around the Bunker Hill Plaza all day, I'll make sure to give you a wide berth. I don't like inhaling your second hand smoke. Have a good one! See you at Whole Foods!
Owen September 11, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Hey, guess what? You don't get to dictate what people talk about. If you're over the discussion, go somewhere else.
Owen September 11, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Not really magnificent . It's pretty standard nowadays.
Owen September 11, 2012 at 08:57 PM
What can be found at Johnnies that is so special? It's a run of the mill grocery store. And it's not cheap, as has already been stated. Seriously, a Whole Foods would be a smash hit. And if you're so concerned about community relations in Charlestown and don't like people fighting, then why wold you put yourself on a picket line that is bound to get heated?
Alphanaut September 24, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Well that was nice, just got back from the Johnnies and heard an employee badmouthing Whole Foods to customers, classy.
TheMaskedTruthsayer September 24, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Probably to be expected as anxieties over the change in ownership increase. Overall, I have found the kids at Johnnies to be quite polite and realistic where expressing their feelings about WF are concerned.
Toonie September 24, 2012 at 04:25 PM
So is it going to happen? What's the latest?
Alphanaut September 24, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Good question, who knows...


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