Oct. 31 marks one year since Whole Foods Market opened in Hyde Square amid a neighborhood war. It has proven to be an asset to JP.
The wave of gentrification that critics feared is indeed coming, but Whole Foods has nothing to do with it. Instead, it is due to nonprofit social service agencies pulling their investments from S. Huntington and a nonprofit developer stuck with an expensive old church. In fact, the lowest-priced home for sale in JP last month was right across the street from Whole Foods.
The store also has not dramatically improved the entire neighborhood. A little secret is that many local Whole Foods fans have continued to shop at other locations because the JP store turned out to be pretty small.
What Whole Foods has done is offer good food, local jobs, a well-kept store and sizeable community donations. It’s been a solid corporate neighbor and will continue to be.
Whole Foods remains a valid topic in JP’s ongoing discussions about chain stores and gentrification. It is good that Whole Foods is increasingly part of the context and not the sole focus.