Whole Foods as gathering spot

There is one aspect of community life that seems to have been overlooked in the discussions around the new Whole Foods store. The area in front of the Hi-Lo seemed to serve as a de facto gathering space for some Latino men from the neighborhood. Almost every time I visited Hi-Lo, there would be a group of men sitting in front the store talking, smoking, playing dominoes and enjoying each other’s company. Whole Foods might consider providing a similar set-up—perhaps with some outdoor tables, chairs and benches—as a gesture of hospitality to local residents. While it would not compensate for the loss of Hi-Lo, I think it could ease the transition by providing a space for a social center for the men who have regarded it as their special gathering place.

Ross Gelbspan

Jamaica Plain

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