Johnnie's Foodmaster is Closing in West Somerville, Too

West Somerville will be without a supermarket when Johnnie's closes. Liquidation sales have already begun.

A week after Johnnie's Foodmaster officially announced that its store on Beacon Street would become a Whole Foods, Boston.com has reported the Chelsea-based supermarket chain is closing all its locations, including the one in West Somerville.

Boston.com says an Illinois-based company, Hilco Merchant Resources, which specializes in liquidation services, has begun closing sales at all of the Johnnie's Foodmaster markets.

There will be discounts of up to 30 percent, and closing sales begin Nov. 2, Boston.com reports.

The closure of Johnnie's Foodmaster will leave West Somerville without a supermarket.

SomervilleGirl November 15, 2012 at 07:05 AM
I'm happy that WalMart is not coming to the city. They don't have a good record in the way they treat their employees. I once worked for a non-profit legal office which had cases against them by employees with disabilities. If given a choice, I would vote for Demoulas since there may be a good chance the former employees at Johnnie's could possibly find employment there and I'm sure the people who shopped at Johnnie's would be happy. It would be a seamless transition.
Nancy November 15, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Hi, Do you know how to post my little piece on Twitter or Facebook? I don't know how to dio it so whoever canm, please do it and spread the word. The more people that come the better- to be together, think of our menories, and brainstorm thoughts for the future. Nancy
SomervilleGirl November 16, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Hi Nancy, I have an account with both, but primarily use Facebook. I am happy to post something there and try to get the word out. I'll also try to ask a few neighbors to join us. If you are planning to go, I will meet you there. I've also sent an email to the editor for suggestions to get the word out. We could go early on Saturday and talk to customers who are shopping on the last day and see if we can set up a group to rejoin at a town meeting when the site is being considered for new use.
SomervilleGirl November 16, 2012 at 02:35 AM
The Boston Globe reports Alewife site has yet to be determined-- (comments could help provide some clues) http://www.boston.com/businessupdates/2012/11/02/johnnie-foodmaster-closing-all-its-stores-liquidator-says/AJxqEW55NCuP5FjYYacbLK/story.html?comments=all#readerComm
Ron Newman November 16, 2012 at 03:51 AM
I posted at Davis Square LiveJournal: http://davis-square.livejournal.com/3060667.html
SomervilleGirl November 16, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Well done. Ron. Thank you. Hope to see you there. I'll bring a clipboard for sign ups interested in voicing concerns about the site.
Nancy November 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM
It's great to have all your support. Can someone send notices to Facebook, the Boston Globe, NESN, Somerville Journal also- the more people the better? I have limited email/phone access today so can someone help out to spread the word? Posters would be great too, for walkers to see. Use this: Funeral at Johnnies Foodmaster this Saturday, Nov. 17 at 10am, outside store at Alewife. Come share our memories, collective grief. A mainstay in the West Somerville community for decades, many customers are sad at the loss. Employees, customers, owners and residents are all welcome to share their thoughts. Where will those without autos now shop? What will become of the space? Thanks.
Sand Man November 16, 2012 at 03:54 PM
SomervilleGirl, you nailed it...Gentrification has taken Somerville by storm, with the mayor rolling out the red carpet to young professionals, and holding the exit door for the working class...Union Square today, East Somerville tomorrow... Anybody in the know can see Mayor Joe's game....
Ron Newman November 16, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I don't see how the mayor of Somerville has anything whatsoever to do with this company closing down all of its stores.
Sand Man November 16, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Mr. Newman, I said nothing about the mayor being involved in the closing of these supermarkets--I seconded SomervilleGirl's comments about the gentrification that's swept through the city. And that the Administration is a player in that game....
SomervilleGirl November 17, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Nancy, I look forward to seeing you at Johnnie's tomorrow between 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. If we can all bring a couple of neighbors along with us, we would have a good showing.
SomervilleGirl November 17, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Sand Man, The issues in our city are more complex than to pin it on the administration and Mayor Curtatone. I think Joe is doing a good job running the city, better than some before him. I remember 5. Mayor Bretta was someone my dad knew personally and from what I recall, was well liked. In my opinion, the only other mayor who was good for our city was Michael Capuano. He's done many good deeds for the working class across this city and is responsible for putting Somerville on the map by bringing in the Red Line. The yuppie sprawl is due to suburban flight and they just keep coming with no end in sight. In just this past year, there has to be at least 20,000 more residents living here, I can feel the surge and it doesn't sit well with me. I am used to having a neighborhood where everyone knows each other and are FRIENDLY, COURTEOUS and RESPECTFUL. Some days it feels like I've landed on a hostile planet. There are people who are afraid to speak up because they fear being isolated. But behind close doors, many are all feeling the same way as we do. All I'm asking for is some BALANCE. I don't see that--instead, all I see is a steamrolling invasion and takeover by those who feel ENTITLED. For instance--new neighbors, they ask what color we are painting our home, why we are trimming our tree, if we will take their extra mulch because they don't like the color we chose, they make demands of our politicians. I don't know what more to say. It stinks.
SomervilleGirl November 17, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I'd like to share a story of what happened last weekend: I was outdoors raking my yard. It was one of the most beautiful days, the sun was out, my beech was bright with fall colors of orange and yellow hues, there was a cool breeze. A couple appeared before me with their two children. It was as though I wasn't even there and I was standing just a few feet away. The mother pointing down to the edge of my yard, said to her 3 year old, "oh look, what beautiful pine cones, would you like to take some"? Suddenly, my mood shifted. I immediately shot a cold stare at the husband who looked to see my reaction when the wife was asking her child to pick up the pine cones. His next move was to turn to his wife and hurry her along down the sidewalk leaving the pine cones by the edge of my yard. She then proceeded to point to my tree and shout out how beautiful it was.....maybe I should have said something, but I was too angry to speak. I wanted to say..."keep on walking, the pine cones, the tree and my home are NOT FOR SALE...go find some manners under that rock you climbed out from and address people when you talk about their properties directly in front of them". UNBELIEVABLE ...I will admit, later I felt bad for my actions since I was raised to always be polite, if they had greeted me instead of being elitist snobs, I would have gladly offered their child the cones. Wherever there is a meeting about development proposals--I AM THERE. I tell people how I feel! No one will drive me out!
SomervilleGirl November 17, 2012 at 01:49 AM
It will be interesting to see what is going to happen with Johnnies Foodmaster. If they don't put a new supermarket there, it could be slotted for condos--that's just my opinion. I have no idea, but I'm curious as to why they are not making an announcement as they have for other locations which Whole (PAYCHECK) Foods is going, like bike-lane-extravaganza a' la Beacon. What will happen to the site of the former Teele Square inferno? Powderhouse School? Lots of questions, very few answers. Well, don't feel too badly about it. You know what they say--what goes around comes back around. Keep your chin up and keep on fighting the fight. If Obama can beat Romney with all those corporate billions backing him up--the little guy and gal can win too. I'm sorry to see the Hostess Twinkie go, and 18,000 workers laid off. Maybe Bain had to balance their books this week. It does seem odd after the election, all these new layoffs announced. I do hope the employees from Johnnies are at least able to collect unemployment--if not, they should definitely fight it, and yes, right on the holidays. Poorly planned and inconsiderate, especially when many have given decades of hard work to that store chain. Some see it as good business. All I see is GREED. "A fool and his money........."
AHM November 17, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Johnnies has run it's course. They were great. When Beacon Street opened up we hardly went anywhere else. All our big shopping was done there. Later when the Alwife one opened up(think it used to be Elm Farm) I had moved to that part so we wnet there. I never went to the Ball Square one so I don't know how that was. The only grocery store that I see that can fit in the ones left would be the Walmart Neigborhood markets. They would be small enough to fit in. I don't see Market Basket doing anything unless they get a chance at a bigger piece of land they can build a big store on. They do volume. The Whole Foods thing is a bit much, not sure but maybe they are shooting themselves in the foot on this one. The only big place I se left for a supermarket is at Assembly. Either Market Basket or Wegmans. That's my guess. And, if you think Walmart does not treat employees good lookup Apple on CNN. They make Walmart look like Angels.
AHM November 17, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Pretty good explanation of what's happening here. Exactly what we have seen going on here. I never liked Curatone from the start and still don't, I think the direction he has led this city in is part of the problem. But the city is changing in a way that I do not like. If it continues to change I don't know how much I can take before I have to give in and get out.
SomervilleGirl November 17, 2012 at 02:55 AM
AHM, The owner must be ready to retire, cash out, that is his choice. But these development proposals are real, not imaginary. In a democratic society, the townspeople should be able to vote for what they want to occupy the site--not allow SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS to dictate what goes there with backroom deals and shady developers. If they are going to build condos, they should be done right, not shoddy construction. We have seen this wave before in the early 2000's with people flipping homes (now they get taxed if they flip within 2-3 yrs) and construction companies slapping buildings together without adequate workmanship--their motto is, "make'em cheap, sell them quick and make a big profit". I worry this city is changing too rapidly. What happens when their starry-eyed Intoxication of Davis Square is over? Maybe it will one day run its course, as well. Yuppies are transients, they stay, they get bored, they go. I worry about what we will be left with in 10-20 years. We should have sustainable planning for the future. Somerville use to be a place that took pride in being a "melting-pot", all inclusive, friendly and hospitable. I don't see that now--all I see is a highly competitive, cold and aggressive body of newcomers who behave as though they are in charge. No group or sole person should feel this way. Our city is a place shared by thousands who should be able to voice their opinions. I have turned some people off by my outspoken behavior--do you think I care? HELL NO.
SomervilleGirl November 17, 2012 at 03:12 AM
p.s. I knew someone in Maine where he and few of his family members worked at a Walmart, they all worked part-time and got paid very little. He also worked as town manager. For many residents, it was the only employer in town, so of course people are trained to accept poor working conditions because there is nothing else and no competitors to compare it to. I also worked for a regional non-profit legal services agency. The lawyers were dealing with cases filed by employees, frequently. Because they are so big, they can circumvent the laws due to their army of lawyers. Somerville doesn't need a Walmart. Somerville needs another DeMoulas, but I understand your point of not having the sq. footage it needs. More and more, the corporations are treating their help poorly. I've been to a recent protest at the Boston Common by the SEIU. That was an experience--stories of pay cuts, no healthcare while forced to work a job equal to three workers and become physically disabled, while trying to raise a family. There are really bad stories out there, but you won't get to hear about any of them as long as the corporations pay the mainstream media to keep that news off your plasma screen. You must go out there and see it for yourself, talk to people and share their stories. That's the real news. Democracynow.org is a good media outlet to watch.
SomervilleGirl November 17, 2012 at 03:25 AM
I'll say this--I respect Joe because he's a hard worker and he's smart. I also find him approachable. I've shared some of my concerns with him recently and I give the guy credit for the strength and endurance he's had to deal with everyone who lives and works in the city. I've worked for some powerful people in the past and present. There must be a clear head which is ready to react at all times--coupled with careful navigation while dealing with people who may or may not have your best interests. You should not judge him too harshly. I've worked in town elections for a few of the local politicians over the years. They can't always be "Mr. Nice Guy", they have to protect their positions while trying to balance that flying trapeze. Not easy, only some are successful at it, while others find out too soon--who not to make enemies with, could be their last term.
AHM November 17, 2012 at 11:25 AM
I mentioned that because it was the size store thaat fits. I don't know of any other size store ecept for Aldis that would fit in the size area. As for Walmart my wife worked there for years and never once had a problem, there were always good to her and paid well with good benefits compared to other places. My daughter in law works for them in another state and is very happy with them also. That is our experience with them. Not sticking up for them and we don't even shop there. 25 people were killed and over 25 permantly disabled and 275 injured making the Iphone. I suppose if they wanted an Apple store here they would be greeted with open arms.
AHM November 17, 2012 at 11:32 AM
I am in complete agreemant here. If I had my way they would never have allowed 2 family hosues turned into condos. Try that in Newton. Flipped houses are a great source of revenue for the repairmen. I don't even drive through Davis Square anymore. Nothing there for me any more. Same with Union Square.
SomervilleGirl November 17, 2012 at 12:51 PM
AHM, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc. Begin with "Headquarters", and the rest, down to the end. Remember the celebrity, the sneaker and child labor? Unless we research these stories, we here in Boston don't understand what is going on in other regions of the state, country and world. This is the price they pay for "globalization". I have too many questions for this problem, but first is, with all the money they have made -triple digit billions in this product, why don't they have an American office based near these factories to oversee workers rights? Well, that answer may be a simple one to explain--"It's not me, it's the other guy". As long as they are citizens of another country, one that is known world-wide to have treated their people with extreme cruelty and violate endless humanitarian rights--they feel completely blameless. So, stock climbs and everyone is happy. I understand a little about the deadly chemicals involved in creating these systems. It's scary as hell. But today, if you are not part of the world of technology and communication, you do not exist. Being raised by parents who knew the true meaning of hard work by physical labor and living off the land, I can appreciate that way of life, but they make it hard to live that way now. It's a conditioning of the masses--we all must own an cell phone/personal computer, otherwise we are not "special". The computer has slowly eroded our societies in many ways.
SomervilleGirl November 17, 2012 at 01:01 PM
AHM, Where the jobs come, so do the people--this may be the main reason people keep flocking to our area. As other states and towns continue to decline into poverty, we here in Boston are continuing to prosper, well, so they say. But it's a different experience from rural Maine and other distressed areas of our nation. As the elite continue to buy and rent, we the working class feel like we are being squeezed out. Many of my former classmates have moved away due to the surge of yuppie sprawl. I'm one of the last remaining natives. I won't be forced out by anyone and good luck to those who dare. To All: Don't forget to come to Johnnie's to bid farewell to a lifelong grocer who has fed many of our growing families for years. We are planning to meet around 10 and hopefully, people will stick around for awhile....let's say 10-11:30, for those of us running errands early. Enjoy the day!
AHM November 17, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Same problem here. Lost close to everyone I knew and grew up with as they have moved out of here. They just could not afford it anymore. I am right on the edge trying to hold out as I want to be here to take care of my parents.
Pete November 19, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I don't think people posting here are being realistic about the kinds of stores Market Basket opens. Their pricing model relies on opening very-high-volume stores that are generally twice the size of the Alewife Brook Parkway location, on company-owned (not leased) real estate. Several of their last few openings have eclipsed one another as the largest supermarket in New England. Most Market Basket stores the size of the current Somerville location—one of their smallest—have been or are in the process of being replaced by much larger facilities. I'd love to have a Market Basket there, too, but it is probably not going to happen.
SomervilleGirl November 20, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Pete, I would be in favor of a DeMoulas, but I'm sure Whole Foods is hoping to gain from the customer base who shopped at Johnnie's. I don't understand why the owner of Johnnie's wouldn't try to get DeMoulas to built one of there. They would draw a lot of customers from Somerville, Medford and Arlington. It will be interesting to see what goes there, but the people I spoke to said "it's going dark".
Ron Newman November 20, 2012 at 12:42 AM
I'd love a DeMoulas/Market Basket, but I don't think they open stores this small anymore. Maybe it could be a Save-A-Lot or Aldi?
SomervilleGirl November 20, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Ron, I am not familiar with either of those chains. I would like to see a Trader Joes, but they don't carry enough products for people to be satisfied. Market Basket would be perfect for our part of town. At least the working families wouldn't be left at a disadvantage. I wonder where they will shop now? I guess Shaws in Porter Square. It's the only closest alternative with similar products.
AHM November 20, 2012 at 01:24 AM
They have an Aldi in Medford. Sort of okay for some stuff but not really to do a lot of grocery shopping in. Have not been in a Save-A-Lot so I don't know about them. I always thought Winter Hill for an Aldi, not the greatest but would have been a big help to the elderly there. But the powers that be want that spot to be a mixed used development. I think it's too small for Alwife but better than nothing. People would still have to do a big order somewhere else. My guess is that the reason Walmart started the Neighborhood Stores is that there must be this problem in many places. Knowing them they are always looking to make dollars anywhere they can. These size stores on a big scale can make small markets more affordable. Not pushing Walmart, just the size of the store for the area.
John November 26, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I think the size of the store is a bit small for MB. I would like to see another small format grocery store come into the market like Aldi. TJ's would be great for the location too, especially they treat their employees the best of any store (people working there make $15-17/hr as hourly paid after just a few years which is far higher than what any other store pays a comparable employee). I don't care for the vibe at MB especially they have had a long history of protesting every store that tries to open up such to an extent that their presence stifles competition (not so much right now in the Somerville area but this is certainly a concern in Greater Lowell). They even forced Birch Drug to close in some of their owned plazas because they got a hold of that Stop and Shop acquired it many years ago, plus they held a Stop and Shop development for 10 years in Chelmsford based on bogus claims.


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