Thoughts? Whole Foods Might Buy Somerville Johnnie's Foodmaster

Whole Foods is looking to acquire Jonnie's Foodmaster markets in the Boston area, including in Somerville. What do you think?

on Beacon Street in Somerville could become Whole Foods, according to a report on Boston.com.

The news site reports the texas-based upmarket supermarket chain is in talks to buy or lease six of the 10 Johnnie's Foodmaster sites in Arlington, Charlestown, Brookline, South Weymouth, Melrose and Somerville.

In Somerville, Whole Foods is interested in acquiring the Johnnie's Foodmaster on Beacon Street, near Inman Square, according to the report.

Read the Boston.com story here.

Johnnie's Foodmaster also has a store on Route 16 in West Somerville. Presumably, Whole Foods isn't interested in that site because it already has two stores nearby—a mile up the road in Medford and less than two miles down the road in Fresh Pond, Cambridge.

People tend to have strong opinions about both Whole Foods and Johnnie's Foodmaster. The Beacon Street Foodmaster is beloved for its carpeting and the fact it sells beer and wine. It's easy to see why Whole Foods is interested in an Inman Square location, and many residents of the area probably welcome the idea.

Thoughts? Do you want Whole Foods to move in? Or are you a Johnnie's Foodmaster loyalist?

Matt C August 30, 2012 at 01:31 PM
At the end of the day it is about what consumers want. Vote with your feet and your wallets. If you like what whole food sells shop there, if not head down the street to market basket, Sebra, or Shaws etc. WF sees a population that wants its products, its willing to buy existing stores, invest in them and attract the consumers that like their stores. Now the big concern is about people who do not believe they can afford WF prices and are not able to get to a different store. Before we say go to Shaws - the prices at Shaws for produce and basics (flour, milk, eggs) are not much less than WF and sometimes more when you compare to WF bulk foods. The only real option people have is the Market Basket for a full service store or Sebra for a smaller market. I would assume that if a low cost grocer saw enough of a market in these neighborhoods they would jump to get in... The last time we saw that happen was with Walmart - and we know how that went. I guess you can't have it both ways.
Courtney O'Keefe August 30, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Too little too late for me...between M.F. Dullock and McKinnon's, I have everything I need within walking distance of my house.
Daniel Gewerrtz August 30, 2012 at 01:56 PM
I love Foodmaster, and I also shop regularly at Whole Foods just a few blocks away on Prospect Street in Cambridge. People in my neighborhood need to be able to walk to a store with good prices, and Whole Foods will never be that store. (This reminds me of Whole Foods taking over the Stop & Shop in Fresh Pond, and thus removing an affordable supermarket for an entire large low-income area, i.e. the triple high-rise towers. and housing projects on Rindge. Finally, I know that Foodmaster on Beacon has already tried selling organic apples and pears, and they didn't find a market for them. So, that would suggest that a market for a new whole Foods will have to be built. It isn't being yearned for. A better location is the utterly useless Star Market up Beacon Street, which has high prices, ordinary food, and few customers.
Alicia Byrd August 30, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Why don't they just take over the old Star Market on Broadway? It's empty and has a big parking lot.
Anna Maria Soriano August 30, 2012 at 05:33 PM
That would be Awesome. Now the Winter Hill Star Market location for a Trader Joes....??? You can go to their website and suggest. Location!
AHM August 30, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Don't expect anything good for Winter hill. Just the wrong size for anyone to be interested. Plus the powers that be want it to be a mixed development. Many moons ago when Johnnies opened on Beacon Street I used to have to take my mother there to shop once I got my license. Would not go anywhere else. Before that it was the A&P on Broadway.
Virginia August 31, 2012 at 11:50 AM
I agree it would be far better for that sleepy Star on Beacon to be a Whole Foods (and/or the vacant one on Broadway too!) And the Star parking lot is big too and is an eyesore now. So, WF could thereby improve the landscape and not make a hardship for the folks accustomed to the Johnny's so near to Inman Square.
Paul Lowenstein August 31, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Daniel, Maybe it was before my time, but I recall Bread and Circus being where whole foods is now in Fresh Pond, not a Stop & Shop.
kevin thomas crowley August 31, 2012 at 12:28 PM
winter hill seems destined for a developer who will build another housing project for the ' well-off '. nuli novi sub soli. has anybody ever analized all the developments of the last 8 years?
Daniel Gewerrtz August 31, 2012 at 04:52 PM
The Fresh Pond store was origianlly, and for a long time, a "regular" and "cheap" supermarket, and I'm pretty sure it was Stop & Shop. I shopped there in the late 70s. When it chaged to a Bread & Circus there was much consternation and a City Hall meeting as I recall. All the Bread & Circus stores changed over to Whole Foods when they were bought out several years ago. The nature of the stores stayed the same (though, ironically, I believe the owner of the whole huge chain is a Texan right-wing billionaire!)
Somerville Home Owner August 31, 2012 at 05:11 PM
That would be nice, but I don't think that area has enough of their target population.
AHM August 31, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Yup, was a Stop and Shop at one time. I was trying to remember when I worked at Zayres what they had there but the brain won't bring it up. But it was Stop and Shop, Bread and Circus and Whole Foods for sure.
Ron Newman September 01, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Yes, it's before your time. Bread & Circus was a local organic supermarket (often nicknamed 'Bread and Wallet') that was bought out by Whole Foods. Whole Foods has taken over a bunch of former Stop & Shops, not just at Fresh Pond, but also at Symphony and Charles River Plaza in Boston.
Brian T September 02, 2012 at 12:26 PM
The Star on Beacon is intentionally being kept open the way it is, with no renovations, simply to keep that piece of real estate from going to Trader joes or wf. Star/shaws has a monopoly in that area with their Porter Square location and wants to keep it this way.
Linda September 03, 2012 at 06:09 PM
The Foodmaster on Route 16 offers a good cheap alternative to the Whole Foods right around the corner in Medford. I like them both for different things. A Trader Joe's somewhere in this area would also be good.
jo September 03, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Foodmaster has been an institution in Somerville, starting with the Ball Square store (Johnny's). I worked at Alewife, Beacon St., Salem St and West Medford back in the 70's and 80's. Met a lot of great people there. I still run into some of them when I take a trip down to Somerville. Foodmaster will be missed.
Ilene Ungerleider September 06, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I think they should take over the empty supermarket on Broadway. Foodmaster is much cheaper, and should remain an option. I would actually like a second Market Basket in Somerville since the one we have is always so crowded.
Brian McCarthy October 26, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Alicia: Great idea. We need a shopping market in the neighborhood.
Brian McCarthy October 26, 2012 at 01:38 PM
I remembered my mother taking me to Johnnie's when I was a toddler. Then I worked there when I was in high school.


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