DISCUSS: Whole Foods Might Buy Johnnie's Foodmaster in Melrose

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

on Main Street in Melrose could become Whole Foods, according to a report on the Boston Globe website.

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.

Read the Boston Globe story here.

People tend to have strong opinions about both Whole Foods and Johnnie's Foodmaster, so with that in mind we'd like to know: What do you think about the possibility of Whole Foods buying Johnnie's Foodmaster?

Do you want Whole Foods to move in? Or are you a Johnnie's Foodmaster loyalist? Either way, let us know where you stand by posting a comment in the comments section below.

Nicholas August 31, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Yes, we definitely want Whole Foods in Melrose! The food is of much better quality than either of our current supermarket choices and, as Lory has pointed out several times (but nobody seems to be hearing), it's actually NOT more expensive than regular grocery stores. There seems to be a widespread perception that it's more expensive, but that's probably due to Whole Foods having some more expensive options available to those who want to spend more. If you actually compare apples to apples (or milk to milk, bread to bread, etc.), you would find the pricing to be very similar between Whole Foods and other major supermarkets.
Lory Hough August 31, 2012 at 01:10 PM
I just wanted to add, in response to an earlier comment, that when I shop at places like Whole Foods or Traders Joe's, I don't believe I'm "purchasing superior products" just because they are more expensive. I know I'm buying superior products because they don't have artificial colors, hydrogenated oil, artificial this and that, etc. And in terms of the impact on farmers markets, I don't think it's an either/or situation. In fact, most people I know who frequent Whole Foods or Trader Joe's are big supporters of local farmers markets and shop at both!
beth carroll August 31, 2012 at 01:31 PM
lory and nicholas - yes, i did hear your comments that you feel WF prices are competitive. i disagree. based on what we buy for our family (and clearly, given the comments above about allergies and gluten free, we all have our own needs when it comes to shopping), our family does not find WF to be price-effective. this is why it's good to have a variety of stores, so that we can all find what we need. the article asked for opinions - and ours differ, and that's fine. i'll be sad to see Johnnie's go, if that's what happens, and you'll be pleased. so be it. :)
June Morrison August 31, 2012 at 02:06 PM
While I think a Whole Foods Store would be a boom to Melrose, NOT at this site for the reasons you mention.
David Lucas August 31, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Johnnie's is an incredible member and sponsor of the Melrose community, they just don't advertise it. I remember two years ago at the Melrose High School Scholarship Fund breakfast - which they fully sponsor each year, both labor and food - the CEO (who comes every year) pulled out his checkbook on the spot and wrote a sizable check to help us meet our goal. He would never pat himself on the back for it, either. I could only hope that Whole Foods would do the same for our many Melrose charities; and even if the property assessment were to increase (which it probably would not), I'm not sure that would outweigh the direct benefit to so many of our students, little leaguers and seniors.
Susanne Guirakhoo August 31, 2012 at 04:08 PM
To those of you who mentioned having to drive a distance to purchase specialty items: Green Street Natural Foods is basically around the corner from Johnnie's, they carry gluten free, vegan, organic - you name it. And what you don't find in the store, they will gladly order for you, even if it's just two cups of soy yoghurt! I personally would love to see a Whole Foods in Melrose, especially for the produce
Jim Murphy August 31, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I don't find the local Shaws to be that much less expensive than a Whole Foods. I do like the concept of Johnnies, but I don't think they would be selling it if they could make a go of it. I know they tried to remodel it a few years ago, but it doesn't seem like it. So I think the question is more of a if Johnnies can't make it, what could? I think a WHole Foods would work, alot of people in Melrose like Whole Foods like to shope there and there isn't one close by. Trader Joes is only 2 miles away so I can't see the need of one closer.
Lisa Lewis August 31, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I would love to see a Whole Foods here! In addition to being a supermarket, its also a great place to grab a quick bite that is reasonably healthy. There are few options for those nights that I just don't have it in me to cook dinner! As for the farmer's market comment -- I personally will absolutely still continue to choose the farmer's market over WF during the summer months, but WF - like all big grocery chains - isn't limited to what's in season here, so WF will remain relevant then too!
Edith McGandy Ackerman August 31, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Oh, and to the people who have time to go to Woburn or Reading for Market Basket prices, more power to you, but I don't have time to do that after a full work day/week. I have to shop in Melrose and want to support our local businesses anyway, so I'm a Johnny's shopper until someone replaces it because there's great parking and it's about 3 minutes from my house.
Erin D August 31, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Although a Whole Foods would be nice to have, I can't imagine it's going to be a reality. They will be one of the anchor stores in the new Lynnfield complex (right on the Wakefield line). Being just 10-15 minutes away, I don't suppose a Melrose WF would pull a drastically different audience. Two WFs in this small area seems like over saturation compared to what is typical for them.
Edith McGandy Ackerman August 31, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Erin, ordinarily I'd agree, seems implausible, but the globe story reports that most of the Johnny's locations are on the market, and WF is considering buying Melrose.
Kristen Cantin August 31, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I would hate to see it come here. We have a wonderful natural food store here in Melrose that my husbands family has owned for 37 years. Green Street Natural Food is the best!
Percy August 31, 2012 at 08:34 PM
The Lynnfield location is north of 128. The Melrose location would draw from people who want to avoid the highways and who live in WH's largest gap in coverage in the inner Boston suburbs: the area north of the Mystic River, east of 93 and south of 128. The Swampscott location is too awkwardly placed to serve most of the folks in that wedge. Note that there is many locations much closer elsewhere.
Kristen Cantin August 31, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I also forgot to mention that Green Street carries a great variety of all Organic produce..
GH September 01, 2012 at 02:23 AM
I agree with Kristen , if you havent been to Green Street Market you should make it part of your shopping routine , you'll be amazed what you 'll find there. I go for many items but love the bulk spices , grains and tahini paste sold in bulk. and customer service !
cheryl harrison September 01, 2012 at 02:25 AM
yep..just what we need in Melrose..ANOTHER PRICEY store...driving all the less "affluent" schmucks like me right outta Melrose.. why not something more affordable for some of us like me who don't have "gold lined pockets"?
cheryl harrison September 01, 2012 at 02:27 AM
EXACTLY what I have been trying to say
Elaine Foley September 01, 2012 at 03:58 AM
I do like Whole Foods but I do notice my receipt is always markedly higher than when I shop elsewhere. I think this will adversely affect the senior population in the area.
Matt T September 01, 2012 at 05:35 AM
I'm a fan of Whole Foods products, but not the prices. Used to shop there regularly, but eventually decided to shop elsewhere to save money.
Percy September 01, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Except that Shaw's and Johnnies and S&S are *not* value-oriented supermarkets: they all overcharge (often way overcharge) for bad value, except for items on sale (if you are like me, you know the sale patterns like the back of your hand and indulge in barnacle-like shopping only at that those places). The only value-oriented supermarkets around here are Market Basket and Price Rite. Whole Foods has many items that offer better value at roughly the same price point as Shaw's/S&S/JF not on sale. So, it's not like we're losing much for value shopping with this switch.
Jenine Wright September 02, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Everyone makes valid points. The big picture is society needs education on the facts of the food industry and why paying a little extra now could save you a lot later. Our food industry is a mess and it is causing a lot of our health problems. As consumers we need to be aware of our own choices and do what we can do but at least with whole foods there are options of food with no chemicals and artificial ingredients. Knowing that the food you’re feeding your family is not genetically modified and that we can trust that they are a company that does have the environment and conscious agricultural practices in mind. Nothing is perfect but it is better than most and if you can’t get local and know where your food is coming from and how it is grown etc. then it is the next best thing. We should welcome a whole foods with excitement and open arms. As far as cost, be smart about how much food you buy, less animal products, more veggies and eating less can help us all around. This would be a very positive addition to our community!
Anita September 02, 2012 at 01:55 AM
There s a WF in Medford and Woburn, and soon to be one in Lynnfield. We do not need one in Melrose. I like Johnnies. It is small enough that I can quickly get what I need and get out. The prices are decent. No, the produce is not the greatest but it is more than adequate for most folk and Green Street Market is right around the corner. If you want cheap prices, go to a Market Basket - I cannot deal with the crowds. Shaws has better produce than Johnnies and often has great sales. I hope WF stays away.
The Dude September 02, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Good grief, people. This is turning into the typical Melrose division of class warfare. The same problem exists within the Melrose school system. The fight over getting funding for the Middle School was incredibly silly with a bunch of the old guard against making improvements to our infrastructure. Melrose is in the shadows of Winchester and offers a great community for families. If you have lived here for 30+ years, then change might be a bit much for you, but these changes are helping improve your number one investment; your house. So accept change and appreciate that bringing a Whole Foods will help you in the long run. If it is too much for you, then move. I'm happy either way, but lets face it, Johnnies is rundown and has neglected making improvements. There are benefits to Johnnies - having a bagger at every checkout line and the recycling center is excellent, but the store is an eyesore with a mediocre selection of food.
Joe N. September 10, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I'm all for this! My wife and I currently make a weekly trip to the WF on the Woburn/Winchester line, so it'd be great to avoid the 20-25 minute drive. The produce, meat/fish and over all selection of organic options are unparalleled.
cheryl harrison September 10, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Where will the low income residents of McCarthy House shop if WholeFoods comes..clearly they will have have a hard time with the higher prices.
George September 20, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Dirty? Really? I'm not sure what your expectations are, or whether they'll be met. I Iike Foodmaster (the shaws is fine too... for a Shaws), it reminds me of grocery stores from when I was a child, and I think the seafood and meats are generally better and more affordable than Shaws.
dan fitzgerald September 20, 2012 at 10:55 PM
this will put shaws out of business i hate shopping at shaws the woman manager is a bich and whole foods will have great quilty iam up for the change johnnys is dirty old meat is frozen than put out fresh like the chicken family owen busines same as marketbasket thats why prices lower poor standard whole foods has more standdard to aplay than a marketbasket dan fitz been in the business over 31 years
L. Holden September 25, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I agree. Whole Foods is a great food chain, more health oriented, and hopefully, it would be good for Melrose. . The elderly low income residents, in Melrose, especially those who live next door to that Johnnie's Supermarket, could not afford to pay the higher prices at Whole Foods. Perhaps Whole Foods could offer a discount card, for some basic food items, for those elderly low income residents, as a good neighbor gesture. Also, the traffic is bound to get heavier, something to think about, with schools in the area and for those who crossing streets around the supermarket..
KRS October 01, 2012 at 04:29 PM
The prices at Johnnie's Foodmaster are often comparable to or higher than those I find at other "boutique" grocery stores. The folks who think Johnnie's is affordable must only be buying their "Best" brand products. Otherwise, I rarely find good value at Johnnie's. I've frequently found expired products (dairy and produce primarily) on the shelf; consuming expired products is not a good thing for our local senior residents. Although their meat and bakery are good, Johnnie's produce is always poor, which is why I would support the switch to Whole Foods. Overall, I think Johnnie's should either improve the quality of their offerings at the Melrose location (make it more comparable to their "higher end" Brookline location) or let another operator take over that space and improve the quality of the inventory and the neighborhood.
Daniel October 30, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Whole foods is one of the best paying retailers out there. If any major positive comes of this it is eliminating a bunch of minimum wage jobs, and replacing them with very well paying jobs that actually meet Melrose cost of living standards.


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