Letters to the Editor: August 13 – 19, 2020
Whole Foods Not Worth More Than Staple F.C. Establishments
I felt compelled to respond to the editorial entitled “Make Sure We Get Whole Foods.” The primary justification put forth in the editorial seems to be that under current economic conditions (which the writer seems to be projecting out into the future, which is speculative at best) that grocery stores are cash cows for tax revenues and restaurants are not, and that the City should not “sacrifice a mega-supermarket in an attempt to shore up three local restaurants.”
Since the writer did not state what was meant by “shore up,” I assume the writer is referring to the concerns voiced by these existing establishments of the significant negative impact on available parking to serve these establishments during construction by virtue of the project taking over the long time existing parking in the City owned lot to accommodate the Whole Foods footprint.
I find this analysis to be dismissive of the value of small local businesses to the local economy and the quality of life in our community. I assume that the three local businesses being referred to are Clare & Don’s, the State Theatre and Thompson’s. The first two have been long time members of our business community that have contributed to the community for many years, and Thompson’s has been an outstanding new addition. These are all small businesses with roots in the community that I suspect are struggling to survive in these challenging times. I am not anti-development (I have been in the real estate industry for almost 40 years) and I recognize the many benefits a Whole Foods would bring.
However, City Council should only welcome Whole Foods to our community if it is does not jeopardize the viability of our existing small businesses. Whole Foods will be just fine if this store is never built, and the City is not underserved with its existing grocery store options as well as the one planned for the West End project. If adequate consideration is not given to these small local businesses in this process, their future is greatly in doubt which in my opinion would do great harm to the fabric of our community.
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