Whole Foods Charlestown Gambit on Hold or Are They Moving Forward?

Whether or not the Charlestown Foodmaster will be sold as part of a package deal to Whole Foods, and converted to a Whole Foods market, remains a question.

One week after reports surfaced that Johnnie’s Foodmaster was apparently negotiating with Whole Foods for the sale and purchase of seven Foodmaster locations in Massachusetts the outcome of negotiations remain private business.

Johnnie’s officials said last week that they would have no comments on negotiations, with one Johnnie’s official saying she didn’t believe, when all was said and done, that anything was going to happen changing the order of things as Charlestown residents have known them for many, many years.

“When a Johnnie’s official says nothing is likely to happen that probably means the sale is just about done. At least that’s what I was told by a Johnnie’s employee,” said a journalist familiar with the recent Whole Foods takeover of a market in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

General local sentiment registered during a spate of independent interviews last week reveals a Charlestown at odds with itself over the possible change.

One the one hand, up-scale newcomers said Whole Foods is their store of choice and would be welcome.

Organic food devotees said that alone was a reason to cheer.

But mainstream Charlestown residents, longtime residents and even some of the newcomers said that Foodmaster prices were already high and that they worried about Whole Foods food prices being even higher.

Some said they worried about the elderly trying to cope with a Whole Foods. Others complained they themselves were concerned that many products carried by Foodmaster like tonic water, Coca Cola and many other basics that are neither organic nor healthy foods will not be carried by a Whole Foods.

Whatever the final outcome, Foodmaster customers and employees are concerned about the sale now being negotiated.

At risk is Charlestown’s major grocery undergoing a literal and physical revolution with the outcome, much higher prices and less of a selection.

A recent Boston Globe editorial described the potential arrival of a Whole Foods in Charlestown as the ultimate proof the neighborhood has arrived as a highly gentrified neighborhood.

That bit of glorious thought is surpassed by many, many residents wondering thoughtfully about where they will shop if and when the Foodmaster converts to a Whole Foods.

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