Residents Push for Grocery Shuttle as Johnnie's Closes

The Charlestown store is expected to shut down for renovations by Nov. 19.

With Johnnie’s Foodmaster reportedly closing by Nov. 19, Charlestown residents are urging officials to come up with a plan for shuttling people to supermarkets in Somerville or Chelsea.

At the Charlestown Neighborhood Council meeting Thursday night, several people raised concerns about getting a transportation program up and running—especially with Thanksgiving exactly two weeks away.

One council member said the decision of what to do “should have been made yesterday.”

Danielle Fitzgerald, neighborhood coordinator with the Mayor’s Office, said that the mayor was working with City Councilor Sal LaMattina and the Boston Elderly Commission to come up with a plan to help residents get to a grocery store—likely either Market Basket in Chelsea or Stop and Shop in Somerville.

“We are very aware that this is a very serious concern for all in the community,” Fitzgerald said.

CNC vice chairman David Whelan said the council planned to invite interested partners—possibly representatives from one or both of the nearby supermarkets—to attend an upcoming meeting but that it likely wouldn’t happen until early to mid December.

But some people felt that meeting should happen sooner.

Charlestown resident Melissa Brennan, a former CNC member, said she thought the council should go ahead and post a meeting date for later in November and then work to get interested parties there.

“It’s a hot-button issue, and people need food,” she said.

The Thompson Square Johnnie’s is one of six locations in and around Boston that were recently transferred to Whole Foods. The company plans to remodel all six stores and reopen them in late summer or early fall of 2013.

In the official announcement from Whole Foods, a tentative closing date of Nov. 30 was given, but members of the CNC said Thursday that the store was expected to close earlier, by Nov. 19.

Shortly after the official announcement of the transfer was made in October, the Townie Association set up a petition requesting that transportation be provided to nearby supermarkets and temp jobs be offered to current Johnnie's Foodmaster employees. As of Nov. 8, the online petition had 288 signatures.

What do you think? Should a supermarket shuttle be provided as soon as possible for Charlestown residents? How urgent is the issue? And do you have a preference—Stop and Shop or Market Basket? Tell us in the comments.

Joshua D November 09, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Go get Em Erin !!!!! I grew up in south Medford off Mystic ave .....moved here 3 years back .....Italian side from the north end .....Irish side from Somerville and Cambridge All working class immigrants ......family ran a foster home for 14 years ......I watched my mother care for children of the state as if they were her own and they became my family too. We were always a slap away from the projects ourselves.....my folks were life long renters .....father worked for the housing authority advocating for the homeless. I know a bit about the smaller piece of the pie. Someone said to me. "well this is capitalism" To that I say ; "No, this is a community"
Owen November 12, 2012 at 12:10 AM
You're saying that an urban community need only "critical supplies" to get by?
Owen November 12, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Seamus just put it perfectly. Sean Boyle, you're making this matter worse by trying ot draw a line between "Townies" and everyone else.
Owen November 12, 2012 at 12:22 AM
That argument doesn't fly with me. How dare you put yourself above those who haven't lived here since 1628. Have you read some of the down right hostile remarks from Townies on this issue? No, you ignore them because you're biased. You've had the luxury of being able to live here for thiry years. Some of us have chosen to serve our country and therefore live where the government sends them. I have been lucky enough to get stationed here in Boston. If one reviews many of the comments on this issue, they will find that many Townies who post on here are trying to draw a line between locals and non-locals. Are you intentionally trying to be unwelcoming?
Owen November 12, 2012 at 12:24 AM
This is a community in a capitalist country. Do you seriously think you're better because you chose not to live anywhere else? Do you seriously believe that anyone who didn't grow up in the area is some rich snop here to destroy this fantasy world you have of a golden age where everyone loved everyone and did everything for each other?


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