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“The residents of Brookland deserve the fresh food and variety that Whole Foods offers.”

by Prince Of Petworth September 28, 2016 at 10:05 pm 115 Comments


I was excited to see a report on the Brookland Listserv yesterday that a Change petition had reached 721 signatures. And they even have a Facebook page. But then I saw the page, Bring Whole Foods to Brookland, was started back in February of 2014. So they got stamina too! Think their persistence will pay off? Unfortunately I haven’t heard anymore scuttlebutt on this since July 2013.

The residents of Brookland deserve the fresh food and variety that Whole Foods offers. Currently, the only grocery options in Brookland are Giant and Yes! Organic. The quality of the food at the Giant is too low, and it’s not within walking distance of the core of Brookland. The Yes! Organic has a very small selection of produce and a virtually non-existent offering of meat, poultry, and fish. We need a central grocery store that has the healthy food and variety that will keep our husbands, wives, children and friends healthy and happy, without traveling to P Street or H Street.

Healthy foods help us avoid diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high blood pressure, gout, etc. Whole Foods’ excellent offering of healthy food makes it easier to eat healthy food, especially if it opens a location in the middle of our neighborhood.

Our neighborhood is growing exponentially; between the families, young professionals, long-time residents, and university students in the neighborhood, we have more than enough demand to satisfy Whole Foods.

Join me in asking Whole Foods to open a store in Brookland by signing the petition. We can do this!

  • guest

    what about those adults who are not a husband or a wife? some of us adults are single! (and/or do not fit the gender binary)

    • anon

      The neighborhood activists would likely remind you that Brookland is a “family-friendly” neighborhood.

    • Hill Denizen

      I think they fall in the friends category. Guess it just excludes misanthropes then.

  • anon

    Where? In one of the new buildings yet undesigned? Maybe people in Brookland need to be less hostile to development if they want new large-scale retail.
    The MRP Realty project in Edgewood and the RIA DC project in Brentwood are both trying to court grocery stores. Maybe these residents could show some support for those projects.

    • jimmycrackcorn

      +1000000000000000000000000000000000. Too many of my neighbors want it both ways. New grocery stores and other retail but NO new residents!

      • katinka

        uuugh +1

    • JoDa

      Or you could see this as the pushback against those residents (who are the minority, no matter how loud they are) who club developers with everything they can. Isn’t a petition promoting a grocery store kind of exactly “supporting development.” And Edgewood and RIA are just as far from a large swath of Brookland as the current Giant. Notice that they are Edgewood and Brentwood, NOT Brookland. I know it sounds like splitting hairs, but if you live north of the Metro, those aren’t particularly accessible locations.

      • anon

        Perhaps they could’ve supported the adding commercial space to 12th and Allison in Michigan Park? Tried to quiet down or oppose the neighbors repeatedly killing plans to build mixed-use spaces at 901 Monroe St. NE?
        This is a terrible, vague, and uninformed way to support development, if that’s actually what they’re doing. I sort of assume they want this Whole Foods to come as a single-story retail building with a big surface lot, and that’s simply not acceptable for a transit-accessible area with a massive shortage of housing.

        • JoDa

          So…I was at a lot of those meetings. I raised my hand to speak, and was not called upon. I wrote, called, did what I could…but at the end of the day, I can’t take multiple days off work to go testify about why I support the development plans on the table. People with less to do on an average weekday get the say when it comes down to it. That isn’t how it should be, but it’s how it is. Most of my neighbors support the development of McMillion, 901 Evarts, and the Colonel Brooks site, but we can’t show up at hearing after hearing and meeting after meeting, many on weekdays during the day, to voice that support.
          Even when the community comes together, we face challenges. See what happened with Brookland’s Finest. When everyone got together and said “hey, we want this” and showed up, we were shut down by a tin dictator. We were, obviously, ultimately successful in that, but it shouldn’t be that hard.
          I also don’t think that anyone would want the full-service grocer on the last plot by Monroe Street Market to be a single-story with surface parking. That is the preferred location, and it would likely come as a grocer on the first floor and apartments/condos above, with below-ground parking.

      • eollauson

        But there are also options for those of us in North Michigan Park, such as the Giant off of Riggs, the Wal-Mart and other locations right across the MD border if you have a car.

  • Mike Lions

    Hey we gentrified this neighborhood and now we deserve a Whole Foods! And a farmer’s market! And a Shinola!

    • Anom

      And a West Elm!

      • ***

        Shake Shack! Uniqlo! Trader Joes! REI!

        • TX2DC

          Crate and Barrel now!

          • Bloomy

            At least there’s a starbucks (god, there’s a starbucks, right?)

          • JoDa

            Not yet Bloomy. Coming soon. There was also a large debate about that. Because a certain element thinks we shouldn’t have nice things (both people who live there and on this blog apparently!) (also I hate Sbx coffee, but apparently many people don’t, and it is nice to have a place to grab an iced tea or juice once in a while, and Filter has stupid evening hours).

          • JQH3

            “Hi, yes, my name is Randy Marsh, um… we would like to try and get a Whole Foods in our town. Yes, that’s right it’s… Brookland in NE DC. No no no no no, it’s not what you think! SoDoSoPa, SoDoSoPa, arts and entertainment district, cultural, cultural!”

  • neighbor

    I think I just puked a little inside my mouth. Do these people have any sense of self awareness at all?

    • SouthParkDidIt


  • eollauson

    Yes, the listserv had a great debate on which grocery store would fit our neighborhood the best, with many folks wishing Wegmans would swoop in and save the day, as if Brookland is some food desert. There are two Giants and a Wal-Mart within a ten minute drive, not to mention the Yes market on 12th Street.

    What makes me laugh is that so many folks outright reject any development to the neighborhood and complain about traffic but expect some huge chain grocer to just slot into some small vacant space in the neighborhood. If a Wegmans comes to Brookland, it would take up half the neighborhood in square footage and parking… Which is why there is one 20 minutes away in Landover. If Whole Foods did move into the neighborhood the listserv would bitch about traffic or affordability or what grocer should have moved in instead.

  • Neighborly

    If “core Brookland” is really the target location, where exactly would this go?

    • anon8

      There is a vacant lot in the Monroe Street Market that is currently being used as a staging for the new town home sales. This lot has the space.

      • Neighborly

        The area you’re referring to is literally Edgewood, as is everything that is Monroe Street Market. Despite how hard this is being pushed as Brookland, it just isn’t. I’d say the actual “core Brookland” couldn’t fit this.

        • SamWE

          What are you talking about? MSM is a stone’s throw from BROOKLAND metro and the heart of that neighborhood.

          • Neighborly

            I understand that. I’ve lived in the area for 25+ years. I stones throw away doesn’t make it BROOKLAND. Google “Edgewood, DC.” Look up Edgewood on Wikipedia. Refer to literally any map. Monroe Street Market is completely within the boundaries of Edgewood, not Brookland.

  • JohnH

    I go to Whole Foods for some specific things, but I could NEVER do my daily grocery shopping there. Granted, everyone’s different – but just the absurd prices you pay should disqualify that. With the super nice Giant opening on O, along with Trader Joe’s opening further up 14th, there’s been a noticeable decline in people going to Whole Foods at 14th and P. It’s still busy at times, but it’s less busy at the times I have typically gone than it used to be. And on a national level, it’s the same thing – they’re struggling.
    And side note: the thought that having a Whole Foods makes you eat healthy is absurd. My favorite items there are their sausages, queso and mini brownies for heaven sakes. Just because products are ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or whatever – doesn’t make them healthy.

    • flieswithhoney

      Seriously. I can’t shop at Whole Foods without hitting up the delicious, delicious cookie bins. Or perusing the huge selection of ice cream.

  • RV

    “The quality of the food at the Giant is too low”

    Giant is very far from being my favorite grocer (y’all can have more than 2 cashiers working at once!), but this is such a ridiculously unsubstantiated premise that reeks of financial privilege and nutritional ignorance.

    • JoDa

      Really? I once went in trying to buy some on-sale bagged spinach and left with nothing because all the bags of spinach were rotting in place. I can smell their seafood counter from the front door. Their store brand peanut butter, ketchup, and BBQ sauce are so sugary I can’t even eat them. The last time I was in there, ostensibly to just pick up some commercial bread products, I happened upon some organic eggs on a good sale, grabbed a few cartons, then saw that one of them had a broken egg in it. I handed it to the guy stocking the egg display saying “this one has a broken egg in it,” and he just looked at me before setting it back down in the sale display. A sucker every minute!

      • dcd

        ” The last time I was in there, ostensibly to just pick up some commercial bread products, I happened upon some organic eggs on a good sale, grabbed a few cartons, then saw that one of them had a broken egg in it. I handed it to the guy stocking the egg display saying “this one has a broken egg in it,” and he just looked at me before setting it back down in the sale display.”
        Perhaps this was one of the reasons the carton was on sale? Was it still a good deal of you only got 11 eggs?

        • Hill Denizen

          This isn’t a shoe store selling the floor model. Grocery stores don’t put one item on sale (with the exception of those shelves that sell discontinued products).

        • NH Ave Hiker

          Have you never bought eggs before? They break sometimes.

          • samanda_bynes


        • JoDa

          It struck me they were discontinuing the product. Dozens of cartons on sale of one brand. And if an egg is broken in a carton, staff should remove it from the shelves. Not put it back for the sucker who doesn’t check to buy. Are you really serious that you find that okay? This attitude is why service and quality are terrible in this city, I guess (also, a buck seventy-five for six eggs, while a sale, is still enough that I should get six whole eggs).
          This whole thread is a “you’ll get what you’re offered and like it” as if people in other neighborhoods aren’t out regularly bitching about things in their neighborhood. But because we moved to a food desert, we should just live with that forever. Not all of us are on the bandwagon with the 200 footers, and many of us moved here expecting planned/proposed/potential developments to pan out. You know, like so many of you who bough in Petworth before there was any “there” there…

        • textdoc

          +1 to “if an egg is broken in a carton, staff should remove it from the shelves. Not put it back for the sucker who doesn’t check to buy.”
          The problem wasn’t that the egg was broken — that happens. The problem was that when alerted, the employee just put the carton back where it was.

      • Bryan

        A few things of note here….
        1) If you are aiming to buy store brand anything, why the hell do you think a Whole Foods is going to solve any of your issues?
        2) Not sure where the seafood counter is, but the Giant in Columbia Hts seafood counter can be smell pretty much along the aisles nearby. Because it is seafood. Which tends to have a rather pungent smell.
        3) An egg broke and the person looked at you like you had two heads? That’s because most people just put the carton with a broken egg back down. And it then gets replaced when they restock. Why would a worker want to either carry along with him/her a broken case of eggs OR have to drop what they are doing and go in the backroom to put the eggs somewhere? That’s ridiculous.
        4) Isn’t pretty normal for people to check the eggs before they go away? So…if someone is stupid enough to buy a case with a broken egg on the inside, they are deserving of that egg for being an idiot.

        • Alex

          WF has a store brand, too: 365 (also 365 organic). I have comparison shopped and 9/10 times the price is equal or better to those I find in other stores.

          WF also has a community-support component (they regularly give huge $ to the surrounding community) and provide jobs with terrific benefits to many people with no experience (you start as a bagger or checker and get a 401k and insurance and can be promoted w/in 6 months).

          Sure, some things are pricier, but you are paying for sustainable and fair trade products in many cases.

          Let’s (myself included) just try to avoid broad-based stereotypes in either direction. Not all WF shoppers are elitist pigs, and it is not just for rich people.

          I just would love to have calm, civil dialogue somewhere these days….. [sighs tiredly]

          • Bryan

            I didn’t attack the person. I thought it was a calm conversation. Just saying that you are focusing on some of the most minute things that people could harp on.

        • JoDa

          Whole Foods has store brand products. They are high quality and the bulk of what I buy from them. Harris Teeter also has high-quality store brand products. Giant’s suck.
          The seafood counter in that Giant is in the back, about as far from the door as you can get. It reeks. Seafood should not smell. Go walk past the seafood counter at Harris Teeter or Whole Foods, no smell at all. Fresh fish smells like the sea (a little salty, maybe), not like it’s decomposing.
          The person I handed the carton to was stocking the egg display. He was exactly the person to remove the defective carton. He put it back out for sale. That’s an unacceptable way to stock a store. Period. No one deserves defective items that the appropriate staff are aware of.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I used to stock shelves at a grocery store. I certainly would have at least gotten a warning (3 warnings = fired) if not fired on the spot if a customer handed me a carton of eggs and informed me that it contained a broken egg and I just put it back down on the shelf.
          I do not mean to apply this to all of Giant’s staff, most of whom are nice and helpful, but as a general comment on Giant being a poorly-run store, I was once in there at about 10 PM, and the meat department staff had left for the day, but the seafood guy was still there, cleaning up the seafood case. A woman who must have been at least 80 years old politely asked the seafood guy if he could get something from the meat case for her. His response, which I will quote verbatim because I remember it well for obvious reasons, was “Do I look like the f*cking butcher to you. I’m SEA-FOOD. SEA. FOOD.” This employee was an adult at least in his thirties, not a child, and he said this to a customer, and one who was old enough to be his grandmother for that matter.

          • JoDa

            OMG, THANK YOU for speaking some sense here. I spent half of my college years working in a grocery store, and what I experience here WOULD. (PERIOD) NOT. (PERIOD) FLY. (PERIOD) Periods for emphasis.
            Every store has their great people. I *adore* the (one?) butcher at the NYA Harris Teeter, who has stepped up and helped me many times in the last few years, even when it wasn’t his “job.” There’s a cashier at the Brentwood Giant whose line I would stand in all day because he is fast, efficient, and friendly.
            But the truth is these gems are outnumbered by surly staff who get away with it, aided by general understaffing. The customer experience is really terrible here. I don’t need you to kiss my feet upon entering the front door, but if you could, you know, direct me to items when I ask (or call someone who can), get out of my way when you’re stocking a shelf and I’m trying to buy something on that same shelf, ring me out as quickly as possible, and not seem upset about “having” to do any of those things, that would be great!

          • JoDa

            I kind of think a lot of the passive acceptance of low standards around here is a factor of people not having those kind of experiences. Most of the people I grew up around spent time working in low-level retail, grocery stores, fast food, or the back-end of restaurants (busser, dishwasher, line cook). I commented today to a coworker who has been working professionally for less than a year that my service oriented attitude must have been shaped by working at Kroger, and he looked at me with a face that can only be described as disgust and said “you worked at a grocery store?” I mean, his face was a complete “AS IF!” despite me being a senior staffer who was actually saving his ass. I brushed it off, but WTF??? I *really* wanted to add “and McDonalds, which, at that time and place, paid about the current minimum wage in DC, but 17 years ago!”

    • ***

      I would have to agree about the quality of produce at Giant (and even more so Safeway) – generally I find the produce at Giant to be very low-quality and on the verge of being bad. I also find the selection to be lacking – I’m never able to get everything I went in the store for. And from a price perspective, I don’t find the prices to be any better than Whole Foods, so I’d rather just go to Whole Foods and get a better quality product.

      I do think this varies location to location – the newer Giants that I have been to have better stocked and larger produce selections – but I’m not going to drive miles out of way to go to one.

      • BRKLND

        This. I find that nearly every time I try to buy produce from this particular giant mentioned as well as the Teeter at the navy yard the quality is terrible. My most recent experience was trying to buy potatoes and onions. I picked up a back of potatoes and apparently they had been there long enough to rot and potato sludge came dripping out. Also tried picking up a bag of onions which were brown and smushy on the bottom and covered in flies.
        That said…Whole foods doesn’t seem to be a realistic hope. I don’t necessarily have a problem with Yes’ selection they are just expensive. Some stuff is more than double what it costs elsewhere.
        Unrelated – does anyone have any info on what is happening with the corner building on 12th and Hamlin. Looks like it could be a restaurant?

        • Laura

          Based on the permit I saw, it’s a property owned by the folks who own Finest, who are looking for a tenant. Which I thought was odd, but hey, as someone who lives near 10th/Franklin, we need some more stuff this way.

      • JohnH

        While Whole Foods produce is significantly better than most other grocery stores (except their bananas that are always mushy, ugh), it’s laughable for you to say it costs the same.

        • ***

          I guess it depends on what you are buying, but having shopped at both Giant and Whole Foods, I feel like I come out the same.

          • JohnH

            Feeling like you are is not the same thing. I can name you 5 things that cost 100% more at Whole Foods than at Giant. $2 instead of $1 may not seem like a big difference but it adds up if you’re truly buying day to day produce on a consistent basis. On top of that, WF doesn’t sell all basic produce (I.e. You have to buy Bibb lettuce vs iceberg which costs significantly more).

          • JoDa

            I’ve already mentioned the things that cost *less* at Whole Foods, so I won’t repeat myself. Again, it depends on what you’re buying. Once again, all in, Whole Foods via Instacart costs me $5-10 less per week than Harris Teeter or Giant. That’s pretty impressive when you consider that I’m paying about $4 for the basic delivery (annual fee/annual deliveries) and about $3 tip/order. Sure, you can buy $7 asparagus water at Whole Foods if you’re stupid, but, if you’re smart, you can buy cheaper organics, unusual produce, bulk dry goods, and higher-end staples (please refer to the comment about store-brand olive oil!).

          • FridayGirl

            “but, if you’re smart, you can buy cheaper organics, unusual produce, bulk dry goods, and higher-end staples (please refer to the comment about store-brand olive oil!).”
            I agree with this. I’ve found that much of the produce (not bananas, but seasonal and sale items, which they have lots of) and some meats are actually significantly cheaper and better quality at Whole Foods than at other stores. But I only shop the perimeter. I get my other food elsewhere.
            Long story short, I think it may just be what you’re buying, JohnH. Since I’m pretty flexible and buy what’s on sale and in season more often, perhaps that is why I save when I go to Whole Foods (where as you seem to be looking for more specific items…)

      • Bryan

        Giant prices and Whole Foods prices are not comparable. That’s insantiy. Giant may not be as good but dear lord at least they aren’t nicknamed “Whole Paycheck.”

        • HaileUnlikely

          I have found that basically every store out there has the best deal in town on a few things. It is very hard to beat Whole Foods on cage-free eggs, bulk oatmeal, and olive oil, to name a few items off the top of my head. A liter of store brand extra virgin olive oil at Whole Foods is about $8 and is way better than the $14 bottle of store brand stuff you’ll get at Safeway or Giant and in my opinion equal to or better than their more expensive offerings. Simple staples like boxed mac & cheese, canned tuna, dried beans, canned beans, ordinary pasta, etc are available at Whole Foods for prices competitive with Safeway and Giant. Yes, if you do 100% of your shopping all at one store, and that one store is either Whole Foods or else Giant, you will probably spend slightly more at Whole Foods than at Giant for a nominally-equivalent bundle of groceries. But one can do ok at Whole Foods if one is thoughtful about it. You’ll only spend a lot more at Whole Foods than at Giant if you buy higher-end products at Whole Foods that are not even available at Giant.

          • ***

            I also factor in the inconvenience of going to multiple stores. Could I get X at Giant for a little cheaper? Sure, maybe. But I’d have to make an additional stop on the weekend or have to spend 2 evenings during the week making grocery runs. I usually figure the time I get back not chasing sales and shopping every day of the week is worth it.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Sure. I shop much as you do now. There was a time when I was younger, poorer, and because I was unemployed, valued my time very differently than I do now, so spending a few hours to save a few dollars actually made sense. In any event, my general point is that if buying ordinary stuff as opposed to special fancy sh!t, Whole Foods really is not much more expensive than anywhere else.
            I think this petition is utterly absurd and the baloney about “deserving” a Whole Foods makes me nauseous, but the “Whole Paycheck” nickname is, in my experience, not warranted.

  • JoDa

    So, being an informed Brookland resident, I should probably chime in.
    One of the offers for the development at the Metro included a letter of intent from Harris Teeter. When certain interested groups complained about the plan, Metro went with a smaller footprint plan with no grocery store. You reap what you sow!
    Whole Foods isn’t that spendy if you buy certain things. I currently buy a chunk of my groceries from them through Instacart (about 75% of my produce comes from a farm share, so I’m buying meat/dairy, pantry staples, grains, and supplemental veggies I didn’t get in my “box”), and it’s cheaper than Giant or Harris Teeter, even after considering the annual fee for Instacart and tipping the drivers ~10% of my order. Whole Foods kind of has the corner on many organic items, so my milk, eggs, and many veggies cost less than most other stores (just one example, a dozen organic eggs are $4.50 at Harris Teeter and $5.50+ at Giant, but reliably $3.50 at Whole Foods), and then when you add the bulk section to that (rice, quinoa, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, etc.)…well, after paying the Instacart annual membership + tip, I save $5-10/order over shopping at Harris Teeter or Giant. AND I DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE MY HOUSE.

    • anon

      I also use Instacart to shop from Whole Foods and don’t find my groceries to be that much more expensive, if at all, than going to Giant- even with tip and membership fee. However, I fear my days of Instacarting will soon be coming to an end since we live practically next door to the H St Whole Foods. That would be the ultimate laziness!

      • Ed

        I seem to have found my people so I’ll respond here. Also a Brookland resident and Whole Foods Instacart shopper – I consider the $149 a year for unlimited delivery a tax on not living on P St between 14th and 15th because that’s the only place it would be more convenient. I order from work and often the food beats me home.

        In terms of where this would go, the final parcel of the Monroe Street Market development on Monroe between 7th and 8th has always been slated for a grocery store. I’m hopeful for a Whole Foods 365 since I think the footprint isn’t quite big enough for a full store.

        • Barry

          You guys should get a MOMs. MOMs actually provides the quality and sustainability people think they get at whole foods. MOMs has a small foot print but packs a lot it. They are local. They are good to their employees. It is the best store. This is a no brainier people. That is who you should be courting.

          • OneDecadeIn

            And they are the most expensive grocery store, bar none. Please.

          • Anon

            +1 to MOMs being great, but I think Brookland is probably too close to the Ivy City MOMs that already exists for the chain to come in there too. I live in Langdon and we use a combination farm share + MOMs at Ivy City for 95% of our gorceries.

    • Bryan

      Does Whole Foods even offer non organic eggs? I ask because the largest contingent of people living in Brookland don’t give a hoot about organic eggs and would prefer the overall cheaper normal dozen of eggs over that $3.50 for a dozen of organic eggs. For instance, a dozen 12 eggs from the Giant in Columbia Hts is $2.99.

      • JoDa

        According to Instacart, they don’t really have a “cheap” option. But that’s kind of splitting hairs, if I’m reading this correctly. Giant is charging $3 for conventional eggs and WF is asking $3.50 for organic.
        FWIW, Harris Teeter often has conventional 18-egg cartons for under $3 (I believe the regular price is $2.49). On sale they’re $1.99.

  • caballero

    “Our neighborhood is growing exponentially; between the families, young professionals, long-time residents, and university students in the neighborhood, we have more than enough demand to satisfy Whole Foods.”

    If this were true, Whole Foods would have figured this out already.

    • Anonymous

      Seriously. These residents do know that each of these nationals chains has an army of MBAs, consultants, marketers, and data engineers figuring out the next location for development (and also closing stores based on poor sales or demographics)?
      I guarantee WFs knows that Brookland exists, but frankly the density and foot traffic isn’t high enough (yet) to justify a $5m+ outlay to open a store.

      • DCbyDay


      • Belinskaya

        They know this, perhaps, but they also know begging has worked in the past: P Street begged and won.

        They are likely ignoring the differences between the 1990s and now and between burned-out 14th Street and single-family-home Brookland, but at least there is a precedent in the city.

        • Anon

          Heh, there was definitely a lot of “cajoling” to snag the P street WF.

  • anon

    The new one opening in Hyattsville should serve your needs.

    • anon

      Just bought a house in the neighborhood across the street from the new Whole Foods. And moving out of … Brookland. It’s 3 miles from the old place to the new place. I think Brookland residents can make it out to Hyattsville. Side note: I really don’t want Maryland license plates.

      • anon

        omg! we very nearly put in an offer on a house in MD earlier this year and decided against it, for multiple reasons, one of which was that we couldn’t stomach switching from dc to maryland plates (yes this was obviously a very low on the list reason we did not). Glad to know I’m not the only crazy!

      • Anonny

        Actually it’s in Riverdale, but close enough…

    • JoDa

      You picking me up Sunday? It’s a long bus trip to Hyattsville on the weekends, and groceries are heavy.

      • XAX

        Brookland to Hyattsville: >30 minutes on the 83 bus on a Sunday.

      • anon

        JoDa- You could organize a ride share on Sundays to Hyattsville WF. Great opportunity for community engagement. Also, last time I checked, Brookland is doing just fine regarding property values.

  • anonymous2u

    This is funny. Sure Giant isn’t an ‘upscale grocer’ but it has solid a quality/variety of products to choose from. Calling the quality “too low” is silly and wrong. Sure more variety and higher quality would be nice for some (who can afford it) but I see this as more of a plea to increase my home value versus a real problem. Good luck with that!

    • Sa

      But if you see what people are saying above and below, Giant and Safeway just don’t offer quality produce, meat, poultry. If I were Giant or safeway and had residents saying they don’t want me in their neighbourhood because they are more or less a junk grocery store, then I would take note and make changes towards improvement – not criticise people for wanting to be able to consume fresh and decent produce etc. Do we see improvements at Giant or Safeway though? Not really (although the H St Giant isn’t too bad).

      The problem in this city is that standards are too low. It’s become a way of life, with a crabs in the bucket mentality and arrogant clinging on to mediocrity. We should continue to strive for better, not convince people that low standards aren’t that low….

      Doing a change.org petition doesn’t seem like the way to me though. This is not some governmental or “change the law” initiative. Pull some stats together that demonstrate density and area incomes and education levels – all of the things that WF says on their website that they look for in an area. Then identify some spots in Brookland that could take a 40,000 sq ft store and lobby WF’s DC brokers via email…At the least they will reply and might even say why they are or are not considering Brookland…

      • anonymous2u

        Well stated and I see your point. The petition with its language and clear motivation is what put me off. Probably much better off taking the business approach you stated instead of the “we deserve” petition

  • “The only options in our neighborhood are a regular grocery store and a niche grocery store that sells the same stuff you do. Please come in and make our property values higher so we can lose our shit again when a house sells for 2 million.”
    -signed, TLDR

    • skj84


    • Anony


    • I Dont Get It


  • anon

    I’m reading the Onion, right? Residents rise up to demand the Whole Foods they deserve! It’s kind of like MLK in the civil rights movement, but different.

  • JOe

    There’s something about the word “deserve” there. I’m pretty sure that its a synonym of “entitled” as in somehow the residents of Brookland are more entitled than other neighborhoods to get what they want

    • skj84

      yeah. That really rubs me the wrong way. There is nothing wrong with wanting a Whole Foods, but demanding that one is put in because they “deserve” it makes my skin crawl.

  • JP

    I think the petition persists because new people keep moving into the neighborhood who think they’ve come up with a great idea that there should be a a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in walking distance liked the neighborhood where they used to live but can no longer afford as they want more space. Then they find the old petition sites and sign on and share again.

  • AnonV2

    Here is my recollection (it’s been a few years now, though): these same residents HAD a chance at a large grocery store, but they complained about the footprint, traffic and parking impact of the building(s) that went in at Monroe/Michigan Ave, so there was no road widening and fewer parking restrictions. See, folks, here’s the thing: grocery stores take deliveries using those big semi trucks you may have seen driving around. When you restrict the access roads leading up to it or places to put loading docks that allow them to maneuver and park, those trucks cannot make deliveries. Hence, grocery stores will back out of negotiations because they CAN”T RUN A STORE WITHOUT GROCERIES.

  • JQH3

    “Deserves is an impossible thing to decide. No one ‘deserves’ anything. Thank God we don’t get what we deserve. ” – Milton Friedman

    • dcd

      One of my best friends has a signature toast (not original to him) , “May we always get what we want, but never, ever what we deserve.” Very true.

  • stacksp

    No denying the need just a matter of where to put it while maintaining the current neighborhood feel. They really should’ve incorporated a grocery store into Brooklyn Market. That was a huge miss

    • stacksp


  • Ashy Oldlady

    I sincerely hope it’s clear to everyone that this has nothing to do with convenient access to a high end grocery store. These folks only care about increasing their property values. Oh, and I’m so happy to find out that if I buy the large amounts of red meat and beer that I regularly consume from Whole Foods instead of a regular grocery store, I totally won’t suffer from gout attacks!

  • Quotia Zelda

    Not enough eye rolls in the world.

  • T.

    So, there are two grocery stores already in Brookland. It seems like, if those stores aren’t meeting community needs, the community could meet with their store managers with concrete ideas to meet the needs and wants of the community they serve. That might be a cheaper, quicker fix that could strengthen the relationship between the story and the community.

    When I lived in Brookland back in the good old days, we would drive to Glut Coop in Mt. Rainier to get our crunchy granola healthy food.

    • SouthParkDidIt

      I live in Brookland and the two grocery stores are just fine. We have twice as many options as some neighborhoods.

  • Lmillz

    While the petition is for a Whole Foods- it would be helpful for the article to note that the intent was to garner enough support for a full service grocery store, not just a Whole Foods. Brookland does NOT have a full service grocery store. As noted above by several folks, the YES market in Brookland is small and has little to no selection of meats, cheeses, etc. As a Brookland resident, I am personally applauded at the resistance to development-particularly for something that is a basic human need. In a city as walkable as DC- I should not be forced to drive 10+ mins to get to buy food for myself and my family, and to the residents without cars- I feel even worse. Shame on all of you that this is solely about increasing property value!!

    • anon

      Wait. So you feel as you shouldn’t be forced to drive ten minutes for groceries, but who forced you to move to Brookland?

      • ***

        Right? I get that it’s inconvenient to go a little out of your way to go to the grocery store you prefer, but it’s not like you don’t have options. Look – I could walk to a Safeway, but the one near me is a tiny garbage dump that rarely has more than 2 cashiers and nothing is ever in stock. So I drive past it, past the Giant that smells like bathroom cleaner and raw fish, to go to Whole Foods. Sometimes I drive even further to go to Trader Joe’s, depending on what I am shopping for. This petition is beyond first world problems. If you don’t like it, move. Simple as that.

    • anon

      If you want Brookland to be a walkable neighborhood with great amenities; do your part to the support the mixed-use development projects that are constantly being pummeled down by your neighbors. You can just write testimonies to let OP know that the incredibly vocal complainers are not representative.

    • west_egg

      Wait wait wait — you’re telling me that whenever you need groceries you have to travel for TEN WHOLE MINUTES? In the CAR?!? I have no idea how you people live that way. What a wretched existence. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your neighbors.

    • eollauson

      Have you lived anywhere else? My grandparents have to drive 45 minutes to get a grocery store… and the closest one is an Aldi’s.

  • bluewhite15

    I do stay up late at night worrying about the gout epidemic that will sweep through Brookland if they don’t get their Whole Foods.

  • K

    Life is hard when all you have is 1 specialty organic grocery, 1 regular grocery, and a farmers market within walking distance.

    Coming from Ward 7 where we have 2 unsafe and under stocked grocery stores (for the entire Ward) It is hard to take this petition seriously.

    • kwame

      what is the regular grocery store. i know of YES but what else?

      • Anon Spock

        The aforementioned Giant. Not technically in Brookland but nearby.

  • Anonymous

    Less than 750 signatures in 2.5 years? If this petition is demonstrating anything it’s that they don’t have enough demand to satisfy Whole Foods. If I were these folks I would take down the petition (can you even do that?) and form a new plan of attack.

  • Dognonymous

    Brookland’s a little tricky in terms of finding a spot for a “walkable” grocery store. Monroe Street Market is walkable for a lot of our neighborhood, but once you get east of 14th street, you’re talking over half a mile unless you’re right on Lawrence, Monroe, or Newton. Really no room on 12th street for something that big, either. Our best bet for something high-quality a little closer than NoMa or H Street is probably just to support the proposed Teeter for McMillan or push for something similar at the RIA development.
    All that said, I’ve often thought Trader Joe’s would be a great fit close to Catholic and all the Monroe Street apartments. Low prices, all the staples like eggs/butter/oil/canned stuff, lots of pre-made food, etc. Doesn’t really help with the “good meat and fresh produce” thing, though, as that’s always been TJ’s biggest weakness.

    • Ricky

      Yes. TJ’s would be perfect for Monroe street.

  • Anon

    A grocery store is set to be built into the McMillan development (and the Foreman Mills development is courting a grocer as well). Given the relatively low density in Brookland, good luck convincing Whole Foods to raise your property values.

    • anon

      RIA to the south as well.

  • RicH

    The P Street WF was the result of doing market research on the demographics of the area and approaching WF with that information. They also had a location that fit the size that WF wanted, etc. At that time,the only stores even close were the OLD 8th & O Giant and the Soviet Safeway, so the store filled a niche geographically and otherwise. Brookland’s “boundaries” seem to have gotten expansive ever since the neighborhood was “discovered” (it was popular long before it was discovered–I know I considered it in the 90s), but yoiu really need to identify a location and build a case around it. Brookland once supported a Safeway–it closed in the late 80s and became a local coop, and there were several Safeways scattered around adjacent neighborhoods.

    There’s a lot of WF snobbishness here and its not very deserved. WF is on my way home and two blocks away, so I go there more often than I might, but I’m also very selective because I can easily go to Giant or Safeway. The WF store brand stuff often isn’t very good and some things like their stock (for soups, et al) come in last in taste tests (and for good reason). WF often is competitive for produce prices and their stuff turns over faster than Giant, so i usually buy there, but just as you can get bad produce from a farmer’s market, you can get it from WF–the garlic is often over the hill, for example. A lot of specialty items can be fund at Giant or Safeway and they’re often a lot cheaper there than at WF. And WF stores can be dumps–the one in Silver Spring is a good example. WF also doesn’t exactly excel in the bakery department (very uneven) and the seafood department can reek just as much as a Giant.

    Given WF’s crappy benefits and stereotypically libertarian management, the idea that they benefit the community is just ludicrous. They’re greedheads who make foodie liberals feel good. I’m selective partly because I’m one foodie liberal who doesn’t buy the hype.

  • SomethingaboutDC

    “The residents of Brookland DESERVE a Whole Foods” Lol! A few residents maybe. Who can afford that stuff anyway?

  • Ricky

    This thread is misrepresenting the discussion recently on the email listserve.

    Residents were indicating they wish with all this development we could get a proper grocery store IN Brookland. Certainly there are several developments which could (or could have) incorporate one, which would be walkable from the Metro. The empty lot mentioned or the Metro parking garage for instance.

    The petition founder jumped in asking people to please sign this Whole Foods petition, claiming that at least it will show interest in ANY grocery coming to Brookland. I believe many newer residents don’t realize that grocery was nixed thanks to some louder members of the community during planning for the big developments coming in recently. I also just learned of this.

    If the petition simply said let’s get a grocery store into Brookland, it would be more popular. But no one could agree which grocery store to summon. Few would say Whole Foods as top choice.

    Saying Brookland is fully served by the Giant on Rhode Island and the Yes market isn’t true, residential greater Brookland extends quite far north and east from there, and population is increasing very quickly. It is overdue for another full grocery option. The Giant as well is clearly not meeting everyone’s needs and though I mainly shop there myself, I can see why.

    But anyways, the petition isn’t just about Whole Foods, supposedly. Many residents would like to see a full grocery here, which isn’t WF. But they will never agree on which one, of that I’m sure.

    • stacksp


  • Hopper

    Deserves got nothin’ to do with it.


  • Chelsea R

    Yeah, so as some people here have noted, the language used bespeaks privilege, yes? That might be because the guy behind this petition is the VP of a real estate developer, who I’m guessing may stand to financially benefit from such a project: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-buckley-76b563b

    This guy just emerged on our Nextdoor neighborhood listserve pushing the petition. A quick Google search turned up his LinkedIn. He played it on our listserve like he was a concerned citizen who just wants some “healthy food” in his neighborhood, then when someone brought up Yes!, started talking about Whole Foods’ seafood counter.

    Speaking of inappropriate word choices, in this convo on Nextdoor, he also used this sentence: “Again, let’s be inclusive of people that want different grocery options like Whole Foods.”

    My response to that word choice was:
    “The use of the word “inclusive” here does not feel appropriate; the “inclusion” of upwardly mobile people’s desire for organic food to be located closer to their houses could lead to the EXclusion of long time, lower-income residents from the neighborhood. Although the choice isn’t quite that stark — opening a Whole Foods wouldn’t, say, immediately lead to evictions — “inclusion” does not feel like the right word to use with respect to making urban planning choices that reflect the preferences of a neighborhood’s wealthiest residents.”

    Long story short, I like shopping at Whole Foods sometimes, but A) it’s important to talk about the potential consequences of gentrification when you talk about opening one, instead of just saying “it will lead to more healthy food! And nothing else! Nothing to see here!” and B) not a big fan of real estate developers pushing their projects by posing as concerned citizens.


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