Johnnie’s Foodmaster closes all locations
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 08:11
The family-owned supermarket chain Johnnie’s Foodmaster earlier this month announced plans to permanently shutter its 10 locations, including the store on Alewife Brook Parkway in Somerville, a few blocks from Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus.
Although Whole Foods Market purchased the leases for six of the stores, and Stop & Shop another, Foodmaster has yet to find a buyer for the three stores located in Whitman, Lynn and on Alewife Brook Parkway.
Whole Foods purchased the six leases at an estimated price of $30 million. The deal will bring the total number of Whole Foods stores in Massachusetts up to 26.
The six stores, including one on Beacon Street in Somerville, will re-open following a period of renovation, according to Whole Foods Public Relations Manager for the North Atlantic Region Heather McCready.
“We don’t have the exact date, but we are projecting all of the stores will be open by the end of the fiscal year 2013, which ends at the end of September,” McCready told the Daily.
The Foodmaster on Salem Street in Medford will be converted into a Stop & Shop by the end of the current year.
The remaining three locations without a buyer are nonetheless scheduled to close by Nov. 30.
The Alewife Brook Parkway location closed its doors for good this Sunday.
Whole Foods did not purchase Foodmaster on Alewife Brook Parkway, which is located one mile away from the existing Whole Foods on Mystic Valley Parkway and 1.8 miles away from the Whole Foods at Fresh Pond.
“There were a number of factors [involved in the decision], including size and proximity to an existing store,” McCready said.
John DeJesus, the owner of Foodmaster, has declined to comment to the press regarding the reason for the 65-year-old company’s closure.
“The time was right to make this change for our company,” DeJesus said in an Oct. 26 press statement. “I am confident that we have found the best partner that offers the most positive outcome not only for our employees but for the communities as well.”
Laura Derba, president of the Whole Foods North Atlantic Region, released a press statement for Whole Foods at the same time.
“Like Foodmaster, Whole Foods Market has a long history of supporting the communities we serve,” Derba said. “We are excited to bring our fresh, quality foods at affordable prices to these six new market areas.”
Sophomore Cody Chen, a Somerville native who shopped at Foodmaster as a child, expressed his regrets over the store’s closure.
“I was there the day after they announced the closing,” Chen said.
“It’s kind of upsetting, because it’s nostalgic for me. It’s a nice supermarket, and the people there were really nice.”
Chen said that he would take his business to the Shaw’s in Porter Square, emphasizing that he would shop at Shaw’s even if Whole Foods had chosen to redevelop the Alewife Brook Parkway location.
“There’s less selection there [at Whole Foods],” Chen said. “It’s too pricey and holistic. It’s not good for standard groceries, for me.”
―-— with Jenna Buckle