October 25, 2009

Do You Love Whole Foods?


Merchants throughout Noe Valley seem to have signed on to supporting Whole Foods. This particular photo is from a nail salon at Church and Cesar Chavez - not exactly helped by Whole Food's presence on 24th St. Can you think of another merchant that has successfully advertised in another's window? Such is the power of a strong anchor tenant.

More importantly -- does anyone know what it means to "do it with the crust on?"

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

not too crazy about the amount of cars its bringing into 24th street.

MR Greshy said...

Love the new whole foods, it's great having it so close by. I feel bad for the 24th street cheese co. and St. Clairs Liquors. I bet they're seeing a lot less business now that it's open. Having said that, I don't feel bad enough to take my business there instead of WF.

yizzung said...

I've seen these signs as far away as Van Ness and 21st, for whatever it's worth...

What continues to surprise me is that many of the local merchants don't yet seem to be taking advantage of the anchor-store element of WF. I frequently see people strolling out of there (me, included) at 7, 8, even 9 o'clock at night while 95% of the nearby businesses are dark.

kitchen bitch said...

Whole foods has done an amazing job at embracing the neighborhood. They realize the people of NV are powerful and can hurt and help. the small business such as NV Cheese company have had a very long time to reinvent their business. I have personally said to NV Cheese Co that they should make the most of the space and perhaps have a cheese fondue and wine pairing night. Maybe get a variance to allow small gatherings in the space. Do wine tastings with cheese. They haven't done much. And quite honestly their cheese is so expensive. but in fairness whole foods doesn't have the cheese that NV cheese co has and I go there still for some of the amazing triple creams and other delicious hard to finds they have. Survival of the fittest you can't sit back and rest on your laurels.

Anonymous said...

Copyediting alert:

The apostrophe in "Whole Food's presence" should go after the s.

Anonymous said...

Wanna do what with the crust on?!?

Anonymous said...

Charles (the owner of the 24th Street Cheese store) said to me business is up on weekends, down a bit on weekdays, jury still out. Don't assume the small shop is always more expensive - pine nuts are actually cheaper than at WF (19.99/lb at the Cheese Shop versus 21.99/lb at WF). Great story on the history of the cheese store here - http://tinyurl.com/yjtpm4w.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if the staff at the 24th St. cheese shop were civil to the customers, they wouldn't have to worry about losing business. Personally, I'll never set foot in there again.

Anonymous said...

This will be the only time I ever, in my life, complain about free coffee.

As a big fan of Bernie's, I don't like the fact that WF was giving away free coffee for weeks. I also don't like that they have a coffee counter in the store--is that really necessary with a local shop *right next door* and a Starbucks across the street?

OK, rant over. All in all, I'm very, very happy to have WF 2 blocks from our home.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I don't really care about parking since I always walk to the store, but would it kill them to actually promote walking and biking more? It might also help with the cars lined up on 24th waiting for a space issue.

murphstahoe said...

1 bike rack, always full - they need another one.

Amusingly the best backup was the parking meter right in front of the store, which is currently bent over at a 45 degree angle. That must have been a pretty serious collison...

24th Street Cheese Company Rudeness said...

Anonymous at October 26, 2009 9:02 AM:

Well said! The cheese shop is notorious for its rude, sucky staff.

Eric Wilinski said...

Ah, yes, anti-union, anti-public-health-insurance Whole Foods. Amazes me that the so-called progressives of Noe Valley are packing the place. Most hypocritical neighborhood in San Francisco? Quite possibly.

Hiker said...

I'm amazed at the miscalculation that WF has made in NV. No deli. No kitchen. No name brand household items. I still *have* to shop at Safeway now, with Bell I did not. I'll still shop at Bi-Rite for their yummy deli goods. WF in NV is competing with its neighbors not complementing them. Coffee bar is a case in point.

Anonymous said...

I don't think all the people backing up the streets are from Noe Valley. Try the entire southwestern part of the city. It's a lot closer to West Portal, Glen Park, the Sunset etc. than Potrero Hill.
When more Whole Foods open the traffic should ease in Noe Valley.

Anonymous said...

If I have to research the union and health insurance policies of every store I go to, I'm not going to have any time to actually shop. But you carry on with your denounciations, Mr. Self-Righteous. That's a surefire way to win people over to your cause.

Rolf said...

@anon 2:59

well said.

Anonymous said...

@Eric Willinski:
Actually, there are lots of people in Noe Valley who think whether a store has a union or not should be the choice of the workers. Also, there are many people who think that there are better solutions to our health care issues than having the government run everything.
So there are lots of people who can shop at WF without being hypocrites. Others are just open minded enough that they can tolerate differing opinions. Unfortunately, there are those on the margin (such as yourself) who are just rude, angry and insulting and who would rather label their neighbors than try to understand them.

Anonymous said...

If you're gonna flame someone anonymously, at least do it with the crust on!

Eric Wilinski said...

Dearest Anonymous (Anonymouses?):

Your choices matter. Whether you choose to recognize and act on that is up to you.

If you believe that workers have the right to unionize, but shop at Whole Foods, you're being hypocritical. (A la Wal-Mart, the company has fired workers who were trying to organize.)

If you're sending emails to Pelosi asking for a public option but still shopping at Whole Foods, you're being hypocritical.

Finally, the idea of spinning shopping at Whole Foods as being an example of "open-mindedness" is utterly laughable.

Carry on, friends and neighbors.

Mark said...

Wilinski: let's look at the three places we can buy cheese in Noe Valley/Diamond Heights.

24th St Cheese Shop: non-union, no health insurance
Safeway: unionized, health insurance
Whole Foods: non-union, health insurance

The small business is the wrong place to shop because your money goes to the owner and not the employees.

So the question is - who has higher wages and better benefits, Safeway or Whole Foods? Particularly for younger employees - given how strictly unions use seniority - WF may be the better choice.

On top of that, if you've ever been to that Safeway, you'll realize that the employees have used the security of their contract to offer the worst possible customer service. The Safeway on Guerrero is even worse. Contrast that to Whole Foods.

Collective bargaining is a valuable right, particularly in marginally-skilled workplaces like grocery stores. But an organized workplace should also make customer service one of its goals. The point of unionization is also to take pride in your employment, not for one working man with job security to treat his working man customer like dirt.

Eric Wilinski said...

Thanks for not hiding behind the Anonymous tag, Mark.

I hear you on the failures of some unions. But that doesn't change the fact that by shopping at Whole Foods you're supporting the suppression of unions in general, as well as the suppression of a public health insurance option.

I love my neighbors and my neighborhood. But I stick by the contention that there's something not-so-flatteringly ironic about people who call themselves progressive embracing a retailer like Whole Foods. We'd never accept a Wal-Mart in Noe Valley, but if it's Whole Foods we're like kids on Christmas morning.

You make your choices. I make mine. Let's just not make them blindly.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand how the opinion of the head of Whole Foods is going to single-handedly suppress the public health insurance option. I think you're giving one person way, way too much credit.

I agree that it's good to be mindful about how you spend your money, but as far as I'm concerned, walking to the Whole Foods in my neighborhood, a store that supports recycling and sustainability, beats driving to the corporate behemoth Safeway. If your main issue is environment, you'll make one choice. If your issue is unions, you'll make another. Doesn't make any of us "hypocrites."

Olivia said...

I still shop at Rainbow, and it is still awesome. Whole Foods is closer, but it cannot compete.

Anonymous said...

re: rudeness at the 24th st cheese shop, i personally have not encountered any rudeness there. if anything, i found them to be always helpful.

Godot said...

re Anon 10:27am:

Me too - never had a problem with the people at the Cheese store. Always willing to give a sample, respond well to humor - great store.

I also agree with the comments above about WF duplicating what's already in the 'hood. Who needs more booze, coffee, and cheese? There's lots that WF could do to complement instead of compete. I like these comments.

And yes, unionization is (usually) the prerogative of the workers. As Bob said, "sure was a good idea, 'till greed got in the way". Some times you just have to fend for yourself in this world.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know what it means to "do it with the crust on?"

Don't shower beforehand?

Mark said...

Eric,

I would argue that unions are just as complicit in suppressing public health insurance. Unions exist to negotiate benefits for their employees, often in the form of non-salary compensation. They opposed tax increases on high-cost health insurance packages that would serve to cap annual price increases and fund subsidies for low-income people. This benefited union members, but didn't help anyone else.

I'm not arguing that unions need to look out for anyone other than number one. They are free to act that way.

But we can't presume that unions are beneficial for society when they oppose measures that would improve the lives of working people who aren't union members.

Frankly, there's no such thing as a progressive-appropriate retailer in San Francisco.

I supported Safeway's employees by boycotting it during the SoCal strike; once that was settled, I went back there and their employees still treating me like crap. Lucky is just as bad. Andronico's is out-of-control expensive, as is Mollie Stone's.

Rainbow Grocery is no more affordable than WF, and made the strange decision to actively discriminate against Israeli-made goods.

What's left? Non-union Trader Joe's? Whole Foods?

Anonymous said...

I would like to encourage to Whole Foods to retrain its employees about customer service. Employees there seem to act as if we are priviledged to be allowed to shop there. On more than one occassion, I have been trying to get rung up, and a clerk has decided to fill out some accounting form, while I stand there waiting. Maybe it's the lack of health care that's got everyone in a bad mood. Who needs Whole Foods, I personally would rather shop local.