Despite bare shelves at Hi-Lo Foods in Jamaica Plain last Thursday, Matthew Irving’s basket was stuffed with a tortilla maker, coconut water, corn flour and other Latino specialty items.
“I’m Irish, I just like spicy food,” the 23-year-old said as hipsters and Hispanic immigrants alike roamed the aisles for perhaps the final time before the market is replaced by Whole Foods.
Expected to close this week, Hi-Lo’s abrupt closure sent shock waves through the corner of JP known to some as the Latin Quarter. While many JP residents are ecstatic about Whole Foods, others worry gentrification will ultimately kill a neighborhood where Hispanic Red Sox players are known to have a haircut, buy reggaeton albums and chew the fat.
“The people are mad because they waited to the last minute to sell,” said Ruby Clark, who moved here from the Dominican Republic 28 years ago. “Why not give the chance to some Hispanic to buy it? They don’t care about the community.”
Similar sentiments will fall on deaf ears during a community meeting at 7 tonight at the Kennedy School, which Whole Foods won’t attend.
Whole Foods spokeswoman Heather McCready said they will hold meetings after officially getting the keys in March.
“We want to make sure when we speak to the community we have information to provide them,” she said, adding that Hi-Lo’s 45 employees will have priority interviews for the store’s 100 positions.