New Seasons admits gentrification and displacement of existing communities are key to its growth strategy, such as in Seattle’s Central District.
New Seasons says it is a "grocer with heart, committed to listening and meeting the needs of this neighborhood,” but gentrification and displacement are key to the corporation's profit strategy, according to its own executives.
Jerry Chevassus, New Seasons’ Chief Development Officer, “outlined New Seasons' strategy for choosing locations: It targets neighborhoods in the process of gentrification, he said. Often, the addition of a New Seasons will push rents and home values higher, adding to that process.” - Oregonian
Although New Seasons says it hires locally when it opens in gentrifying neighborhoods in Portland, workers there say it's not all it's cracked up to be.
"We have employees who can’t afford to shop in our store, even with a discount,” they said. “Products are overpriced." - New Seasons employee in Portland to The Stranger
Despite seeking input from community leaders, developer Lake Union Partners recently announced that it would ignore community concerns and instead lease to high end grocer New Seasons at its development at 23rd and Union.
“With our East Union project, the community was worried we were going to put in a high-end grocery store that the average citizen cannot afford. That’s challenging for us because we want to put in a store that’s of good quality and well designed, and at the same time, we can’t be the ones setting the store’s prices.” - Lake Union Partners Principal Pat Folely
In an open letter to New Seasons, more than a dozen Seattle grassroots organizations, elected leaders and candidates express concerns about the corporation’s expansion into Seattle given the company’s failure to meet our community standards. Add your organization to this letter now.
“New Seasons executives have bragged about how they target neighborhoods on the brink of gentrification,” Basior said, referring to an interview New Seasons’ head of store development gave to The Oregonian newspaper. “By choosing New Seasons, Lake Union Partners is clearly more interested in making a profit than ensuring the sustainability of the community.” - Central District leader Rabbi David Basior
Democratic Party districts opposing New Seasons moving into Seattle include the 34th (West Seattle), 36th (Ballard), 41st (Mercer Island), 43rd (Capitol Hill), and 37th (Central District, Columbia City). Resolution
“There's a lot of single parents working in my store that have a hard time living in Seattle because the rent is getting so high. New Seasons is only going to make it harder for people to get by. I rely on my union benefits to live and I hope people continue to support union stores." - Toni Stark UFCW 21 member and clerk at Safeway on 23rd and Madison