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60-year old Ashby Flowers will close if Whole Foods does not renew lease

Wonderfully local and located, 60-year old Ashby Flowers will involuntarily close this summer. The Whole Foods at Telegraph and Ashby will not renew the florist's lease which is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2009. I wrote about Ashby Flowers in "The Florists of Telegraph Avenue" for Human Flower Project.

The Le Conte neighborhood list serve has provided the following information:

[From Stacey Simon]I'm writing to you as the leader of the Le Conte Neighborhood Association on behalf of Ashby Flowers, the flower shop located outside Whole Foods Market at the corner of Ashby and Telegraph avenues. The owners, Marcy Simon and Iraj Misaghi, have been notified by their landlord, Whole Foods Market, that the shop's lease will not be renewed when it expires on July 31st of this year. This means that after 60 years at this site, Ashby Flowers will be forced to close its doors. When Marcy and Iraj bought the shop 15 years ago they sank their life savings into it. Since then, they have worked to be good neighbors and good businesspeople, contributing to local events and schools (such as Le Conte) and building relationships with local businesses and institutions (UC Berkeley, Alta Bates/Summit Medical Center, etc.). Whole Foods declined to say why it would not extend Ashby Flowers' lease, but the company's website claims it supports its local stakeholders and neighbors. To that end, Ashby Flowers would like to enlist the support of the Le Conte Neighborhood Association in its efforts to overturn Whole Foods' decision. As news of the lease decision has trickled into the community, we've had many people ask how they could help. I'm wondering if this is an issue with which the neighborhood association might like to help us as well. Are you meeting tomorrow evening at 7:30 and, if you are, could one of the owners come to speak with you? [contact content removed]. Many thanks, Stacey Simon on behalf of Ashby Flowers
And more recently,
[From the association president] Whole Foods has announced that it does not plan to renew the lease of Ashby Flowers after July 31, 2009. Since this is a valuable locally owned business, the LeConte Neighborhood Assn. Board has voted to support Ashby Flowers. Your e-mail and other means of support are welcomed as well. You can refer to Whole Foods "Caring for communities and environment" at this web page. The address below allows you to send a message direct to the store manager.


Anonymous said…
I have always hated Whole Foods and refuse to shop there. They are union-busters and the owner is widely reported to be a complete and total jerk. They drove our local co-op's original store out of business when they moved into Seattle. I hope the neighborhood and others concerned are able to influence their decision to renew the lease. Thanks for getting the word out!