Last week we told you that Ashby Flowers, the 50-year-old flower and plant shop at the corner of Ashby and Telegraph avenues, was being driven out of business by corporate giant Whole Food Market, which owns the shop building.
Ashby Flowers got some good news late this week– Whole Foods has dropped its plan to take over the spot with a coffee shop, according to a statement from a publicity company representing Whole Foods. ”
During our conversations with Ashby Flowers and with members of the community that began in spring 2008, it has become clear that Ashby Flowers is indeed a treasured asset to the local community and that it should remain where it is,” said the statement from Jennifer Marples with Koa Communications, a San Francisco publicity firm representing the market. “In the spirit of being a good neighbor and a community-focused business, we have decided to shelve our plans to take over the space in July 2009, and have asked Ashby to stay on.”
Ah, isn’t that nice, a corporate giant looking out for the little guys. Almost makes me want to send them a spring bouquet.
The move to let the flower shop stay came after our blog post and involvement from the Halcyon Neighborhood Association, which covers the area including and immediately to the southwest of the Whole Foods Market on Telegraph Avenue.
Fliers about things the association is involved in go to nearby 900 households, and an electronic newsletter reaches 400 households and another 150 thought a listserv in the Le Conte neighborhood, association officials said. The association had told Whole Foods that any changed used to Ashby Flowers would be met with “strong neighborhood opposition” because it would not only kill a mom and pop business but replacing it with a coffee shop would also impact other nearby independent cafes.
The statement went on to talk about how Whole Foods Market has “always been committed to the Berkeley community,” employing more than 200 local residents, and supporting local businesses, artisans, farmers and other vendors.
“Part of that process means being a good listener. In the case of Ashby Flowers, we’ve heard what our customers and neighbors have had to say, loud and clear. We look forward to a continued relationship with this company that clearly has a loyal, local following, and we wish them great success in the future.”
Wow, maybe we should upgrade that spring bouquet to a dozen roses.