Friday, November 21, 2003

Big developments on the Real Food front. The great news for the neighborhood is that there will be a Farmer's Market kicking off on December 6th and running every Saturday morning.

New Farmer’s Market in Noe Valley
Beginning December 6th then Every Saturday 8am-12pm

November 21, 2003, San Francisco, CA—A Festive kick-off for the new Noe
Valley Farmer’s Market will be held from 8am-12pm Saturday, December 6th in
the new parking lot on 24th Street between Sanchez and Vicksburg.

Purchase healthy, organic food. Support small, local farmers. Build a
community based economy. Get to know your neighbors.

Farmers and vendors will be selling organic vegetables and fruit
(greens, winter root vegetables, squash, herbs, apples, kiwi, and tomatoes
and honey, nuts.

Bluegrass music by local musicians. Stilt-walker, clown, and face painting for kids. 10 AM blessing and ribbon cutting by Reverend Keenan from the Noe Valley Ministry.

About Friends of Noe Valley Farmer’s Market:

Friends of the Noe Valley Farmer’s Market grew from a series of community
meetings in response to the abrupt closing of the Real Food Store on 24th
street. The Real Food store, owned by Fresh Organics a subsidiary of Nutracuetical a Utah based corporation, was ostensibly closed for remodeling. The owners didn’t communicate their plans to the workers, who were fired suddenly the Friday before Labor Day, nor did they notify the neighborhood. At the time of closing, the company had not applied for permits in order to do any interior work, and acknowledged at a Board of Supervisors hearing on 9/24/03 that no interior improvements had started. Merchandise continued arriving at the store several days after the store was closed. Suspicions about the company's actual motivations for closing the store were further aroused because the Real Food workers are organizing a union. Two of the key union organizers had already been fired prior to the store's closure, under circumstances which made little sense to their coworkers. Also, one of the fired employees had already filed a claim with the NLRB well in advance of the store's closure.

The sudden closure left a large and loyal group of customers without a local
alternative for organic produce and healthy food products. Over 2,000 Noe
Valley residents and supporters have signed a petition asking Fresh
Organics to take legally binding steps to correct and improve the current situation and to rectify all violations of law that may have occurred.

Community activist Peter Gabel, who led the successful effort to save Cover
to Cover Booksellers, sees this as a first, positive step: "We are a
community of people who care about the integrity of the neighborhood. We are
not merely disconnected consumers that will support a business regardless of
how it treats its workers and the community."

Everyone’s invited. Vote with your feet and your dollars to support an
alternative, local economy!

For More Information Contact:
Leslie Crawford: Friends of the Noe Valley Farmer’s Market
(415) 282-2474

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Another neighborhood resident tracking from of the Real Food developments:

the atkinson ledger: "NOE VALLEY SHOWDOWN
Another boring Saturday night for me.
The culture wars are alive and kickin' in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, where I live. The saga began with the sudden closing of the local Real Foods store on the main 24th Street drag. The ostensible reason for the closing was an urgent need for sudden renovation; the real reason, according to many, was the push for unionization by Real Foods workers, who were let go the night before Labor Day weekend with no advance notice. (The workers apparently have a blog now, if you're interested.)

Hijinx ensued. Posters and photocopies of news clippings began to decorate the windows of the shop. Over the next couple of weeks, the storefront began to serve as a de facto community billboard for Noe Valleyans: next to critical articles from the Chron and the weeklies appeared ads for massages and flats for rent.

Local conservatives were apparently unhappy at this spontaneous outpouring of anti-corporate opinion. Recently a series of very amusing flyers have appeared on the Real Foods storefront. All of the flyers criticize 'liberalism' in some way: opposing the resumption of relations with Cuba, deriding the liberal quest for socialism, etc.

To the credit of the community, it seems that these flyers have not generally been ripped down in anger, even though they are quite ridiculous. (Really? Liberals coddle Castro? Like, um, the liberals in Congress? You want serious coddling of dictators? Check out Bush's relationship with Uzbekistan -- yikes.)

I'll do my best in the future to get the text of these flyers for your continuing amusement."

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Interesting perspective from the Yahoo Finance message board on how NUTR views Real Food.
Grocery issue is insignificant impact.
by: savinit4later (42/M/Upper Midwest USA) 10/02/03 01:03 pm
Msg: 2435 of 2441

"The whole grocery issue represents a very small part of the company as a whole and has little impact on earnings or revenue. These were purchased a research tool and if they run at a break even situation, it is a big plus. The research that they deliver will be used throughout the vertical integration of the sales structure."

Very insightful post from a former Nutraceutical employee:
real foods employees
by: sgenlot 10/01/03 05:33 pm
Msg: 2431 of 2433
as a former employee of NUTR, i would just like to say;
1.this has nothing to do with whining, and everything to do with illegal business practices.
2. i do not know where you got your info, but who said anything about rehiring employees?
3. as an investor, i would think that you would be more concerned with the actions taken by this company towards not just its employees, but its customer base. we all know that the only reason you are an investor is for profit, and if the long-time, regular customers that were keeping fresh organics floating are refusing to patronize, then where does that leave your pocketbook?

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Beth, a former manager of the Noe Real Food from 1997-98, writes a Letter to the Editor in the SF Chronicle.
Limited closures for '98 Real Food remodel

"Editor -- As a former manager of the Noe Valley Real Food (1997-98), it is with great interest that I have followed David Lazarus' fact-finding and commentary regarding the recent store closing (Lazarus at Large, Sept. 3, 10 and 24)....

"...During my oversight of the Noe Valley store, we did a complete remodel over a period of six months in 1998. It included new check stands and a computerized register system, new shelving and bulk bins, a new five-door freezer, new floor, painting and other enhancements. Only our produce and walk- in coolers remained untouched.

"We solicited help from our vendors and closed the store for a total of a day and a half, but still our customers were distressed. Most of the work was done after closing at night.

"I am sad to see the harsh treatment that this out-of- state company is giving to its employees and longtime customers. The Real Food Co. has been a family-owned and neighborhood-based San Francisco institution since opening the Stanyan location in 1969. The second store opened in Noe Valley in 1974.

"While working in Noe Valley, I belonged to the merchants association and was impressed with its active dedication to the neighborhood. If any neighborhood can rally around a cause, Noe Valley can and will."

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Community Meeting at the Noe Valley Ministry
Thurs. Oct. 2
6:00 - 8:00 pm
(1021 Sanchez)

"Join members of the community, neighborhood activists, and former employees of Fresh Organics/24th as we collectively discuss the recent closure of Fresh Organics/24th and work to formulate an effective response to Fresh Organics’ callous and irresponsible business practices. It is up to us to decide which types of businesses we wish to support, and it is up to us to encourage responsible and humane merchants to operate within our community."
One of the posts to the Yahoo Groups from Eric following Real Food added the following entertaining clip from the Nutraceutical press release from March 1, 2002:
"...The day-to-day operation of these natural food markets will provide direct consumer feedback on emerging interests and trends and will help us better serve our core customers. We believe that this retail knowledge and experience will translate into new innovative product offerings for our Company.”

More on the Nutraceuticals site under press releases

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Here's a comment from LyE reporting on the state of Real Food's interior. I saw the same thing when I walked past yesterday.

"I have pictures taken today (09/24) of demolition work being done on the interior. There was a tear in the brown paper and I witnessed 2-3 workers dismantling shelving and putting equipment in boxes. There was still product on shelves and remember seeing a box of Power Bars. Also, a cash register was sitting in a cardboard box and looked as if it had been tossed there. It was obvious the work being done was under haste. There were no public permit notices anywhere on the front facade of the building either.

This issue, and this blog, have surfaced up on the Yahoo Finance message boards for Nutraceuticals.

NUTR's lack of communication does provide some indication of their inability to listen to customers in the markets in which they do business.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

There is a growing group on Yahoo Groups dedicated to tracking the Real Food issue.

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