December 21, 2012

I was displeased with the negative tone of Clinton Yates’s Dec. 14 The Root DC column, “Market needs more than a name change,” on the struggles of Yes Organic Market in Ward 8. Yates chided Gary Cha for engaging in a “transparent cash grab” that supposedly was obvious to us east-of-the-river folks who avoided shopping there. That sentiment may be true of the resident quoted, but I can tell you it is not shared by many.

I was happy to see the Yes Market open in our community. I believe that there are many reasons why the market struggled, and I bet that lack of community outreach, which Yates highlighted, is not high on the list. A much stronger reason would be the geographic challenges of the site, which has incredibly poor access for cars, pedestrians and bikes. Visiting the market requires navigating a congested, confusing and horribly designed intersection at Minnesota and Pennsylvania avenues SE. I did not shop there as much as I would have liked because of the hassles.

Of course, community outreach is a great thing, and lower prices would have been a plus, too, but I don’t think you can pick a more difficult site to locate a grocery store. I applaud Cha for giving east of the river a try. Once that intersection is rebuilt, retailers will have better success.

Joan McKenzie, Washington