IHT schools Stop & Shop company

IHT schools Stop & Shop company

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To the Editor:

On behalf of the Island Housing Trust, I would like to offer the following recommendations to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission members regarding Stop & Shop Supermarket Company’s proposal in downtown Vineyard Haven.

As a neighbor, the Island Housing Trust has the following concerns. The Island Housing Trust owns the property directly abutting the proposed Stop & Shop development at 6 Water Street in Vineyard Haven. A conceptual plan has been developed by Island Housing Trust’s architect James Weisman from Terrain Associates to create five rental apartments within one loft style building. The goal of the design is to complement the existing harbor district neighborhood and provide livable, energy-efficient, affordable in-town rental housing.

One of our stated design principles is to promote a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly oriented neighborhood. Our conceptual has our building set back 30 feet from the sidewalk to approximately where the existing resident building is located, in order to help delineate the property’s public, semi-public, and private spaces. In an effort to maximize the building’s south facing and solar aspect, our proposed building has been set back seven feet from the northern property line against Stop & Shop’s proposed three story façade.

The Island Housing Trust desires to coordinate efforts with Stop & Shop to create an integrated walking path between Water Street and Cromwell Lane to allow greater pedestrian access within the downtown area. Finally, the Island Housing Trust would like Stop & Shop to ensure that any ventilation or exhaust from the enclosed parking area or supermarket be located far enough way from our 6 Water Street residential property to mitigate any noise, smell or other nuisances.

As a community development corporation and community land trust, the Island Housing Trust would like to also offer the following observations and recommendations. Large “anchor institutions” such as the Stop & Stop Supermarket Company wield considerable economic power in our community. From the food they purchase and sell to the people they employ, Stop & Shop’s two supermarkets on Martha’s Vineyard are responsible for millions of dollars coming into and leaving our local economy. Where and how Stop & Shop chooses to build will greatly affect the surrounding downtown area. The MVC and the town of Tisbury’s thoughtful decision making regarding this real estate development can help leverage Stop & Shop’s potential to benefit our community in a way that creates healthy places, stimulates economic growth, and supports the local housing needs. Clearly, Stop & Shop has the potential to bring crucial — and measurable — benefits to our community and local economy. Many supermarket chains and other community “anchor institutions” have recognized this potential and have become increasingly engaged with their communities. A few have gone so far as to adopt a mission that consciously seeks to apply their economic and institutional power to better the long-term welfare of local residents.

Building local wealth through developing and improving local business capacity is one way for “anchor institutions” to support their community. In practice this means local hiring, workforce development, local purchasing and economic inclusion strategies that work to increase economic opportunities for local residents and improve quality of life while also meeting its own service and purchasing needs. Working to increase the capacity of local nonprofits that support small businesses, such as the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, is one way that Stop & Shop can foster the growth of local businesses. Supporting programs that maintain permanent affordable rental and ownership housing is another way that Stop & Shop can invest in workforce housing solutions. A meaningful investment by Stop & Shop in the Island Housing Trust’s neighboring project at 6 Water Street would be a direct way of engaging in and addressing the community’s significant need for affordable rental housing.

The Island Housing Trust believes that this type of community engagement will yield important benefits for both our community and “anchor institutions” on Martha’s Vineyard, including the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company.

Thank you for this opportunity to provide these design and broader community development needs to your attention.

Philippe Jordi,

Executive Director

Island Housing Trust


  1. Unreal. Another shakedown attempt by the affordable housing regime. IHT got the property for FREE because a Stop and Shop competitor, whose outrageous prices contribute to the affordability problem on the island, bought it for $700 K and gave it to them. Imagine blowing $700 K just to piss off your competitor! Even worse, imagine being given the property for free and asking your neighbor to contribute to it’s renovation!

    1. Bernier is a smart man. He obviously did not think he was “blowing” the money he spent, or he’d not have written that check. Since when is making suggestions and asking for dialog and communication a “shakedown”?

      1. Of course Steve Bernier is a smart man, in the sense of cunning. His fantastic success and enormous wealth comes from hard work and a take-no-prisoners attitude when it comes to business. What he did was unequivocal. He made a stealth cash purchase and subsequent donation of a rundown building to a so-called, non-profit, with the sole intention of sabbotaging a competitor. To characterize it as anything else would take the Pinocchio tongue (and nose) of Jay Carney. If a corporation did such a thing, the outrage woud be deafening. It’s time we had a choice. Are we not supposed to be “pro-choice?”

        1. Of course you have a choice. Don’t shop at Cronigs if you don’t like it. Do you know how wealthy S&S owners are, compared to Bernier? The anger at the IHT, which provides affordable housing and cares about the community, is mind-boggling. If people really want to spend time venting their venomous words at those with money, S&S is right up there! But what a stupid thing to do. I’m wondering if you even read this letter. I really don’t get the anger at IHT. Happy Thanksgiving, all. Gratitude for what you have is a good thing, especially if you can manage being grateful for more than one dinner time meal, one day a year.

          1. Toma_toes you’ve got something in your rhetoric but you lost me.

            You tell everyone that IHT is a worthwhile org and tell everyone to stop spewing hatred, tell us all to look past one meal and be grateful then swiftly turn and tell everyone to spend their venomous words at Stop and Shop.

            How about think there’s room for all without anger?

            How about housing lives there side by side, no public funds used for either venture (as Stop and Shop isn’t using public funds) and IHT go out and fundraise themselves? They “fundraised” when they were given the house next to Stop and Shop by Mr. Bernier. Why not sell the house/land and use those proceeds to fund future affordable housing developments? Why not use it as matching state or federal grants? Why not sell the property as a youth lot? To a private developed that would build a 40 B?

            Is there no vision with IHT?

          2. That’s not accurate islander47. They don’t appear to be using any public land even for their receivables.

      2. Read this sentence again and tell me this isn’t a thinly veiled shakedown.

        A meaningful investment by Stop & Shop in the Island Housing Trust’s neighboring project at 6 Water Street would be a direct way of engaging in and addressing the community’s significant need for affordable rental housing.

        What’s a “meaningful investment” ? Should their ” meaningful investment” be equal to Steve Bernier’s “investment” ? His investment was meant to stifle job growth and thus exacerbate the affordable housing problem,

  2. Wow! A shady move to stop a competitor and then the beneficiary asks/extorts money to fund the project?! Does it ever end with these “nonprofits” who pay ridiculous salaries?!

    1. You’ve got to be kidding me. I would love to see Stop and Shop right a nice NO THANK YOU letter to this amazingly uninformed and testicle rich organization. It took cojones but someone should finally take them off of this organization.

      1. The only organization that is more deplorable is the dukes county housing authority. Hands out at every turn!

    2. Watch your language, “strikes again”, whoever you are. Extortion is a criminal offense of obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. You are making serious and totally unsubtantiated charges.

      1. I thought it obvious the IHT is trying to coerce Ahold into paying to fix up the adjacent property by suggesting this be part of the market rebuild. A slimy technique.

        1. A suggestion is one thing. Coercion is another. Coercion is the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats. How do you see coercion here?

          1. Because by all appearances the IHT is trying to use public pressure and that of the MVC to get Ahold to pay extra to get the approval to rebuild their own store. Coerce is a nice way to put it.

          2. Quoting one of your other comments, “You seem to have completely misread the above letter.”
            No, you’re the only one to have misread. It is complete doublespeak. And your lost argument has run its course.

      2. Wikipedia- The term extortion is often used euphemistically to refer to usury or to price-gouging, though neither is legally considered extortion. It is also often used loosely to refer to everyday situations where one person feels indebted against their will, to another, in order to receive an essential service or avoid legal consequences.

        Ya sounds about right.

  3. How about we the people, block the IHT’s building plans. Or even better, take the adjoining property by eminent domain and sell it to Stop and Shop for the benefit of the community.

    1. For the benefit of the community?
      Don’t you mean for the benefit of Koninklijk Ahold, N. V. , the Dutch Company that actually owns Stop & Shop?
      Ahold has a long history, which in recent years has included kidnaping, murder (of one of its primary executives), plus troubles from extensive internal corruption. The last ten years look a little better, as the company tries to recover. Highly profitable store locations like Martha’s Vineyard are part of that strategy.

      1. I shop there. I wouldn’t mind having a broader inventory to choose from. It benefits the community. It benefits my family, neighbors and I. S & S also employs a lot of islanders. The town can take it and do as they please with the land next door. Bernier’s deed restriction doesn’t bind the local municipality. I’d like to be able to shop for some exotic ingredients that they currently don’t/can’t stock without being held up by his other competitor in VH. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more than a two-page sale brochure?

      2. Where did you obtain information regarding this store’s profitability. I’d be interested in seeing that information.

        1. Read the linked article.
          Then walk the aisles.
          Look at the prices.
          And then try the same thing
          sometime when you’re Away.

          1. Items I’ve purchased at the Edgartown S&S are exactly the same at the S&S in West Caldwell, N.J. I always save my receipts and compare them.

          2. They’re also comparable to the prices charged by Publix (largest supermarket chain in Florida).

      3. So is your point that we should all scrutinize the personal and criminal lives of board members and stock holders of corporations, and if we find something untoward, we then should boycott that corporation’s enterprises?

  4. Does the IHT plan include parking for the tenants and their guests? That seems like a terrible place for an apartment house. Way to much noise and traffic.
    It would be much better for the community if Stop and Shop was able to utilize the space for their expansion.

  5. I keep reading about the Stop & Shop location being so bad, yet there are plans to put high density housing in place? Where will the residents park their cars? How will they deal with the noise? Would you want to have children living in that location?
    That’s a commercial, high-traffic district and really has no place being used for housing. They should sell the building to Stop & Shop and use the funds for a better residential location.

  6. Thank you IHT for all your great work and well thought out suggestions. Thumbs up for IHT, Philippe Jordi and all involved in affordable housing. Most people applaud your efforts as proven by the ongoing results.

    1. We can easily measure the accomplishments of the IHT but to issue a document of this nature reveals a tone of rhetoric that is not geared to the benefit of the entire community. Your notion of what people applaud does not extend to self serving rhetoric of any member of that group. The people who intend to continually inject drama to bring this development to a litigation scenario only forward the notion of who is actually turning the screws on all Islanders each day.

  7. My favorite line is they want to build a building to “complement the existing harbor district neighborhood”.
    Lol it is a dump so anything would be better than what there now. And stop and shop is trying to improve that. The apartments behind it are run down deplorable living conditions. So why isn’t anybody talking about improving the existing buildings also.

    This is an agenda driven by the iht to stop or limit the stop and shop.

  8. If it weren’t for Stop and Shop the prices Steve Bernier charges would be even higher. He can get away with it because the wealthy summer residents don’t look at prices. Very smart move to buy the rundown house next store at 6 Water Street to make it more difficult for Stop and Shop to expand. What a horrible location for anyone to have to live. Mr. Jordi pretends not to realize that.