Read the ‘Good Community Biz Agreement’ Caffè Nero Won’t Sign

Caffè Nero, the international coffee house chain on the verge of gaining approval to open in JP, committed verbally to a list of neighborhood demands but won’t sign the document.

Jay Gentile, who runs U.S. operations for the family-owned company, told attendees of a Tuesday community meeting that his firm was “fully committed” to being a good neighbor and should be judged a year from now on how they actually perform.

“When lawyers get involved, it gets messy,” Gentile told the Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council. “It’s an uncomfortable feeling.”

The 733 Centre St. coffee house is under construction and could open before the holidays if the company gets the remaining city license it needs. Word on that license could come as soon as Thursday from the Licensing Board.

Members of the Neighborhood Council committee crafted a “Good Community Business Agreement” during an Oct. 21 public meeting that Caffè Nero executives were unable to attend. Afterwards, Michael Reiskind of the Neighborhood Council and company officials worked out what items the coffee house would agree to and which they’d reject.

Here’s the text of the agreement. Items with strikethrough were rejected by Caffè Nero:

Good Community Business Agreement

Participation in and Support Local Organizations

– Join and actively participate in local Jamaica Plain business groups. (JP Business and Professional Association, JP Centre/South Main Streets)

– Actively participate in and provide financial support for community cultural events (Wake Up The Earth Festival, JP Music Festival)

– Sponsor local youth organizations (Regan Youth League)

Designate at least 1/4 of 1 percent of the Jamaica Plain store’s gross annual revenues in support of these organizations.

Cleanliness and Design

– Keep the areas in front and back of your store clean at all times.

– Add two well-designed trash barrels, some with recycling capabilities.

– Shovel snow and ice from the front sidewalk area prior to opening, and hourly during snow storms that occur during hours of operation.

– Do not install security grates.

– Keep food waste inside of the store until trash pick-up day; do not install any exterior Dumpsters.

– Imprint all take-out materials (cups, bags, plates, etc.) with the company name or logo.

– Bring exterior design matters to the Design Committee of JP Centre/South Main Streets for review and comment.

Employer Responsibilities

– Give preference in hiring to qualified Jamaica Plain residents.

Pay a living wage.

– Create a welcoming environment.

– Provide printed menus in English and Spanish.

Offer senior discounts.

Previous Jamaica Plain News coverage of Caffè Nero’s bid to come to JP:


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  • Wow! The Neighborhood Council needs to reel it in; I would’ve told it to completely piss off after reading that rubbish.

  • Terry Gaffney

    These don’t go far enough. I would have asked them to refrain from predatory policies toward small business people, such as bidding up rents to prevent people from opening businesses. I would also ask them not to engage in tax avoidance schemes which they did in the UK.

  • Hugo_JP

    Bravo Nero for not giving into extortion.

  • I’m troubled by the fact that they rejected the line about paying a living wage. As expensive as Boston and JP are to live in I’d think that they’d want to at the very least look like they’re going to pay their employees wages that will help pay bills and with their rejection of that it makes me wonder how much their employees will be paid.

    • I’m not. A “living wage” is gray. I’m sure that Caffè Nero wants to make sure that their employees are happy, as many businesses would, but to be held up by these types of communistic ideals that the JPNC is pushing, and that’s not hyperbole, is not my cup of tea.

    • Katie KA

      I have to agree with J.M…. I am *not* impressed by Caffé Nero’s rejection of the living wage line… :/

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  • JAG

    I am curious whatever “local” JP business live up to all of these standards or signed a commitment? I do support local businesses and champion the Moms and Pops however… how many empty store fronts are there in JP?

    Perhaps Caffe Nero will make some of the local competition to step it up a little by producing baked goods, service and a clean environment.

    Also, last I checked Dunkin Donuts, Tedeschi’s, Gentle Dental, CVS, When pigs fly and ….. arent local Mom and Pops. Did BOA or Citizens Bank or Eastern Bank sign these contracts?

    • Le Tornado

      Exactly… I am SO sure DD, CVS and CIty Feed are paying every employee a living wage. Also, all of the whining about “keeping it local” need to realize it’s not a coffee shop that they should be worried about, rather the Sootheby’s real estate office on Centre. Gentrification doesn’t happen when businesses just “show up”–it’s when housing is only affordable to the affluent do businesses take notice. Unless you consider (the wifi-less) City Feed, Dunkin Donuts or JP Licks “competition” I don’t know what the fuss is about. Personally, I’m more upset about developers paying tens of thousands over asking to demolish JP SFH’s to build 1m condos.

  • Why does the headline say this:

    “Read the ‘Good Community Biz Agreement’ Caffè Nero Won’t Sign”

    Instead of saying this:

    “Read the ‘Good Community Biz Agreement’ Caffè Nero Agreed To”

    • JamaicaPlainNews

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the question. This was a follow-up story, so the news hook was that the coffee house wouldn’t sign. It would have been too long a headline to write, “Read the ‘Good Community Biz Agreement’ Caffè Nero Agreed To But Won’t Sign.”

      • Pat Roberts

        The current headline is inflammatory and hostile to the business. It also makes you look like you’re in the pocket of the Neighborhood Council.

  • CharlesMcEnerney

    Hopefully Nero Cafe folks are reading this and will also consider a Fair Trade Music policy for all musicians who will perform at the space:

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