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

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Caffè Nero, 560 Washington St., on June 20, 2014.

Chris Helms

Caffè Nero, 560 Washington St., on June 20, 2014.

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: