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Kelly J. Cooper

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Dammit! [Apr. 15th, 2009|02:39 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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I missed this announcement when it originally went out on davis_square. Here's a summary:
Kotobukiya in Porter Square is being forced to CLOSE:

http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/news/x2138482128/Japanese-market-owner-Lesley-forced-us-out-of-Cambridge

If you would like to contact Lesley to let them know how you feel about them giving Kotobukiya the boot, here is their office of public affairs: http://www.lesley.edu/public_affairs/index.html

4/9/2009 davis_square posting: http://community.livejournal.com/davis_square/1725186.html

4/14/2009 porter_square posting: http://community.livejournal.com/porter_square/35840.html
And, here's the letter I'm writing:
15 April 2009
Lesley Office of Public Affairs
29 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617) 349-8525
Fax: (617) 349-8526
publicaffairs@lesley.edu

To whom it may concern,

I am a Somerville resident, local to the Porter Square area and I’m extremely unhappy with your decision to refuse a Kotobukiya, the small Japanese store, a longer lease.

You are forcing out a twenty-year veteran of that space. I have been purchasing my Japanese (and other Asian) food, snacks, and supplies there for EIGHTEEN of those twenty years. They are unfailingly polite and good to the community. They not only supply immigrants and visitors with reminders from home, but also help to introduce locals to other cultures.

They are situated in an excellent location for a small store, allowing many of us to walk to and through the area to purchase not only what the store has to offer, but also bringing in people of all ages. I see children nibbling on sweet breads and older people getting their rice and newspapers. I am positive that the other businesses within the Porter Exchange get a considerable boost from Kotobukiya’s customers just as Kotobukiya gets a boost from people going through the building.

You already have a book store location in the building. You do not need to force out this community favorite to expand yourself. There are more than enough locations that are available for rent at prices that a University can much more easily afford than a small shop.

Please, don’t be a bully.

Regards,

Kelly J. Cooper

I'm still editing it, but that's the gist. Feel free to borrow language from it or make comments on it. I'm not so good at writing things when I'm peevish.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: r_ness
2009-04-15 06:41 pm (UTC)
Some months ago I heard from one of the other Asian vendors that Lesley's intention was to push all of the Asian vendors out of their space. I think Lesley wants to make that building a campus hub, and remove everything they don't consider to be directly serving their students.

My guess is that the bank and the athletics store will stay, and that other vendors may or may not end up leaving.

I am personally in a awkward position to argue a pro-Asian position, or to call racism, because one would expect me to do so and I think the situation is sufficiently ambiguous that I'm not sure of the ground. I do feel that having Asian businesses in Lesley's space is not necessarily in conflict with the vision of having a space catering to an educational institution, but evidently they feel differently about it, and at the end of the day, that is really what matters.
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[User Picture]From: ron_newman
2009-04-17 05:23 pm (UTC)
The bank is the first thing that should be kicked out, actually. An isolated branch of a New York City bank (and one that will probably eventually be taken over by the FDIC) is a 100% waste of space.
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[User Picture]From: r_ness
2009-04-17 05:56 pm (UTC)
Can't argue with any of that, although they do also have a branch over in Winter Hill now.

Sadly, they have a lot more pull than most of the other tenants. I wonder if in addition they made a deal with Lesley to get student accounts.
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[User Picture]From: r_ness
2009-04-15 06:51 pm (UTC)
Also, this comment from the news story reflects one stream of sentiment on the Lesley campus:

"The building is owned by Lesley University, why in the world would they spend money to rent the Basement below Shaws when they have all those available space to use? Lesley bought this the a very long time ago and they've allowed the restaurant to stay for more than five years after acquiring the building. I have been coming to this place for dinner for more than six years. Now it is time to move on. It is the University's property and the supermarket needs to find a new home.

"I am a student at Lesley for both my undergrad and Grad and I am also Japanese. That place and the rest of the other restaurants causes the whole damn building to reek of rotten fish and other awful smells."
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2009-04-19 01:25 am (UTC)
Whoa. Thanks for the heads-up!
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[User Picture]From: makoshark
2009-04-18 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks for doing this. I'll send one of these messages as well.
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