Whole Foods Agrees to 10-Year Lease for Ashby Flowers

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About a year after Whole Foods Market said it would not renew the lease of a Berkeley flower shop located in its parking lot, the market has allowed the shop to sign a 10-year lease.

The market's decision Wednesday to allow Ashby Flowers to stay comes as a result of "overwhelming public support" for the shop by residents in its neighborhood, according to Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington.

In April 2008, the market announced it would not renew the shop's lease in order to open a coffee shop in the space, he said.

However, in March the store said it would consider renewing the lease after community members rallied in support of the shop at the market's Emeryville headquarters a month before.

UC Berkeley junior Jonathan Ortega, who interns with Worthington, said he became involved in community support for the shop because it has been around for so long.

"It's a landmark of Berkeley," he said. "Everybody goes there to buy flowers."

Ortega said supporters had originally pushed for a five-year lease and that the 10-year lease was a pleasant surprise.

Representatives of the market could not be reached for comment.

Worthington said business for the shop-which has been at its current location for more than 50 years-might have been hurt if it had been required to move.

"Location is an important component of a business operation," he said. "(The shop has) a very convenient location both to the hospital and the university."


Contact Tess Townsend at [email protected]

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