Crain's, and the City Council is doing the right thing by holding a public meeting about the store's potential impact on small businesses and the surrounding communities on Tuesday, Dec. 14 (details in the Brooklyn Eagle).
One potential location, the Gateway II complex in East New York, Brooklyn, has already received land-use approval.
But Steven Restivo, Walmart’s director of community affairs, told Crain’s the company didn't see the need for a council hearing.
“This hearing is particularly curious since it seems to ignore the fact that the city is already home to hundreds of stores similar to Walmart," he told Crain's.
Hundreds? What? Where?
The Neighborhood Retail Alliance (composed of mom and pop store owners) wants the City Council to reconsider the" myth" that the retail giant -- whether in the form of superstores or "Little Wallies" -- will be an overall plus for New York. They say that Walmart would have a negative effect on the city's supermarkets and the "immigrant business class" that is heavily represented in the food business here.
As part of a study, they've asked store owners to make lists of their local suppliers -- meat and produce in particular -- and will contrast this "local nexus" (the Hunt's Point Market, for example) with the way Walmart brings much of its inventory in from outside the city.
They also point out tactics that have worked for Walmart in other cities. In Chicago, for example, Walmart created "a fake community group that purports to represent a community's residents and interests," according to Neighborhood Retail Alliance.
That's a tactic familiar to many Brooklynites, and it always seems to work.
According to NY1, Mayor Bloomberg -- who isn't bothered by the store's low wages and anti-union stance -- is in favor of Walmart coming in.
Photo by Robert Stinnett, Creative Commons license
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