Archive for the tag 'walmart'

Clockwise from top left: Chaim Deutsch, Theresa Scavo, Igor Oberman, Ari Kagan.

Clockwise from top left: Chaim Deutsch, Theresa Scavo, Igor Oberman, Ari Kagan.

It looks like yesterday’s post about Republican City Council candidate David Storobin supporting the push for a New York City Walmart generated quite a bit of discussion, and we thought it important to take that one step further. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, may have given the city’s small businesses a temporary reprieve when they gave up their fight in 2012, but it’s unlikely they’ve surrendered the war to enter one of the nation’s largest urban retail markets.

So we decided to check in with the Democratic candidates to see where they stand on Walmart, since it will likely come up for the next councilmember. The results? All four of the leading Democratic candidates in the race to replace the 48th District’s term-limited Michael Nelson vow to fight any effort to bring Walmart to New York City, and rolled out plans to support the area’s struggling small businesses.

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Source: Koonisutra/Flickr

Former State Senator David Storobin has a plan to help the poor if elected to the New York City Council this year: let them shop at Walmart.

The only Republican candidate running to replace term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson has penned an op-ed for the Jewish publication saying that his plan to help the poor is to fight for the nation’s largest retailer and one of the world’s largest corporations to do business in New York City.

Beginning with his tale of growing up as the impoverished child of an immigrant single mother, Storobin argues that the ability to save money on bills by shopping at Walmart would have given his family an economic leg up, by allowing him to wear the latest fashions at thrift shop prices.

Between middle school and college, the most expensive piece of clothing I owned was a $12 winter coat. A $2 pair of used jeans I bought had a large hole around the knee, which in embarrassment I tried to convince my high school classmates was outdated fashion from the long-gone 1980s.

I could’ve had new, but inexpensive clothes. “Luckily”, there were politicians who sought to protect me from this, and they keep protecting all other poor New Yorkers to this day. There are stores like Wal-Mart where poor people can afford to shop. These clothes and other goods may not be fancy, but they are new and respectable. We can’t buy them in New York City. After all, the cheap prices offered by Wal-Mart are just not fair to… its competition like Marshall’s and Sears.

Walmart made a significant – but failed – push to enter the New York City market, finally giving up in late 2012 after spending tens of millions of dollars on horse-trade lobbying. The company hoped to reach an agreement with city lawmakers to permit the retailer to build a location at the Gateway shopping center in East New York, just minutes from Sheepshead Bay on the Belt Parkway.

The big-box retailer faced no shortage of opposition from local polslabor advocates and small business lobbyists who touted a slew of studies revealing how Walmart can devastate local economies in big cities, create traffic nightmares on the highway, and is anti-union and detrimental to employees’ social mobility.

But Storobin is not swayed. He dismissed the studies, many performed by leading academic institutions, as no more than “anecdotal evidence.”

The argument against Wal-Mart is that it destroys business around it. Anecdotal evidence of an occasional business taking a hit is presented to back this belief. But what are the real facts? The law of supply and demand dictates that when demand increases, so does the price. The evidence is clear: when a Wal-Mart opens, the price of commercial real estate around it skyrockets. The only reason for it is the increased demand from other businesses who seek to be near a superstore that functions as a center that attracts customers to the area.

For what it’s worth, there is some evidence of an increase in residential real estate values near a Walmart, with researchers saying it increases by as much as 3 percent within a half-mile of the location – skyrocketing indeed. However, another study found that commercial real estate dwindled near a Walmart, and even more significantly in zip codes adjacent to the host zipcode – as Sheepshead Bay effectively is to the Gateway center.

But real estate aside, Storobin said his real concern lies with the workers of New York City, who deserve Walmart’s minimum wage jobs.

My concern lies with the poor and the middle class. Activists who don’t understand economics say that allowing Wal-Mart to operate harms the workers because of the wages the company pays. But if someone has a better job available to them, they will take it. For those who don’t have another option, why are we preventing them from getting a stepping stone, the same stepping stone my mom got when she got a $21,700 job, which eventually resulted in her achieving a middle class status?

The more jobs are available, the more employers have to compete for workers, the higher the wages will rise. Nothing depresses wages like unemployment. Nothing encourages a company owner to pay the minimum like getting 200 job applications for every job opening

Read the full op-ed here and let us know in the comments where you stand on Walmart in East New York and New York City.

UPDATE (August 1 @ 2:00 p.m.): We’ve just posted an update that takes a look at the viewpoints regarding Walmart of the Democratic candidates vying for this seat. You can see where they stand here.

Source: Koonisutra/Flickr

Proving that resistance is not futile, the All-American Ultra-Chain, Walmart, has retreated from efforts to plant its flag in East New York.

Since at least 2007, Walmart has been paving the way for an invasion of Brooklyn’s Gateway II shopping center. Local activists claimed America’s largest retailer would hurt local businesses, a position bolstered by research in Chicago. Drivers, meanwhile, bemoaned what a Walmart on the Belt Parkway would do to traffic congestion, and union activists slammed it for what they said were anti-union practices. And the corporate behemoth raised eyebrows when they donated millions of dollars to help fund local politician’s pet projects to gain political support.

Now the opponents seem to have emerged victorious, and Walmart is backing off its claim to Gateway.

Walmart last week issued a boilerplate statement stating, “We were unable to agree upon economic terms for a project in East New York.”

The release left open the possibility that the mega-chain will one day set roots in New York City.

“We remain committed to bringing new economic development and shopping options to New York City,” the release said.

No new locations of interest have been announced by the company.

Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

New York Magazine has put together a nice roundup of bribes donations Walmart has made around the city, as it attempts to cobble support together for its push to have a Brooklyn location (presumably, the Gateway Shopping Center in East New York). The big-box retailer has faced no shortage of opposition from local pols, labor advocates and small business lobbyists – which it appears it’s attempting to fend off by purchasing some goodwill.

The magazine says Walmart has given $13 million in charitable giving in New York since 2007, including $4 million towards a pet project of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and $150,000 to one of Marty Markowitz’s summer concert series.

The donations are already having an effect. Markowitz, for example, went from stating “strong opposition” to a Brooklyn Walmart in 2009 – citing their “questionable labor practices” – to saying he is not opposed to a Walmart in 2011.

New York Magazine also lists donations of $812,500 for an experimental program serving at-risk middle schoolers; $382,879 for the Food Bank for New York City; and $100,000 for restoring 25 acres of tidal wetlands in Jamaica Bay.

There’s no doubt that any number of these programs need the funding and are to the public’s betterment. But, regardless of whether you’re for or against Walmart, is it right that they can sway political support by contributing to politicians’ pet programs?

Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison took to the Daily News yesterday, with an editorial bashing the big P.R. push to bring Walmart to New York City.

What does Walmart have to do with improving the Bay, you ask? Well, Barrison is also the executive vice president of the Small Business Congress of New York City, a federation of more than 75 small-business associations advocating for the rights of small enterprises across the five boroughs. And they have no love for the “Wal-monster.”

It’s also not Barrison’s first editorial against the nation’s largest retailer. He previously slammed environmentalists and the city’s transportation experts on Sheepshead Bites for not lending voice to the fight, saying that a Walmart would bring additional traffic, congestion and pollution to the area around the Gateway Shopping Center in East New York, where observers agree a Walmart is most likely to land.

In his latest editorial, Barrison touts a slew of studies revealing how Walmart can devastate local economies in big cities, and also stands up for New York City’s small businesses – the best incubator for economic advancement of women and minorities.

Here’s an excerpt:

Chicago‘s struggling West Side learned the hard way that Walmart’s stores destroy more retail jobs than they create.

In 2006, the big-box retailer promised to bring jobs to the cash-strapped community. But according to a landmark study by Loyola University, the company’s rhetoric didn’t match reality: Within two years of Walmart’s opening its doors, 82 local stores went out of business.

Instead of growing Chicago’s retail economy, Walmart simply overtook it – absorbing sales from other city stores, and shuttering dozens of them in the process.

Researchers at Loyola dubbed Walmart’s store a wash – generating no new sales revenue for Chicago, and no new jobs for hard-off residents.

… With due respect to Walmart, this is not the kind of economic development neighborhood small businesses need.

Everywhere you look in New York, mom-and-pop shops help anchor our busiest and most vibrant business districts.

Fordham Road in the Bronx, Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, Jamaica Blvd. in Queens, 125th St. in Manhattan, and Forest Ave. on Staten Island are thriving proof that our city’s small businesses are the engine that powers New York City’s economy.

For minorities and women business owners in particular, New York City is an incubator for the American Dream. A third of all businesses here are owned by women, and nearly 18% are owned by African-Americans and Hispanics – both above the national averages.

But that could easily change.

… Home-grown entrepreneurs and small mom-and-pops have proven their commitment to our neighborhoods time and time again. Instead of falling for the big-box swindle and supporting their out of town competition, let’s stand by our neighborhood stores, and create more good jobs.

The only studies that support Big Wally are funded by or through Walmart; kind of like the tobacco companies’ support for cigarettes. New Yorkers deserves better. Our communities and neighborhoods deserve better.

You can read the full editorial here.



pathmark nostrand ave sheepshead bay

Source: Google Maps

Elected officials have fired off letters to Stop & Shop, White Rose, D’Agostino Supermarkets, Key Food and Whole Foods in an attempt to find a replacement supermarket for Pathmark on 3785 Nostand Avenue, they announced yesterday. Meanwhile, one media outlet is stirring the Walmart pot.

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Opponents of a potential Walmart at the Gateway II shopping center in East New York say that the big box retailer would bring Belt Parkway and the surrounding roadways to a standstill, and they’ve produced a report to prove it.

According to the Daily News, the report states a Walmart at Gateway II shopping center “would draw 10,692 more cars every weekday than the mall’s developers predicted in their environmental study. That’s a 32% jump in traffic, they said.” It also predicts the surge in vehicles would slow traffic by 29 percent along Shore Parkway.

While Walmart has launched a massive publicity campaign to convince New Yorkers that it’s what New Yorkers want, union leaders, small business activists and local politicians are all slamming the retailer’s potential New York City opening.

What do you think? Is Walmart worth more Belt Parkway traffic?

Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

We’ve been following the news that Walmart may be moving to the Gateway Center ever since rumors surfaced last April. In the face of a City Council hearing about the big box retailer, Walmart has launched a massive advertising blitz, with direct mail, broadcast advertisements and a NYC-oriented website. The nation’s largest retailer is taking its case to the people.

They are decidedly not, however, taking it to the City Council. The business declined to participate in the hearing, blasting the politicians for singling them out while other retailers, including Target, get by with no scrutiny. They claim the city is cowtowing to special interests.

Keep reading, and see our list of resources about Walmart’s effects on local economies.

Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

Walmart is struggling through the muck of the American retail slowdown, and some opponents to a New York City location are saying they should keep their problems outside of the five boroughs.

According to a New York Times report, the retail giant is seeing less visits to its stores, and the average price paid at checkout is also dropping.

“The nation’s largest retailer reported Tuesday that sales in its American stores open at least a year, a crucial measure of retail health, had declined for the sixth consecutive quarter,” the Times wrote.

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Been wondering what’s up with the Brooklyn Walmart proposed for the Gateway II Center? Us too, but in reality there’s been very little headway in either direction. Walmart, though, did make an attempt to spread some money around: they gave at least $15,000 to State Senate Democrats, whose campaign committee is led by Senator John Sampson who represents the proposed development area. Union leaders balked, and successfully pressured the Dems to return the money to Walmart.

Now, Steve Barrison – president of the Bay Improvement Group and executive vice president of the Small Business Congress of New York City – has issued a statement demanding more vocal opposition from “greenies,” including DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Read Steve Barrison’s statement about a proposed Brooklyn Walmart at Gateway II after the jump.

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