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Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers.

December 22, 2010

The raging battle between Wal-Mart and the New York City small business leaders shows no signs of slowing down. It all began about six years ago when Wal-Mart, trying to take advantage of the New York City retail market, planned to open a 135,000 square foot store in Rego Park, Queens, as well as another store in Staten Island. This idea was shut down by infuriated community leaders and elected officials. As a Staten Island resident, I definitely don’t want more traffic and more overdevelopment on an island where there is barely anymore room as it is. The fear is that Wal-Mart, with its always low prices, would dominate and force many seemingly small retailers to close up shop. Stores like K-Mart, Target, Christmas Tree Shops and even my local corner grocery stores face the possibility of losing more than just customers and revenue, it could lose its business in its entirety. Critics say Wal-Mart spells doom for any nearby business that could never compete with the giant retailer on price and selection.

As of December 14th 2010, the New York City Council had to reschedule a hearing about a renewed campaign spear-headed by Wal-Mart to open stores in NYC. The hearing, now scheduled for sometime in January 2011, had to be pushed to a later date because they needed a bigger space. Unions and small business leaders all across the city reached out in considerable numbers in fierce opposition demanding to be heard. While Wal-Mart is a staple in the retail market nationwide, it seems opening new doors in our own backyard is going to quite the feat. According to The New York Times, Wal-Mart believes they can help put a dent in our city’s 9 percent unemployment rate by being allowed to establish new stores. From a consumer standpoint, having a Wal-Mart nearby sounds amazing. No more drives into New Jersey or Pennsylvania for my much-anticipated bargain buys (although seeing candidates for the people of Wal-Mart is reason enough). I get quite the rush of  excitement from seeing those large yellow smiley faces indicating all the slashed prices. Three bucks for a sweater, I’m there. As a small business owner (which I’m not but we can totally pretend) or even an employee of a small business, this would scare me. I wouldn’t want to worry on a daily basis if my business, or employment, will sustain. I wouldn’t want to get run out of my own town by some big monopoly company.

I think we, as a community, need to pay better attention to our neighbors. To the people who have helped make all the little shops we love run. If New York City says no to the man then so be it. Just think if Wal-Mart comes in and takes over, in essence to create jobs, how many will have to shut down because of them? How many will now become unemployed? If you lost your job or even worse your entire business because Wal-Mart opened up down the street, would you want to fill out an application there? I think not. It seems to me Wal-Mart will just replace good jobs with ones that keep people in hardship (because we all know how awesome their benefit package is).

At GAI, we want to help you keep your small business running. Gunwel Associates, Inc. (www.gunwel.com) believes in building long-lasting client relationships, you’re not just another number here. Give us a call today at 212-979-6830 or stop by for a visit. We would love to hear your thoughts on this Wal-Mania.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kenn permalink
    December 22, 2010 8:51 pm

    The Wal-mart/Sam’s Club business model only benefits the nuclear Walton Family members and their desire to be at the top of the Forbes list. They feed their ego with the blood, sweat, and tears of the working class. I believe in the American Dream and Capitalism until such time as the sin of greed turns the American Dream into a nightmare for the workers of the world. If New Yorker’s can manage to keep Wal-Mart out that’s a win for many. The machine that is Wal-mart could certainly use set back or twelve. Perhaps the set back will bring back memories what it was like having to live paycheck to paycheck like the other 98% of humanity.

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