The Selling of Walmart How the world's biggest retailer won over D.C. without a fight

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Photographs by Darrow Montgomery

Walmart, so far, has no stores in the District. But Steven Restivo, the company’s national director of community affairs, knows the area well—he’s visited multiple times to open locations around the Beltway. And over the years, he’s quietly moved the retailer into position for an eventual assault on the city itself.

No other retailer requires an urban market-entry strategy, after all. In other metro areas, the behemoth’s arrival has involved protracted, acrimonious fights with labor unions, community activists, and local politicians. Past experience has taught the firm that introductions, in particular, need to be handled carefully. So last fall, as executives let D.C. councilmembers in on their plan to open four stores in the District, Restivo had taken care to make sure the story went public on Walmart’s own timetable—and according to its own script.

What Restivo hadn’t figured on, though, were the excited councilmembers who broke the news themselves.

“Big box retailer coming to Ward 7? Stay tuned!” tweeted Ward 7’s Yvette Alexander, around 11 p.m on Nov. 16.

“Walmart’s coming to D.C.,” followed Ward 6’s Tommy Wells, who let slip some details about the company’s plans to pay “average” wages at “new urban model” stores.

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Restivo was on his way to Chicago as the news broke. When he saw the politicians doing his job for him, he turned right around, pushing the start button on a pre-planned marketing rollout. Two days later, a press release announced the plans, accompanied by a poll showing widespread support for Walmart. A slick new website invited residents to sign a petition in favor of “more money for the city, support for local community organizations, fresh produce, job opportunities, affordable prescription drugs and investment in local businesses.”

The ambush approach made sense: Instead of a slow reveal that would give opponents time to gain traction, Walmart had asked landlords and developers to keep quiet until their sites were locked in, making the developments seem inevitable. Walmart had already seeded the ground with years of charitable giving. Now, with four actual stores to talk about, the image campaign kicked into high gear, complete with press events touting donations bigger than many local non-profits had ever seen.

Six months later, with the four sites cruising toward approval, you might conclude that Walmart’s strategy had won the day. And you wouldn’t be wrong, exactly. But in other cities where the retailer used the same aggressive and determined campaign, like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, opponents put up vastly bigger fights than in the District: New York City councilmembers held anti-Walmart rallies; Chicago’s construction unions won increased wages for members building the stores.

D.C.’s pols, though, treated anti-Walmart activism more like an annoying distraction than an opportunity to score populist points. Other than occasional demands that the corporation pay a “living wage”—$4 per hour above what the law requires—elected officials have mainly reassured constituents, celebrated the 1,200 jobs Walmart promises, and praised the retailer’s apparent willingness to fund priorities that the District’s strapped budget can’t cover.

The most sophisticated retail entrepreneur in the world brought its A-game to D.C. It probably didn’t need it.


November’s announcement of a plan for four Walmarts was a long time coming.

Back in 2002, the company’s real estate guy also wanted four stores in the District, including one at the old Convention Center. The city, though, was shooting for something better. “He was laser-focused on the CityCenter site downtown,” recalls Michael Stevens, then in charge of the Washington, DC Economic Partnership, which is charged with attracting business to D.C. “I advised him repeatedly that that was not going to happen.”

The next bid involved a site near the Rhode Island Avenue Metrorail station. But Walmart gave it a pass, telling then-Mayor Anthony Williams that there wasn’t enough parking, and crime was too high. After that, Walmart made noises about Poplar Point in Anacostia, and kept meeting with the city’s economic development people, but made no commitments.

In the meantime, D.C. started to prove itself as a retail market. A new Target thrived in Columbia Heights. Walmart began pondering ways to fit its typical big-box format into a city-sized shoebox. The chain’s exurban stores can top 200,000 square feet. Maybe, officials thought, 120,000 square feet—or even 80,000—was enough to achieve their economies of scale. At that size, a map of D.C. contains a whole lot more possibilities.

Today, Walmart’s four District spots have three things in common: They’re in areas where grocery and retail options are scarce. They’re privately controlled, meaning minimal regulatory hoops. And they have long trails of shredded plans behind them, making Walmart seem like a community savior.

Take the Ward 6 store, on New Jersey Avenue and H Street NW. Developer LuAnn Bennett got the rights to the parcel back in 1990. It’s been empty ever since, passed over by potential tenants like the Department of Justice and National Public Radio. Now, nearby residents say they need an affordable grocery store. “We’ve been praying for food in this neighborhood for about 40 years,” says Yvonne Williams, who chairs the board of trustees for the nearby Bible Way Church. “God has brought what was supposed to be here—a first-class, progressive thing.”

The Ward 4 store, near Georgia and Missouri avenues, was a car dealership until 2007 and served as a mayoral re-election campaign office for Adrian Fenty last year. A deal with Costco didn’t work out. Ditto plans for a mixed-use project. “We kept getting feedback like ‘we don’t think that part of Georgia Avenue is ready yet,’” says Randall Clarke, past economic development chair of the Brightwood Community Association. “It’s hard for me to wave the pitchfork about a retailer who came out of their own interest, without asking for city money or tax abatements or anything else.”

It’s the same story at the Ward 5 and Ward 7 locations. The Ward 5 store, at Bladensburg Road NE and New York Avenue, will occupy a 16-acre triangle of fenced-off lots and taxi depots where developer Jim Abdo’s ill-fated housing, retail, and park project was supposed to rise. Ward 7’s Walmart will sit near the Capitol Heights Metrorail station, on a site at East Capitol and 58th streets NE that Shoppers Food Warehouse recently spurned. In each of these cases, the chain chose spots that missed out on D.C.’s economic boom, where a done deal seems better than a vacant lot.

In fact, the willingness to accept Walmart as a catalyst for stalled developments extends all the way to the top. In the most public case of a pol trying to muscle the global giant, Mayor Vince Gray, at this year’s Las Vegas retail convention, issued Walmart an ultimatum. But he wasn’t looking for higher wages or local hiring, as he’d talked about publicly. Rather, Gray demanded Walmart commit to a fifth location at Skyland Town Center, the run-down shopping complex near his own home in Hillcrest—or he’d kibosh the other four.

It was a hollow threat, of course. But even if hadn’t been, it wasn’t exactly a case of a mayor playing hard to get. Walmart shrugged it off in a press release, and the city’s economic development team quickly backed away.

Photo Slideshow: Walmart, A Tour

Our Readers Say

I hope Walmart will work directly with community groups and not just the Mayor and City Council to complete some community projects that are near and dear to local neighborhood revitilization. The Ron Moten Committee is working as "Friends to Woodlawn Memorial Park". The historical African American cemetry is the final resting place to such notables as US Senator Blanche K. Bruce (R-MS 1875-1881) and Congressman John M.Langston (R-VA 1889-1893). This site has been neglected for decades. For more information contact: Ernest E. Johnson 202-882-9790/RonMotenWard7@AOL.COM/Twitter@RonaldMoten.
Did it occur to anyone at City Paper to talk to anyone who is isn't in favor of Walmart coming in with no strings attached to see what they had to say about it, or was the reporter too busy getting coffee with the WalMart marketing rep to bother?
FUCK WALMART!!!

THOSE ASSHOLES WAS RELUCTANT TO COMMIT WHEN W.D.C. WAS DOWN AND THEY DIDNT SEE PROMISE. NOW THEY WANT TO JUMP ON BOARD AFTER EVERYONE ELSE HAVE LAYED THE GROUNDWORK, IS DOING WELL AND WAS HERE DURING THE COME-UP!

READERS GOOGLE WALMART LOCATIONS IN MD AND VA YOU WILL NOTICE THERE IS ONLY 1 IN MO COUNTY AND ONLY 1 INSIDE THE BELTWAY. ASK YOURSELF ‘WHY IS THAT?’ THEN CONTACT THE BAMMAS AND ASK THEM WHY.

THIS SHIT IS EQUIVALENT TO SOME JOKER GETTING A BROAD PREGNANT AFTER PROMISING HE WILL TAKE CARE OF HER AND HER 3 CHILDREN. AFTER HE WINED & DINED HER AND BOUGHT THE CHICKADEES A COUPLE OF OUTFITS HE GOT HER RIGHT WHERE HE WANTS HER. THEN BOOM~! HE'S ABANDONED HER, THE CHILDREN HE GASSED UP AND THE NEWBORN. SHE KEPT HER HEAD ABOVE WATER WITH ONLY 3 CHILDREN BUT THE 4TH TOOK HER UNDER. NOW THE VICIOUS CYCLE BEGINS. THIS IS WALMART COMING INTO D.C. YA’LL AND WE ARE THE PREGNANT WOMAN.


FOLKS DONT BE DUPED BY BEING PUT ON PROMISE STREET! WASHINGTON D.C. DOESNT NEED WALMART (ESPECIALLY IN WARD 4!). WALMART NEEDS WAHSINTON D.C.! OF COURSE ALL THOSE LATINO ORGANIZATIONS ARE GOING TO JUMP ON BOARD. WE ALL KNOW WHY! SERIOUSLY WE DONT NEED OR WANT THE TYPE OF FOLKS WALMART ATTRACTS, THE NOISE, ACTIVITY, TRAFFIC AND EVERYTHING ELSE ASSOCIATED WITH FOLKS COMING FROM MO COUNTY, WARDS 2 & 3 AND THE VA. FOLKS SCARED TO VENTURE DOWNTOWN. ALL THE STUPID MOFO'S IN THEIR UNDERSIZED NEON SPANDEX, DRIVING ALL OUT THE WAY TO FORCE FEED THEIR GLUTTONY TO SAVE $1.50 ON SOME PROCESSED FISH PLANKS, A CASE OF NO-NAME PURIFIED WATER WHILE SUCKING DOWN 2 FOR $2 BIG MACS.

ONE NEED ONLY TO LOOK AT TAVIS SMILEY’S SELL OUT ASS TO KNOW WALMART SUBTLE ATTEMPTS TO WOO BLACK MONEY INTO THEIR STOCKHOLDERS POCKETS. THE RURAL AND EXTREME SUBURBAN WHITE FOLKS ARE BROKE AND UNEMPLOYED. THEY ARE NOT SPENDING LIKE THEY USED TO DO. THEY KNOW THE BLACK URBAN DOLLAR HAS SUSTAINED MEDIUM TO SMALL BUSINESSES FOR DECADES DESPITE RIOTS, DRUGS AND BLACK ON BLACK CRIME. I’M SURE THEY’VE NOTICED THAT SAFEWAY AND GIANT HAVE NOT GONE UNDER. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE PUSHING THAT GROCERY STORE ANGLE. FUCKERS!
nice piece.
@Dolly

Yes, I talked extensively with people who are unhappy with Walmart coming to D.C. This story wasn't about them.
Noodlez, Walmart is a corporation not a charitable organization.

Dolly, in my opinion LDP has been pretty anti WalMart and I was suprised at such a quality piece
Brilliant story. Sure, it is not the only story. It doesn't try to cover the failures of DC and the reluctance of competitors -- eg BJs, or that darling of bougies, Costco, to come in. And it doesn't cover the revenue economics at all.

But, if I were Lydia DePillis's former journo prof or the WaPo editors, or the publisher who agreed to pay extra for all the work and vetting on this story ----- damn, I'd be proud for alt weekly journalism and myself.
"Today, Walmart’s four District spots have three things in common: They’re in areas where grocery and retail options are scarce ... The Ward 4 store, near Georgia and Missouri avenues ..."

There is a large, full service Safeway at the intersection of Georgia and Van Buren, less than a mile from the proposed Walmart site at Georgia and Missouri Avenues in Ward 4--according to Mapquest, it's 0.61 miles--a bit over a half mile. Directly across the street from that Safeway is a CVS. Say what you will about Safeway and CVS, the fact is that this area of Ward 4 has a large grocery store and a drug store in close proximity to the proposed site, so in terms of groceries and pharmacy, it's not underserved. In terms of other retail options, I would agree that pickings are quite slim. I live very close to the Safeway and CVS and it puzzles me why reporters always say that there are not grocery options in this part of town in articles about the Walmart proposal, when Safeway and CVS are so close to the Ward 4 site.
Ward 4...

1) The Supreme Court has made it known that Walmart can not be successfully sued in their High Court. So, do not look to your Councilmember to fight your battle against Walmart should the retailer renege on a promise.

2) I foresee Walmart doing a CVS and a Home Depot on your "trusting Citizens" at the cash register. That is, reduce the number of cashiers and replace them with self-service lanes.

3) Don't forget the U.S. commerce policy to save and support [big business] Walmart...because they are "to Big to Fail".


4) I see wooden boards on the doors and store front windows at Rite-Aid [Geo.Ave & Madison]; boards on CVS [Van Buren] and large boards at the Safeway [Piney Branch Rd.]

5) A traffic mess at the Georgia Avenue and Missouri Road intersection...

and everyday of the week including Church Sundays [day and night] TRAFFIC BACK-UP ON GEORGIA AVE. FROM THE MARYLAND STATE LINE south to New Hampshire Avenue, N.w.

Ward 4 life is about choices...and deception and lies and trusting others at their word that will and can change whatever was promised in the past.

Not a Sermon...just a thought.
@dolly

You're dumb.
Thanks Lydia for this insightful look. Walmart is taking over the world while destroying small businesses. We should just get used to it I guess. keep up the good work
At a time when the city is facing budget cuts of at least 65 million, why wouldn't the get some funds to offset these cuts. Funds that would be sent directly to road improvement, schools or parks and recreation or summer jobs to get the kids off the streets? I guess another Walmart is better than a balanced budget.
@Calvin

Please-

1) the supreme court case was about getting class action status for the case. The Supreme Court made no ruling on the merits. There is a difference.

2) Self service lines are in part a direct result of customer dissatisfaction with cashiers. It is all about convenience for the shopper. Why wouldn't a company implement a change that will save them money AND make the shoppers happier.

3) Seriously? Big businesses fail all the time. Walmart would nit behaved if they mismanage and go bankrupt. What happened with the banks is SOOO not even comparable.

4) Rite-Aid is dieing even without Walmart. They have been in the top 10 businesses sure to fail stories for over a year now. CVS is all about convenience and being the only "quickie" mart up that way they are not going anywhere. People are still going to want the places where they can quickly get in and out to get what they need. Considering that Safeway is the only other full service grocer in Ward 4 ( and remember the other Safeway near the Petworth metro will be closed for a long time while they renovate)....I have a hard time believing that they will be driven to close.

5) A traffic mess will occur at that intersection no matter what is put at that location and is no different from when the dealership was there or the Hechinger before it. Georgia is no picnic to drive down or up at any point of day. It is a main artery in the city and is expected to congested.
Walmart slip in the front door of the District of Columbia behind corrupt leadership, greedy and self-serving politicians and an unemployment rate looking for big business. Perfect timing would'nt you say? This is just another example of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The story always starts out good, but ends up being a tragedy for those of us climbing up that hill.
No wonder Walmart "won". The opposition was made up of a bunch of self-righteous imbeciles.
Walmart already bought Washington Post and now they bought City Paper...great.
Lazy journalism for putting forth the "bringing water to the food desert" canard.

Walmart started waving its "we're the best thing to happen to the inner-city since indoor plumbing" banner shortly after it was glaringly obvious that the Feed DC Act was going to be passed passed. For those unaware, this is universally popular City Council legislation designed to provide subsidies to grocery stores and corner stores in blighted areas that seek to improve access to fresh produce. Yet not only will it have access to these taxpayer funds (it claims it isn't seeking subsidies and they're right in a sense - subsidies have found them) it will have an overall detrimental affect as academic study after academic study - those NOT funded by the retailer - show that new Walmarts lead to net job losses; never mind their horrible record on labor relations. More welcome grocery stores and corner stores - ventures that are less destructive and overbearing -will lose out to Walmart if nothing is done, and these neighborhoods won't live up to their potential.

And sure, Walmart might donate money here and there, but how much in tax breaks does it earn them? And how did they get such massive sums to "donate" in the first place? They didn't become the biggest corporation - and the biggest retailer in the US by a factor of 5 - by writing checks and being community friendly.In fact, one of Walmart's policies is necessitating that store managers, when they are first hired, move to stores 100 miles from where they are from. And the reason for this is to install managers with a sense of detachment from the community that they are pillaging.

Fuck these Bentonville Viceroys. This is going to be terrible for DC and shame on all our city councilors for selling us out without a fight (did they give you a free ride in a fully loaded SUV?) And shame - absolute shame - on The City Paper for this puff piece; for quoting Walmart issued surveys like they were gospel; and for not questioning why our notoriously corrupt city council is bending over backwards for these parasites.
What is interesting about this story isn't just that it feels very much like a puff piece for Walmart (notice that the only quote from someone who opposed Walmart is discredited by someone who has been bought off by them), it's that the story has been written as though this is done. Not one permit or license has been issued, no Large Tract Review or PUD approved, no ground has been broken.
Lydia is famous for snarky headlines that don't always match up to the story below, as this headline reads "How Walmart won over DC without a fight." Not "How Walmart Bought DC." Which is what the story really covers, though without any real analysis, is the politicians and organizations that accepted vast contributions (read: bribes). For example, Manny Hidalgo from LEDC, how much did his organization receive from Walmart? Why is that not reported here? Or how his organization surveyed small businesses in Ward 4 (http://ledcmetro.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/so-what-do-small-businesses-think-about-the-walmart-store-in-ward-4/) and found that 57 % of the small businesses thought that Walmart would have a negative impact on the community. What amount of money has caused them to take such a strong pro- Walmart position and now call them a "down home corporation?" Give us some real numbers on these contributions.
What about campaign contributions? How much did Mayor Gray and other councilmembers get from Walmart and Developers? Did you FOIA anyone or any agencies?
Ending an article with a paragraph long quote from a Walmart PR person does not wrap up a story in a conclusive way. It is not the kind of analysis we hope to have from a cover story in the City Paper. It feels cute, but lazy. We know Lydia is one of the hardest working reporters in town, so why use this tactic?
I will not hide that I am opposed to Walmart and am working with the community to make sure that IF they come to DC they should agree in writing to conditions that take care of our communities and don't leave our city devastated like we have seen in other places in Walmart's past.
Many residents throughout the city are upset about the way our officials and others have been purchased by the corporation. They have bought silence from some, and pitchmen in others like Kaplan and Hidalgo. Will we be seeing Walmart ads in the City Paper soon?
Hard choices. Yes we need jobs, but they need to be sustainable. Walmart is gonna pay a buck or so above minimum wage and very few of these 1,200 new employees will be able to afford the company's health insurance. A year after they open if 20% of employees are on the company's healthcare plan, I'll be shocked. So explain to me how this really helps DC? We do get sales and property tax revenues but those are partially or fully offset by other negative impacts.

As an example there's research out there about the # of Walmart employees' kids on public health insurance (programs like Badger Care in WI; PeachCare in GA etc) and it's usually very high. So our DC or Federal tax dollars end up circling back around to provide health care of poor workers children. (Which incidentally is a subsidy to the company, just an indirect one.)
I think I'm missing the "quality journalism" aspect folks are praising here. The headline makes it an op-ed over a supposedly done deal which hasn't actually closed yet.

Maybe it's just me, but I think "quality journalism" would be taking a close look at the actual impact Wal-Mart has when it enters a community, and then assessing the claims Wal-Mart makes against results. Similarly, assessing the claims made by the anti-Wal-Mart contingent would help the reader to get a better understanding of what's at stake here, rather than just getting the P.R. from either side. I'm actually offended by the headline that implies the whole city's been won over, rather than a half dozen non-profits and a, shall we say, ethically challenged City Council.

Here's where I went for info when I first heard Wal-Mart wanted in. Granted, it's an advocacy site, but many of the articles are peer-reviewed, and they didn't take me out for coffee: http://www.newrules.org/retail/key-studies-walmart-and-bigbox-retail

I don't shop at Wal-Mart and don't miss it, so they're not bringing anything to town I need or want, except jobs for my neighbors. My conclusion is that Wal-Mart does not produce real jobs. Period. We, the citizens of DC, will supplement their low wages with food stamps and Medicaid. I'm not paying taxes to subsidize the world's biggest corporation.

Please stay with this story. It deserves a lot of detailed attention.
I am dismayed that this article repeatedly cites the Wal-Mart claim that the four locations will create 1200 retail jobs without also citing the opposition claim (and the result of numerous studies) indicating that 1.5 jobs are lost from small businesses closing once a new Wal-Mart opens for every job created by that same new Wal-Mart location. This is a shamefully unbalanced piece that fails to cite the empirical data cited by Wal-Mart opponents. There isn't even any mention of the massive sex discrimination case against Wal-Mart for which the Supreme Court decided class certification was not appropriate, without ruling on the underlying merits of the claims of scores of women who allege sex discrimination by Wal-Mart.

I don't care about ad hominem attacks against Andy Shallal for the size of his house, I care about reporters sincerely making the effort to quote the empirical arguments of both sides of a contentious issue, statistics included.
Good piece of journalism, but it would be better as a part of a series, exploring consumer opinions, history of commercial development in DC, and prospective economic impact.

Once Walmart comes in, there will be no getting rid of it unless DC itself fails, and that's what concerns me. My neighborhood treasures its independent businesses, small storefronts, and minimal congestion.

Local businesses keep local funds in local neighborhoods, and the patrons' dollars don't often make the trip to billionaire CEOs in Alabama or Chinese manufacturers with dire labor and environmental records.

It saddens me when my neighbors choose not to see the bigger picture. Walmart's past has shown that promises often wither; whether it be relative to wages, community sponsorship, or environment. At the end of the day, a corporation expects to make a buck and the stock holders expect it to make a buck more than it did yesterday. Walmart will do that, and it will do so on the backs of the poor, the local businesses, and the environment.

I know I'll never shop there, but I'm sad that my neighborhood will still see the negative impact of their presence.
That Chicago study was worthless. The authors knew what they wanted to prove and used flawed methods to get them there. There are lots of effective rebuttals to it, just google it.

Even if the conclusions about its impacts on the Chicago community were not cooked, there is no parallel with DC, at not least in Ward 4 where I live. The Chicago neighborhood had shoe stores and clothing stores--we have none. We have liquor stores, pawn shops, takeout restaurants, hair cutters and ethnic grocery stores. Plus we have a really lousy, lazy Safeway at Piney Branch that might have to improve were it to face more competition for its customers.

I don't track the argument that Walmart jobs are not good enough for our unemployed workers in DC. Suppose we had a healthy mix of small businesses in that area. How many jobs would they generate and what kind of wages would they pay? Would they provide health insurance? Would our work force be better off?

That section of Georgia Avenue is like a mouth full of rotten teeth, with a big gap where that empty car dealership stands. I never hear seen a viable alternative scenario from the development opponents.

So the situation is complex. It deserves careful consideration, not a knee-jerk reaction.

I thought the author of this article handled the nuances very capably.

The Chicago study isnt the only one that shows Walmart to be bad for local communities. And there is more than just the Safeway at Randolph, which, I believe, is slated for renovations. And that area of Ward 4 is hardly the void that you describe it as. What utter nonsense that sounds like it came straight from a Walmart PR Sock Puppet.
Neshama, good post.

Of course the NIMBYs will accuse people of being a shill. Their humble brains can't come up with much besides blind assertions and EZ slogans, and that must anger them.

@ Bob See-NO ANGER!

WE WILL NOT BE BOUGHT BY BULL SHIT AND CHUMP CHANGE!
I don't care what any of you think or say and frankly tired of the whining. I am a resident of Ward 4 and I want a store, like Walmart, in Ward 4. If you don't like Walmart, then don't shop there. Or, come up with a better idea. Just stop the whining.
noodlez: "WE WILL NOT BE BOUGHT BY BULL SHIT AND CHUMP CHANGE!"

No, we'll be "bought" by a retailer opening stores on vacant lots in run-down deserts that other retailers snubbed. There will be a person to greet us with a smile as we enter the magical realm of unparalleled low prices. Always.

Look, Walmart is far from my first choice but two things made me OK with it: 1) They're going to open them. None of this floundering around and pulling out BS. 2) The stores look nice.
@Bob See-WOW!!! YOU CAN NOT BE SERIOUS?

CHAMP THE ONLY THING THAT IS GOING TO BE OPEN IS YOUR GLUTES AFTER THEY FINISH DICKING YOU THEN YOU WILL BE BEGGING FOR THEM TO PULL OUT.

"The stores look nice." THEN ORGANIZE SOME OF YOUR FOLKS TO SPRUCE THE PLACE UP AS OPPOSED TO THEM JOKERS COMING IN HERE WITH SOME TEMPORARY BAIT AND SWITCH FIX. YOU WOULD THINK THE WORST MAYOR W.D.C. EVER HAD WOULD HAVE MADE SURE THE PLACE WAS AT THE VERY LEAST WAS LEFT IN THE SAME CONDITION BEFORE HE HAD HIS FAILED CAMPAIGN BRING THE PLACE DOWN.

IM SURE THERE IS A SMALL TO MEDIUM BUSINESS WOULD FIT THAT SPACE. GIVE THE DOGGIE CARE SOME INCENTIVES TO EXPAND AND CREATE A FUNCTIONAL DOG PARK(NOT SOME OVER PRICED $400K SHIT AND PISS HOLE). PETCO OR PET SMART COULD ALSO MOVE IN TO PROVIDE RETAIL SERVICES ALONG WITH A ANIMAL CLINIC THEN YOU WOULD HAVE AN ANIMAL CENTRAL SERVICES THAT IM SURE WOULDNT BRING IN THE ELEMENT THAT A WALMART WOULD BRING.
At the risk of ruing my credibility on this forum, I am going to defend LDP and this piece. LDP has been consistently critical and suspicious of Walmart and I hope that all criticizing the piece will dig deeper on her views. More importantly, I do not read this as a puff piece of Walmart. I actually read it as the opposite. To me, this piece highlights the scorched earth mentality and ruthlessness that Walmart unleashes when it wants into a market. The way this piece is written, it does not portray Walmart as a community friendly Pollyanna of a retailer – it merely demonstrates how Walmart feels that way about itself and is willing to launch a full PR and political assault to get its message out. I would urge all of you to read the piece again with that in mind.

As for Walmart coming to DC. I have some comments or observations. One, I am reminded of the old Harlem and Bronx numbers rackets…which were run locally by Blacks and the Irish at the beginning of the 20th Century. When the Mafia decided that they wanted the Harlem numbers money for themselves, they swooped in, bribed people, killed people and either bought or took out the competition. I am not saying the Walmart is a criminal enterprise, but you get my point. Walmart wants in and they have the resources and the savvy enough to make it happen. It will happen. They are playing Bridge and everyone else is playing 52 Pickup. Geez, look at it folks. Second, Walmart targeted sites that had been undeveloped or underdeveloped for years – the most vulnerable places. It KNEW that no one had any viable alternatives for those sites because no one with deep pockets stepped up to complete development on those sites. All prior attempts had failed or never launched. It KNEW that the politicians in those wards (and District-wide) need a defining victory. It KNEW that the NIMBY factions and small business factions would not be a major threat because they cannot unleash the same resources and Walmart had already bought the politicians. Finally, it watched Target test the waters and make a killing in Columbia Heights (with significant City help) and it KNEW that JAWB would welcome it because Walmart did not have its hand out on the front end. All that is left to say is … CHECKMATE!
A retailer wanting to open a store here is a matter of right. To my knowledge there is no legal precedent that says that if a vocal minority objects, it won't get approved. DC officials are being accused of being "bribed" for following their own guidelines?

Less emotional outrage, and more facts would be nice.

Also, if people across town protest the stores, but most people in the areas themselves are fine with them, why should the first group feel they deserve more clout? Why do they think they're superior?

Little wonder I can't stand you people. You got your Target with no friction at all, in an area that had almost no retail. Now let people in other areas remain stuck with empty lots becasue YOU don't like that particular store, and tell them they're better off for it. You're a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites.
your store is the best one to shop at in indiana pa
Look at that, Andy thinks that Walmart wrote this. Walmart was the first to tweet and repost this story. I guess they also felt like it made them look good. I'm clearly not the only one to think it's a puff piece.
Walmart is the best store in Indiana, PA. Is Indiana a new foreign sister city to DC that I didn't know about?
I find it ironic, even tragic, that the NGOs who minister to society's poor apparently do not realize that the ranks of the poor are swelled by the economic practices pioneered by Wal-Mart, and the social policies pursued by the Walton family. Lori Kaplan and Manny Hidalgo give cover to the corporation and the family even as they work to destroy the middle class.
Indeed, the story wasn't about people who oppose Walmart's coming to D.C., six stores strong--we're merely ideologues.
By the end of the story, the reader can tell that it would have taken a strong reporter to resist Walmart's well-oiled PR machine. By the end of the story, too, anyone who understands the significance of who a reporter quotes in their final paragraph, understands that LDP wasn't strong enough.

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