Wal-Mart plans to construct six stores in the D.C. area in the next year.
The stores will be built at the following locations:
· Ward 4: Georgia and Missouri Avenue NW
· Ward 4: Riggs Road NE and South Dakota Avenue NE
· Ward 5: New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road NE
· Ward 6: 801 New Jersey Avenue NW
· Ward 7: Capitol Heights (East Capitol Street and 58th Street)
· Ward 7: Good Hope Road and Alabama Avenue SE
Some District residents expressed concern over the chain’s possible effect on local small businesses.
Local group Respect D.C. is particularly upset about Wal-Mart’s planned arrival. Group members want each neighborhood to be allowed to decide if the store is acceptable for its area, according to its website. The group is also worried about the chain’s local effect on the D.C. economy.
Respect D.C. takes issue with Wal-Mart’s wage rates, its effects on local businesses and its legal disputes over gender bias in hiring, according to its website.
“Their track record is one where these businesses around them are forced to close, that they don’t always hire people from the communities that they locate [in] and that they don’t provide good jobs, and that’s not what we felt D.C. needs right now,” an organizer for Respect D.C and Wal-Mart Senior Director of Community Affairs Steve Restivo said Wal-Mart stores would not only provide greater grocery access to community members but also create jobs.
“We know Washingtonians want to shop and work in our stores, and we want to make access more convenient,” Restivo said in an email.
Restivo also said certain types of small businesses still flourish around Wal-Mart’s stores since they don’t compete with the chain.
“From restaurants, salons, banks and florists to bookstores, specialty grocers and wine & spirits shops, there are dozens of small business categories that typically surround our stores,” he said.
Respect D.C. has proposed a Community Benefits Agreement to solve its disagreements with the chain.
A CBA is a written contract between a developers and local groups that offer local support for construction projects in exchange for community benefits, according to a document from Tulane University Law School’s website.
The community is particularly focused on the wage rates for workers and hope to see established standards for workers’ pay from such a contract, according to its website.
Restivo said Wal-Mart previously signed an agreement in November that emphasized the chain’s desire to be a good “neighbor” to the city.
“We expect to be held accountable for every syllable in this public document and we intend to follow through on every single item in the agreement,” he said.
Virginia Cross, a sophomore in the College of Arts of Sciences, was concerned about Wal-Mart’s planned arrival.
“I think it [the stores] would take away from small businesses and I would be much more willing to spend more money on a local business than to feed into Wal-Mart,” she said.