Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Wal-Mart Funding Local Businesses

I came across an interesting article on Reuters today regarding Wal-Mart working with local retailers to develop healthy economies in blighted or otherwise undesirable areas. From the article:
The world's biggest retailer, often blamed for driving mom-and-pop stores out of business, said it would offer business development grants to nearby companies and give them free in-store advertising as part of a new economic development program.

Wal-Mart will also hold seminars for minority and women-owned business owners on how to become Wal-Mart suppliers, as well as seminars for all surrounding small businesses on how to compete in a community with a Wal-Mart.
Free money and information on how best to succeed in the same markets as Wal-Mart? That doesn't sound like the picture of the evil, community squashing, corporate giant PARD has painted in the media over the past year. They've also come under fire from PARD for their willingness to develop new land, and the possibility of one day leaving a hideous, empty building to scar our landscape. Of the 50 new stores the article discusses, however:
Wal-Mart said it will open more than 50 stores over the next two years in neighborhoods with high unemployment, on sites that are environmentally contaminated, or in vacant buildings or malls in need of revitalization.
I don't hold a Ph.D in Chinese, nor am I an expert in deer mating, but this sounds like awfully socially conscious and responsible behavior to me.

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

As a small, woman owned business who will compete with Wal-Mart, I appreciate their words. However, Wal-Mart owes me nothing. My support of Wal-Mart is a matter of principle. I believe strongly in free enterprise and I will always support what is clearly right for Pullman.

Retail is a vicious, competitive, almost gladiator environment. Wal-Mart's proposal is a tad condenscending and I hate that they may be caving to the anti-free enterprisers.