Could There Be a Wal-Mart In DC?

Photo courtesy of
‘Wal Mart: Salt Lake City’
courtesy of ‘Kenneth Hynek’

Wal-Mart wants a store right here in the District and is trying to get its ducks in a row to make it happen. According to the Washington Business Journal, Wal-Mart is “moving aggressively to work out a deal”. The top potential spot for the store right now is along Howard Road SE by the Poplar Point development. Wal-Mart wants to get into more urban areas and sees now as the time to do it, given the relative cheapness of land prices.

The article also goes on to discuss the fact that Wal-Mart will probably want a public partnership on this to help fund the land purchase because their stores bring foot traffic and tax revenue. Hmm, I’m not a complete self-proclaimed Wal-Mart hater like many, but I definitely do see the negative sides of bringing in a ginormous retailer to a neighborhood. Wal-Mart succeeds at capitalism at its finest and that’s the reason many people think it’s wrong for local government to stop them from being built. It’s the free market economy! So Wal-Mart, since you are such a capitalistic purist and have gotten filthy, filthy rich off of consumers, you get NO help from the government here. It’s the free market economy! Read: You can have your cake, but ain’t no chance you get to eat that shiz.

But even if they get no public funding for this effort, do you support Wal-Mart plopping down in DC? (get ready for comments from people who don’t live anywhere near the proposed site!)

Karl is a Washingtonian who lives and breathes everything that is DC. Politics, ethnic restaurants, sad sports teams, the Metro and pretty much anything in between. Karl’s life is kind of like going to a Nats’ game while eating Ethiopian food and discussing the latest legislation to pass the House. Then cramming on the Metro for a ride home. That ’bout sums it up. See why Karl loves DC or check him out on Twitter.

13 thoughts on “Could There Be a Wal-Mart In DC?

  1. a) walmart needs no public funding, i would be righteously outraged if my tax dollars went to building a walmart.

    b) i understand this for convenience, but for the health of small businesses in the area (that are already struggling in this economy), i certainly hope walmart goes back to the burbs with the rest of the big box stores where it belongs.

  2. Wal-Mart will bring tons of jobs to the area and allows lower income, urbanites to be able to get the stuff they need without spending more than they have. It’s a win win for DC. Why do you liberals always hate stuff that helps the common man? Elitists.

  3. We already have a Target. I really don’t see the problem. In fact, having a “superstore” in SE and NW might reduce some congestion. With the exception of tax money being used, I really don’t care. Low cost goods, a bunch of new jobs. Why all the bitching? Seriously? I can’t think of any businesses in South East that aren’t niche stores. Will it really effect small business that greatly? It might take a few bucks away from Harris Teeter but that will just make them competitive. Go for it.

  4. Umm, folks the sites under consideration-Poplar Point & Skyland-have no small businesses. There is no ‘neighborhood’ near Poplar Point. I live in Ward 7 (East of the River) and am a native Arkansan (bias alert) and creating a neighborhood with Wal-Mart as a base could be workable, especially if the site doesn’t have a surburban, spread out footprint. I’m not a fan of the public subsidy but we have to be careful about throwing the term around and look comprehensively at the area’s public plans. How do we smartly leverage the private and public needs?

  5. @marcus, Because those jobs are rarely full-time, rarely provide affordable health insurance possibilities, and Walmart does everything it can to keep unions from organizing workers into gaining those things. People don’t work at Walmart because they WANT to, they do it because they HAVE to. Why would you wish that on anyone?

    I’m not actually opposed to the location of a Walmart in DC, but I wish you wouldn’t paint everyone with such a broad stroke. It’s possible to see the need for a store like Walmart while also wishing it could treat its workers better.

    But I’m sure you’ve already thought of that.

  6. I definitely agree with Erin. Its not a liberal elitist problem all the current walmart workers are currently having.

  7. If Wal-Mart wants to build in Poplar Point, hey, go for it. But not with public funding. Wal-Mart is one of the richest businesses out there who even in this bad economy is still pulling in profis. They don’t need any assistance at all.

  8. @erin… would you rather have 100 full time jobs or 250 part time jobs? The more people that have a part time job are less likely to be taking welfare and other forms of public assistance. Also, unions look after unions…they have the tendency to force companies to work against their bottom line, look at GM and most teachers’ unions.
    Unions are great when the economy is up and they do get better pay for their employees but they also work against the worker and its company during down times. Unions interfere with the competitive market place and tend to artificially raise some salaries while inadvertently keeping other salaries lower.

  9. @geb, I’d rather people use whatever support system gives them more to live off of. Fifteen hours a week at $9 an hour will not provide a life for anyone. Especially when more than half of that will have to go toward the insanely high premiums Walmart charges for its health care. It’s foolish to expect that 250 part-time jobs will have any effect whatsoever on the public assistance some people need from time to time.

    As for your thoughts on unions, it’s because of a union that I had health care–dental, glasses, everything–growing up, even when my dad wasn’t working full time. Would you have preferred my family rely on public assistance or on the safety net provided by the hard work of millions of unionized workers across the country?

    In my experience, unions look after families and employees. Even the threat of a union forces companies to treat its workers just a little bit better. Walmart, as bad as it is, is markedly better than it was a decade ago precisely because of the threat of unionization. They’ve made small concessions to their employees to keep them from unionizing. And despite that, Walmart’s profits have been nothing but stellar for the last few years, even as the rest of the country has tanked. Boy, those unions sure do ruin everything.

    How’s that 40-hour, 5-day work week treating you, by the way?

  10. Well this quickly turned into a labor debate…which I guess is to be expected whenever discussing Wal-Mart. Side question: Do you think Wal-Mart being built there would actually spur other small businesses to open or would it prevent pretty much any small business from being able to make a profit in the area in the future?

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  12. Rather than a subsidy, could an arrangement be made between public and private funding like that of DCUSA? Walmart has, in the past, treated their workers poorly. I seriously hope they’re trying to change their corporate image, and not just for the sake of their image.

    The store they built in Chicago seems to be sprawling, like they plopped it down in the middle of the city – I think that if Walmart could come up with a smart-growth type plan, then it’s worth looking into.

    Another potential thing is that Walmart could bring a grocery store. I would hope that if any deal is made, that is part of it.