Is Walmart Trying To Buy Its Way Into New York City?

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walmartIs it a genuine gesture or an attempt to buy the city’s good will? The question was posed to Walmart spokesman Steve Restivo as the giant retailer pledged $4 million to the New York City’s summer youth employment program. Restivo said there are no strings attached to the pledge.Walmart is seeking approval to build its first New York City store in Brooklyn.

“[It’s] no secret that we’re looking for locations across the five boroughs – store sizes small, medium, and large. We don’t have any announced projects yet. We don’t have any leases signed in the city,” Restivo said.

Later, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer attempted to get Walmart representative Michelle Gilliard to answer the following question: would the retail giant’s generous pledge to create summer jobs for city kids soften resistance to its stores being built here in New York City?

That set Mayor Michael Bloomberg off and what followed was an at times terse back and forth with Kramer.

“It won’t with me. This city’s open to everybody, period, end of story,” Bloomberg said.

Hizzonor was so agitated that he at first wouldn’t let Gilliard answer the question.

“I answered it for you. We’ve had enough,” Bloomberg said.

And away they went:

Kramer: “Mr. Mayor, I don’t understand why you’re not allowing Michelle …”

Bloomberg: “I’d be happy to allow Michelle … she says no.”

Kramer: “This is a press conference. We would like an opportunity …”

Bloomberg: “If Michelle wants to speak she’s welcome to speak.”

Kramer: “But you’re basically answering the questions.”

The mayor eventually let her take the floor, but Kramer couldn’t get an answer to the question.

Kramer: “Do you think that this donation of $4 million will help you or help your company on its attempt to build a store here?”

Bloomberg: “Let me answer that. I hope so. Why would anybody not hope so? You’re telling me that your company’s philanthropy doesn’t look to see what is good for your company?”

Walmart’s $4 million pledge should allow the summer jobs program to expand by up to 3,400 jobs.

“We’ve given close to $13 million in the last four years alone. So, today’s announcement really was a continuation of what our foundation has done over the past several years,” Restivo said earlier.

Walmart has been tight lipped about where it wants to build. One potential site is on Gateway Drive in Brooklyn. The location is just a few miles from the Pitkin Avenue Business District where local store owners are worried about their survival and furious at Mayor Bloomberg.

Mark Tanis, the general manager of Shopper’s World on Pitkin Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn, told Kramer it’s clear to him why Walmart made the donation.

“I feel that Walmart is trying to buy its way into the community,” Tanis said. “I don’t know why the mayor would want to infringe on the small businesses. We are everyday small businesses, mom and pop trying to make it.”

Walmart said the city donation is part of a $25 million program to help kids have a better summer.

{1010 WINS/ Newscenter}


  1. We need a Walmart in Brooklyn, in the worst way! Maybe our local stores will stop ripping us off because now there will be competition.

  2. If your local stores are ripping you off so badly, how come all of us,”out-of-towners,” come to your stores to shop. We have Walmarts. Please fargin your fellow Yidden a parnosso.

  3. Sorry. I’m not mechuyav to be oiver lifnay eever
    There is nothing wrong with honest competition. Yes, if I want better personal costumer service, I’m maskim to pay a “little” more & shop in the above mentioned stores. FYI, the Walmart in Monticello, during the summer, is one of the highest revenue generating stores in the entire Country! For those of us, hard working tax paying tuition paying New Yorkers, we NEED a Walmart! Not all of us are rich enough to shop in Pomagranate! Anyway, your always welcome to visit us from Canada.

  4. Man! If you’re thinking Pomegranate, you’re unaware of the treasures in your backyard. Competition for the $$$ of the frum oilom was born in Brooklyn. Alright maybe it was born in the East Side, but it is alive and well on the Avenues in your neighborhood. Think Odd Lots, think Amazing Saving. Think KRM. Think of the Electronic stores that trip over themseves for your business. Think clothing and shoe stores that are having sales every other day. The only places better to shop are the outlet malls. If you ever come to Toronto there are a couple of good ones along the way. Meanwhile keep paying those taxes. (You don’t even want to know what our’s are.) And keep Yidden in Business so that we don’t have to raise more money for Tomchei Shabbos and organizations lioke that. BTW, ask your Posek. You can take the “extra” money you’re paying for higher prices in frum stores off of Maaser.
    One more thing. The Wallmart in Monticello is full of Bored women and children all summer long. The money that is wasted there is probably one of the reasons why people are not managing. It also has a very high chillul Hashem rate. Both from the behavior of some of the frum people there, and more so because of the prevailing attitude that Wallmart is the local gemach, due to it’s easy return policy.


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