Walmart: Opposition Doesn't Reflect Majority

The international retailer said last week the construction of a Supercenter in Suburban Plaza will benefit the North Decatur community.

The vocal opposition to the construction of a Walmart Supercenter in Suburban Plaza doesn't reflect the majority opinion of their customers, the international retailer said last week.

Walmart released a statement to the Atlanta Business Chronicle for an article about the opposition Walmart faces across the Atlanta metro area as it seeks to move into neighborhoods inside the Perimeter.

From the story:

"Local customers here are already traveling great distances to shop our stores," a Wal-Mart spokesman said in an email to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

"The louder voices in this discussion just don't represent the majority opinion, as the customer voice on this issue is clear. Many of those who would benefit most from the jobs and lower prices that a Walmart would bring are the least likely to show up with a protest sign."

Walmart added, it has "a solid track record" of working with developers, local officials and residents. In some cases, it went beyond requirements related to store size, parking, traffic and other issues.

"We're moving ahead with a project in Decatur we believe will benefit the whole community... "

The full story is only available online to paying subscribers.

Walmart is referring, of course, to Good Growth DeKalb, an organization created last year to fight the construction.

CORRECTION: This story, in the headline and several parts of the story, said Selig Enterprises, which owns Suburban Plaza, released a statement to the Atlanta Business Chronicle supporting Walmart. The statement, however, was from Walmart. It has been corrected in the story.

What do you think about Walmart's statement? Tell us in the comments section below.

J. Ellis September 20, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I agree. GGD represents about 1% of the 30,000 who live in Decatur. The whole Church/Scott/N Decatur area is an eyesore. We need to have some redevelopment in Suburban Plaza and Wallmart are the only ones willing to put out the money.
Trish Thompson September 20, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Walmart might help the "eyesore" but the businesses in Decatur Square and surrounding neighborhoods will suffer. It's not a good move but people don't ever see past their own pocketbook, unfortunately.
ITPNative September 20, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I highly encourage anyone interested in this topic to read Charles Fishman's "The Walmart Effect." It gives an extremely unbiased look at what Walmart really does to a community and how it has affected US life in general.
Lauren September 20, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I disagree, and find it interesting that Selig even responds if there's such overwhelming support. I saw a poster about a benefit "Rock to Stop Walmart" next Saturday night at Beacon Hill Arts Center in Decatur. The line up looks great! I think you can get tickets at Ace or http://www.goodgrowthdekalb.org
GES September 20, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I agree that Walmart will be great for the Suburban Plaza. It will be bad for stores like Ace that has much higher prices than nearby stores like Home Depot and Target.
Steve September 20, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Intown Ace has said repeatedly that they are not concerned. They offer a variety of products and a level of customer service and expertise that WM never has or will. I don't think they were worried about or affected by Home Depot when they went in several years ago. As for other neighborhood small businesses, take a look at Memorial Drive. It's thriving with small businesses. That part of the argument is a smokescreen.
foodist September 20, 2012 at 04:57 PM
It's not all about the money. It is about having a healthy LOCAL business community. I support local businesses. From what I understand, Intown Ace purposely does not stock certain items that can be found at Lowes or Home Despot because they cannot compete. If you are happy with a business that will not pay a living wage to it's employees, make the majority of employees part time so they do not get health insurance, undercut local businesses that pay a living wage, and ruin local neighborhoods with traffic and parking issues, by all means, have at it. You must be one of those people with the "I've got mine, so screw everyone else." mentality. Way to be a good citizen.
Jonathan Cribbs September 20, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Make sure you guys check the correction posted above. The statement to the Atlanta Business Chronicle was from Walmart, not Selig.
Wes September 20, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Walmart Sucks! I live in Avondale and do NOT shop at Walmart!
Joanne September 20, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Jonathan Cribbs -- You took Good Growth DeKalb to task and asked them for the numbers behind their assertion that the majority opposes a Walmart, so are you going to ask Walmart for the numbers behind their assertion? What kind of polling have they done and what are the specific numbers?
Terry Smith September 20, 2012 at 07:49 PM
i would rather do without than spend one penny at WalMart.
Sally September 20, 2012 at 08:03 PM
There was an Ace Hardware near the Tucker WalMart. Not only did it not suffer from WalMart, recently they built a new and bigger space. I like Intown Ace Hardware. They have different merchandise than the big box stores. They aren't that far from the Home Depot on Lawrenceville Hwy. They have survived that. I believe they will survive WalMart as well.
Sally September 20, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Bring own WalMart!!!
David D September 20, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Way to be a good citizen to you, too! Many of us are fed up with the "think my way or else" attitude you just posited.
David D September 20, 2012 at 08:13 PM
WalMart is coming, whether GGD wants to believe it or not.
Joanne September 20, 2012 at 09:01 PM
How do you know that for a fact? And what do you do for the community, David D, other than sit on blogs and attack community activists? Good Growth DeKalb is moving full bore ahead whether David D likes it or not. And we enjoy every minute of standing up for what we think is right.
Joanne September 20, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Who ever said that Good Growth DeKalb says its my way or the highway? Is that the argument you would use for African-Americans fighting for their rights or women fighting for their rights. Your reductive rhetoric is tired and uncreative. I'm just glad that I, and many people I know, are too smart to be bullied or disenchanted by comments like that. Quite frankly, you very much sound like a "my way or the highway" kind of person, so maybe you are engaging in a little projection on these blogs.
foodist September 20, 2012 at 09:14 PM
David D: Being a greedy jerk and not caring about what happens to your fellow citizens just so you can get your white socks and whitey tighties at a reduced price pretty much puts you in bad citizen territory. As for telling people how to think, no thanks, the Teapublicans are already doing enough of that. You're just feeling threatened because someone may actually use facts to back up what they posit.
Jonathan Cribbs September 20, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Probably not. Because Walmart is essentially just saying, "The store will succeed. People will shop here." They're not claiming specifics. They're saying, "Look at our success. It speaks for itself." Their comments are to be taken in a very general way. Good Growth DeKalb claimed something very specific, which is why I asked for what was behind those numbers. Also, just to make clear, I don't typically take anyone "to task." The 75/5 ratio was interesting to me, and I wanted to know how Good Growth DeKalb got there, and you guys were able to demonstrate how you did. It's as simple as that.
Steve September 21, 2012 at 12:00 PM
GGD has yet to reveal what their legal argument would be. The legal issues are over - there was no rezoning required and the only variance required was granted long ago. Moral issues are not legal issues and that seems to be their only argument.
Jordan Bailey September 21, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I wonder if you all know that a lot of companies that we support daily operate similarly to Walmart...just a thought.
K.C.S. September 21, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Jordan please keep up. This is no place for rational posts like yours.
Robyn September 23, 2012 at 06:24 PM
"own"? That's the problem -- it's owned and sends most of it's $$ back to its corporate headquarters in Arkansas. In the meantime, it pays poor wages and has the largest number of workers -- percentage wise, not just because it employs so many people -- on state welfare rolls. Is that what we want in our community? Cheap goods at a high price? Unless you're extra super wealthy, which Walmart says we're not or it wouldn't put a store here, I would think you'd care about how workers are treated, where your taxes go and how Walmart suppresses wages, property values and more.
Robyn September 23, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Steve, You are jumping the gun. Zoning is the beginning of the trail. Walmart and Selig must get permits and follow codes, laws,, regulations all the way up to opening day and beyond. In addition, aren't morals an important part of a community? Don't you want to shop at places that treat their workers well, disregard laws, lie to community members (were you at either of their staged meetings?) and so on? Walmart doesn't give a damn about morals as evidenced by two international investigations and more pending by Congress. But I do and my neighbors do and I believe my community as a whole does too. That's why the fight will continue.
Victoria Webb September 29, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Actually, Wal-mart has been losing market share for the past few years. Its product prices have been rising. Just google anything about the corporation and you'll find various financial publications citing its lackluster growth. It can't compete online and struggles globally. So Jonathan, it might not be a bad idea to query Wal-mart about numbers after all. They want to compete with Kroger, Publix, etc, because they see that market as their next takeover in the US. A whopping 25% of it is what they're aiming for. Organic food is obviously a no brainer for them, another reason they're moving into dense urban areas. I doubt they can compete with the YDFM, because in my own research every other grocer was cheaper than the Wal-mart on Memorial. Your Dekalb Farmers Mkt was 3 times less for most produce.
Victoria Webb September 29, 2012 at 06:44 PM
ps. Querying Wal-mart about the numbers of its supporters will do no good, however. They will always suggest everyone loves them and will shop there. Not true.
dianne joy September 30, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I agree. NO small, mid-size single-owned business can survive there--unless there is an anchor like Wal-mart. The idea that small business can survive there is pie in the sky. Suburban Plaza needs a NEW beginning--not just a tweaking of what is there now.
Elizabeth December 17, 2012 at 01:53 AM
You only confuse people with facts and logic!
Elizabeth December 17, 2012 at 01:56 AM
So keep supporting local businesses. Walmart being there shouldn't stop you.
Elizabeth December 17, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Walmart is a crappy company but they are the ONLY company willing to invest in that shopping center.


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