Walmart's Entry into New York City Only a Matter of Time

COMMENTARY | NEW YORK — In what could seem to be an unstoppable force moving at light speed towards an immovable object, Walmart is trying to move into New York City. The big Apple is not welcoming the retail behemoth with open arms…to say the least.

Not only is Walmart trying to move into New York City, it is trying to open a store in each of the city's five boroughs. Of course, moving into boroughs such as Staten Island, the Bronx and Queens is one thing. Moving into Manhattan is quite another.

While other big box retailers such as Target, Costco and Home Depot have all successfully moved into Manhattan, none seem to carry quite the stigma that the name Walmart does. fairly or not, Walmart seems to be synonymous in some quarters with a soulless, corporate America. for all of its downsides, New York City does not do "soulless" or "corporate" well.

Walmart has 4,300 locations in the United States. Known mainly as a suburban enterprise, it has both rabid fans and critics. its supporters say that Walmart provides jobs with good working conditions, and products are significantly lower price points than what would otherwise be available. Walmart's detractors say that it limits competition, and lowers wages, through its critical mass and non-union workforce.

As a long time resident, I will say that New York City is an interesting place. there is a self proclaimed 'elite class' that would never shop at a Walmart, no matter how sensible it might be to do so. this group of people, and it is sizable, would not appreciate Walmart in the midst of its fine city.

The other large part of the populace is working class, and they reside mainly in the outer boroughs. this group remains largely pro-union; the thought that one of the largest, richest and most powerful companies in the world would move into the area, and hire non-union workers, does not sit well. New York City, after all, still has many residents living in small rent controlled apartments, and its middle class can live here only because the federal minimum wage has almost no relevance here.

This all said, there is a large number of New Yorkers who spend an estimated $150 million annually on trips outside of the city to Walmart and other big Box retailers in New Jersey, Westchester and Long Island. Along with their dollars go critical sales tax dollars that New York City is currently missing out on. it seems only a matter of time before the guard goes down, both among the moneyed class and the working class, and Walmart is welcomed into the five boroughs of New York City.Ron Hart covers politics and news in New York City for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

Walmart's Entry into New York City Only a Matter of Time


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