Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison took to the Daily News yesterday, with an editorial bashing the big P.R. push to bring Walmart to New York City.
What does Walmart have to do with improving the Bay, you ask? Well, Barrison is also the executive vice president of the Small Business Congress of New York City, a federation of more than 75 small-business associations advocating for the rights of small enterprises across the five boroughs. And they have no love for the “Wal-monster.”
It’s also not Barrison’s first editorial against the nation’s largest retailer. He previously slammed environmentalists and the city’s transportation experts on Sheepshead Bites for not lending voice to the fight, saying that a Walmart would bring additional traffic, congestion and pollution to the area around the Gateway Shopping Center in East New York, where observers agree a Walmart is most likely to land.
In his latest editorial, Barrison touts a slew of studies revealing how Walmart can devastate local economies in big cities, and also stands up for New York City’s small businesses – the best incubator for economic advancement of women and minorities.
Here’s an excerpt:
Chicago‘s struggling West Side learned the hard way that Walmart’s stores destroy more retail jobs than they create.
In 2006, the big-box retailer promised to bring jobs to the cash-strapped community. But according to a landmark study by Loyola University, the company’s rhetoric didn’t match reality: Within two years of Walmart’s opening its doors, 82 local stores went out of business.
Instead of growing Chicago’s retail economy, Walmart simply overtook it – absorbing sales from other city stores, and shuttering dozens of them in the process.
Researchers at Loyola dubbed Walmart’s store a wash – generating no new sales revenue for Chicago, and no new jobs for hard-off residents.
… With due respect to Walmart, this is not the kind of economic development neighborhood small businesses need.
Everywhere you look in New York, mom-and-pop shops help anchor our busiest and most vibrant business districts.
Fordham Road in the Bronx, Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, Jamaica Blvd. in Queens, 125th St. in Manhattan, and Forest Ave. on Staten Island are thriving proof that our city’s small businesses are the engine that powers New York City’s economy.
For minorities and women business owners in particular, New York City is an incubator for the American Dream. A third of all businesses here are owned by women, and nearly 18% are owned by African-Americans and Hispanics – both above the national averages.
But that could easily change.
… Home-grown entrepreneurs and small mom-and-pops have proven their commitment to our neighborhoods time and time again. Instead of falling for the big-box swindle and supporting their out of town competition, let’s stand by our neighborhood stores, and create more good jobs.
The only studies that support Big Wally are funded by or through Walmart; kind of like the tobacco companies’ support for cigarettes. New Yorkers deserves better. Our communities and neighborhoods deserve better.
You can read the full editorial here.