WASHINGTON, December 6, 2013 — This week, Washington D.C. saw the opening of the first Walmart stores in the city, after a contentious legal battle over minimum wage. The company opened two stores in Washington after support from D.C. Mayor Vincent Grey helped to overcome lobbying over minimum wages in the district.
Walmart originally announced its plans to open the stores in D.C. in 2003, but lengthy disputes delayed the opening for ten years.
According to the Washington Post, “Critics argue that the selection and lower prices have come at a cost to other retailers and workers in Chicago, a troubling sign for businesses near Walmart’s first D.C. stores along Georgia Avenue and North Capitol Street.”
Citing the store’s popularity, supporters of Walmart disagree. Salon Magazine wrote about its immense support for the stores, “There’s an argument on the other side–in the immediate sense it’s a boon for people on limited incomes who get to shop there.
“Walmart received 38 applications for every position. At Harvard, they only get 20 applications for every slot in the freshman class.”
Walmart #5968 is built on a lot that was a shuttered Chevrolet dealership. No other big chains were moving to serve this community. Unlike in many cases, this store looks like an upgrade for the neighborhood. The shoppers I talked to–mind you, they were a biased sample group–were thrilled to have convenient access to what they need every day.”
Mayor Grey was present at the grand opening, as were hundreds of shoppers at both locations, on George Avenue and North Capitol Street.
Apparently, openings of such stores in Washington D.C. are highly politicized events. Vice President Biden visited the opening of a Costco in the city last year.
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