Times Ledger: First Walmart store rumored for Ridgewood

From Times Ledger:

Although the company will not confirm it, rumors have been surfacing that the discount department store Walmart may be opening its first site in the city in Ridgewood.

The news was first reported by the real estate blog Commercial Observer and was based on interviews with local brokers.

Steven Restivo, senior director of communications for the store, would not confirm or deny whether Walmart will be setting up shop in Ridgewood. He simply said the company continues to evaluate opportunities across the five boroughs.

But Walmart Free NYC is ready: The coalition was formed years ago to prevent the chain from coming to the city.

David Schwartz, who represents the New York Association of Grocery Stores and is a member of the coalition, said Walmart could be devastating for the area.

“Walmart has been a disaster nationally for neighborhoods and communities,” he said. “New York City is big, but it’s made up of small towns. They’ll come in, destroy the mom-and-pop shops which are under assault anyway in this city for a number of reasons, hire non-union employees and pay minimum wage. I don’t think that’s how New Yorkers want to get ahead.”

Schwartz maintains that Walmart is worse for the city than other big-box stores. Some of the other stores pay union wages and have proved to be better community partners, he said.

The company has long faced a number of criticisms, including low wages, poor working conditions, the use of sweatshop labor and racial and gender discrimination.

Read more from Times Ledger…

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