Poll: Do You Want Wal-Mart in Somerville?

Wal-Mart has announced plans to bring a grocery store to Somerville. Some community organizers have begun to rally forces against the company. Where do you stand?

To date, Wal-Mart, the world's biggest company, known for it's warehouse-sized stores and low prices, has not filed a permit indicating its intention to bring a grocery store to Assembly Square.

Media reports, however, indicate , which is a grocery store, in the old Circuit City building, near .

Already, a coalition of local groups against Wal-Mart has begun to organize. The coalition, called The Somerville Coalition for a Responsible Walmart, . 

Not everyone in Somerville is necessarily against Wal-Mart opening a grocery store here. One Somerville Patch reader commented on the site, "There is nothing wrong with healthy competition … We need another discount grocery store in Somerville."

Many people are passionate about Wal-Mart. What about you?

Kelly H November 18, 2011 at 08:42 PM
but its only a wal mart grocery store. The prices generally aren't any better than what you can get at market basket anyhow.
Ron Newman November 18, 2011 at 08:42 PM
but how will this location serve "families who don't have cars"? Just try walking there from any other part of Somerville ...
Ron Newman November 18, 2011 at 08:45 PM
If the Walmart grocery does open here, I doubt many of its products will be made in foreign factories. The proposal is for a food store, not a full-sized Walmart.
Ron Newman November 18, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Amanda, Target replaced Bradlees, which was a similar store with similar merchandise (but a regional chain rather than a national one).
Somerville Home Owner November 18, 2011 at 09:02 PM
tricia chatwood: I don't know if your comment was directed at me, but if so... I was thinking of the lower income families. The short term might be lower prices, but the long term is fewer jobs... which means prices will not be low enough for those unemployed. RevMolly: Several WalMart execs are on the Forbes billionaires list, but I think only 1 has made the top 10 richest. Several have made the top 25 though. http://www.forbes.com/wealth/billionaires/list
Carol November 19, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Has anyone ever checked into the labor practices, wages and benefits that our local small businesses pay their employees? You know, the businesses that you are concerned that will be put out of business when WALMART Grocery moves in. Their employees are sometimes working more than 40 hrs per week with no o.t and no benefits. They will probably be lucky to even make minimum wage. These are also the people that also need a Walmart Grocery store in Somerville to feed their families.
Melissa McWhinney November 19, 2011 at 02:42 AM
But why should Somerville settle? Why is the only choice WalMart or nothing? Yes, we need more access to affordable fruits and vegetables, but I would like to know that the people working at the store have reasonable wages and benefits. There's a store called Produce Junction outside Philadelphia where my mother shops. It has unbelievable prices on produce; avocados 3/$1, huge heads of amazingly fresh romaine 2/$1, navel oranges 10/$1. You get the idea. The produce is beautifully fresh, although not organic. Someone is going to the Philly produce market at 3 in the morning, picking up crates, and bringing them to the store. The store isn't at all fancy; the produce is already bagged, so you have to buy two heads of romaine; you can't get just one. There are no baggers or bags; you carry your produce out in a cartboard crate that had produce in it just hours ago. Very low-tech, very basic. Just lots and lots of very cheap, very fresh, fruits and vegetables. And the workers are well-paid and happy! So rather than settle for Walmart, can't someone entrepreneurial make this happen? He or she will make a good living, the workers will make a good living, we'll all have better diets for less money, and what money is spent will stay here in the Somerville area instead of going out of state. That's what I want, and it's what I hope Somerville will hold out for, instead of settling for Walmart.
julie katz November 19, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Carol, your point is well-taken. In Davis Sq, chain stores pay minimum- one w/ policy of NO raises.Work conditions are abhorrent. No security. Restaurant workers' exposure to high heat, noxious fumes, unvented smoke etc. prob violate OSHA standards. And how many recycle? In a city proud of its Living Wage Ordinance we have dropped the ball big time. I'd love to shine light on many local employers but again, many are large chains who don't get rich by accident, but by low labor costs & discriminatory practices of all kinds. I must often balance my conscience & my convenience-I feel goods from CVS,Tedeschi & Dollar Store R tainted. Problem is, problem w/ WM isn't limited to labor practices. Not enough space here to elaborate, but as luck wd have it, a story in todays Huff.Post by a Rap Star explains it very well & includes link to important documentary abt. Walmart. Everyone in S'ville needs to see it- with language translators. Hard to argue w/ evidence. Please check this out: "http://www.huffingtonpost.com/headroc/walmart-is-the1percent_b_1102053.html" We need the facts vs. WM's infamous propoganda campaigns. Most of us have no idea the hidden costs of WM's cheap prices.
Andy Pyman November 19, 2011 at 02:50 AM
I agree the poll options are worded poorly. The for and against are strikingly different in tone. They have good prices and I'll probably shop there on occasion vs Over my dead body While some of the 'no' voters possibly feel that strongly, there is a big leap that needs to be made to get from something like, "I don't think it's a good idea because..." to "over my dead body." If you're going that route with the 'No' vote, the 'Yes' should be something like: "Would kill to make it happen."
julie katz November 19, 2011 at 08:10 AM
Very well said.
Jennifer November 19, 2011 at 01:30 PM
I think that under a thriving economy communities can be more stringent on who comes town. In todays tough economy and considering unemployement, we should be more open to private businesses who want to spend their private dollars (no gov or tax dollars). Yes WalMart isnt ideal but they will create jobs from the moment they buy the land. Which is another empty lot, just like the one in Winter Hill. An empty lot does nothing if not takes away from the comunity. Have other businesses tried to purchase the space? Also let your dollars speak, if you dont like it dont shop there or work there. Do date I have done my holiday shopping at all local business but it doesnt mean people shouldnt have the choice to shop at big box stores. I dont like Wal-Mart but I think people should make their own decisions on where they shop
rjean November 19, 2011 at 04:56 PM
The LAST thing Somerville needs is another grocery store that promotes the mass-produced, boxed preservatives and additives agrifood that most Americans eat AND takes the income out of the local economy. Maybe Whole Foods or Trader Joe's is a bad fit for the neighborhood because of price point, but is WalMart truly the alternative? Yes, we need jobs and infrastructure and business investment, but not a Corporate Grocery Store. I'm with Melissa: Somerville needs an alternative to WalMart. Fresh food, locally owned if not locally grown, staffed by local people, contributing to the local economy.
Somerville Home Owner November 19, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Rjean: sounds good in theory but try achieving that at lower prices than trader joes. If u can do that then u will have one very successful business. Good luck.
Ken Long November 20, 2011 at 01:38 AM
I'll still shop at Market Basket. They have excellent produce and great prices, but I'll certainly give WalMart a look. As far as I am concerned if people want to shop there and like the products thats their business, likewise if people want to work there and accept the wages that's also their business. Can it really be any worse than Bradley's was, or the Assembly Sq K-Mart?
Somerville Home Owner November 20, 2011 at 02:33 AM
good point
Somerville Home Owner November 20, 2011 at 02:34 AM
I think Market Basket is very competitive.
Joe Grafton November 20, 2011 at 02:40 PM
Interesting how there was a spike of over 100 votes for Yes over a saturday night to sunday morning
Carol November 20, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Yes I noticed that from Friday night going into Saturday. It was a huge spike. I am pretty sure its the same people who keep voting NO when they log on. I think people are wise enough not to trust that poll.
Melitta King November 20, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Walmart has some serious issues with how they treat their female employees; low wages, lack of benefits, unable to move up, limit on # of hours. I do think Somerville should protect against that. If people don't stand up against them (and the US Justices won't) then it's up to the local government to protect their people.
Shawn Moran November 21, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Competition drives prices down.Obviously it is up to city to keep an eye on their activities.
David November 21, 2011 at 03:53 PM
In the same vein as "Freedom isn't free", Walmart's cheap prices don't come cheap. It is counterintuitive that paying more at the register may be in one's long-term interest, but seems to be true. It is a matter of contrasting two business models and their comprehensive effects, not just immediate prices. For anyone taking this paradox seriously I highly recommend the film, "WALMART: the high cost of low price", see http://www.walmartmovie.com/ Walmart achieves SOME of its cost reductions through efficiencies of scale and it is arguable that this is a net gain to the economy. If the company were worker-owned, and community-friendly, the savings would be returned to the communities and we all would indeed be better off. Unfortunately Walmart has fought tooth-and-nail against implementing values that most of us in Somerville treasure (fairness, safety, opportunity, transparency). I would love Walmart to grow into a "good actor" but they show no signs of this beyond propaganda. Wise people learn from others' mistakes. Show me any community whose local economy is stronger since Walmart's arrival. For the foreseeable future we must say 'no' to Walmart in Somerville.
Donna Lang-Matos April 04, 2012 at 06:13 AM
Donna Lang-Matos April 04, 2012 at 06:21 AM
My comment ended up in the wrong place.It was suppose to post as a reply to Carol,which I posted "Amen".As I agree with everything she has to say.We NEED A WALMART HERE.I am tired to of going to either Lynn or Reading,as those are the closest Walmarts to us as it stands now.
Somerville Home Owner April 04, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Donna: The proposal is for a Walmart grocery store... not a full blown Walmart.
Mary Norcross April 04, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Well said.
Mary Norcross April 04, 2012 at 06:22 PM
What about a Market Basket in the space. It is popular and local and ow cost.
Laura Slapikoff April 04, 2012 at 08:38 PM
What he said.
jamoccaldi April 10, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Please no walmart , at least not in the area being talked about. The traffic will be brutal. That strip of road just can't handle the amount of people who will flood in from Somerville, Cambridge, Everret, Medford, Arlington, ect. ect.
C Reichert April 22, 2012 at 03:06 AM
This New York Times article sums up my misgivings about Walmart. They only care about growth, the community and corruption be-damned! http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/business/at-wal-mart-in-mexico-a-bribe-inquiry-silenced.html?hp
mplo June 20, 2012 at 12:45 PM
As a 24-year Somerville resident, I am one of the nay-sayers when it comes to having any kind of Wal*Mart Store coming to our city. Their food is shoddy, their labor policies horrendous, and the damage that Wal*Mart has inflicted on communities that it's moved into is enormous. It's the biggest independent business killer that there is, and there's a good possibility that it would put other grocery stores/markets around here out of business. I suggest that the proponents of a Wal*Mart grocery store coming into Somerville rent the DVD of t he film "Wal*Mart--The High Cost of Low Pricing", a documentary film that gives excellent insight as to the abusive labor policies, bad food, as well as shoddy merchandise, not to mention extremely long hours, and no benefits, unless one goes on welfare. I also might add that Wal*Mart decided against moving into Somerville, because they know they're not welcome. Most people don't want them, and with ample reasons.


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