CEO of Price Cutter Says New Wal-Mart Would Cost Local Jobs
The company that owns the Bistro Market, a self-proclaimed “urban grocery store” in downtown Springfield, held a press conference Thursday to discuss the impact a new Wal-Mart store would have on local jobs, and the downtown area. KSMU’s Melanie Foehrweiser was there and has this report.
Erick Taylor is president and CEO of Price Cutter, which owns the Bistro Market.
“This is not a 'save the Bistro' meeting. This is save downtown,” Taylor told a group of residents and journalists who came to hear him speak. He says he's not opposed to competition. But the competition he supports is that which creates local jobs. He believes that Wal-Mart takes away from those local jobs in places that many people don't realize.
“Wal-Mart has checkers, we have checkers. That’s equal; both stores. But the job loss is at the distribution center and the transportation,” Taylor said.
Taylor says this is because Wal-Mart’s distribution center is based out of Bentonville, Arkansas, while Price Cutter’s is located in Springfield.
The proposed Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market would be located near the intersection of Campbell and Grand, not far from the heart of downtown.
Another concern of Taylor's is that it will take business away from downtown in general.
Councilman Scott Bailes, who also attended the press conference, says he is afraid that the millions of tax dollars that have been put into downtown in recent years will go to waste, and it will turn back into what it was “10 or 20 years ago.”
In trying to reach Wal-Mart for a comment, we were referred to the home office in Bentonville. We were unable to connect with a spokesperson there before deadline.
Springfield City Council is scheduled to discuss the Wal-Mart proposal at its next meeting, February 11th.
For KSMU News, I’m Melanie Foehrweiser.