Small business owners report that the city catered to Walmart by removing storefront parking for their stores and relocating a bus stop to sit directly in front of Walmart. These changes combined with Walmart’s undercutting prices have reduced small business revenues by an estimated 20-85%, according to the proprietors. Walmart’s entry into the Brightwood neighborhood has already yielded hour cuts and layoffs at small businesses and threatens to shutter several businesses if the city does not step in to mitigate the retail giant’s impact.
“I have customers that tell me, ‘I want to come to your store, but the bus drops me at Walmart,’” said Usulután Grocery Jose Chavez, who estimates he’s lost 85% of his revenue since Walmart opened.
DC Medical Supply, in business since 2006 selling specialty medical goods, reports an estimated 25% loss of revenue since Walmart’s opening.
A study published in 2008 in the Journal of Urban Economics found that 1.4 retail jobs are lost for every Walmart job created as existing businesses close or reduce payroll. Numerous studies have also concluded that locally owned businesses return more spending to a local economy, such as this study of New Orleans published in 2009. A copy of the report compiled by Ward 4 Thrives and Respect DC is available online