With Walmart officials making it clear they intend to open stores in the five boroughs, the City Council has scheduled a hearing next month to review the impact the mega-retailer would have on small business and communities across the city.
The hearing, set for Dec. 14, has been titled “When Wal-Mart Comes to Town” and will offer a “historical and prospective view” of the Arkansas retail giant's impact, according to a Council notice. It will be a joint hearing of the Small Business, Community Development and the Economic Development committees.
“We're excited to have this hearing and get all the information out in the open so it can be debated,” said Bennett Baruch, deputy chief of staff to Councilwoman Diana Reyna, D-Brooklyn, who chairs the Small Business Committee.
The Council has historically opposed Walmart, largely because many of its members rely heavily on support from organized labor, which is worried that the retail giant would eat into the market share of unionized grocers should it enter the New York City market.
But after earlier defeats in Queens and on Staten Island, the retailer has grown more sophisticated in its approach and is now looking at as-of-right sights that would not require Council approval. One such location, the Gateway II complex in East New York, Brooklyn, already received its land-use approval.