Monday, September 14, 2009

Wal-Mart Helps Many Small, Local Businesses

We have heard a lot of criticism of Wal-Mart by groups like Wake-Up Wal-Mart, which claims that Wal-Mart mistreats it workers with low wages, unpaid overtime, mandatory working off-the-clock, sub-standard benefits, etc. They also claim that Wal-Mart discriminates against women, it violates child labor and safety laws, and it destroys the environment and it even desecrates sacred grounds. Oh, and of course there is the claim that Wal-Mart hurts small, local businesses when it comes to town.

What you won't hear from the anti-Wal-Mart groups are stories like this from the
Idaho Falls Post Register, about how Wal-Mart actually provides significant benefits for local businesses:

Liberty Tomato Co.'s distinguishable gold bell label is likely a familiar sight to local Wal-Mart customers purchasing fresh herbs. For almost 10 years, the national chain has sold herbs grown by the Pingree (ID)-based business at Wal-Marts in Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Montana.

Liberty owner Karen Reed said the partnership has been essential to the survival of her company, which opened in 1987. "We wouldn't be in business if we didn't have the partnership with Wal-Mart," she said. They are our biggest customer."

According to Mark Marvin, market manager of the Wal-Mart in Idaho Falls, Wal-Mart has partnered with several Idaho growers and producers over the years. These local suppliers will be highlighted during September at 16 Idaho Wal-Marts, including the Idaho Falls store, to promote the company's commitment to purchase from regional vendors.

Wal-Mart purchased $269 million in products from 316 suppliers located throughout Idaho in 2009, Marvin said.

The family-owned business, which was started by Wada's grandfather Frank in 1943, was among the first Idaho growers to partner with Wal-Mart 16 years ago, he said. Wal-Mart purchases about 12 percent of Wada's fresh potato crop for its regional stores, said Tom Barnes, Wada's Wal-Mart account manager. Specialty products made by Wada are also for sale in all of Wal-Mart's stores.

8 Comments:

At 9/14/2009 5:18 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

How much PR stunt is it over it being a genuine deal? They've done it in Ohio and other places in the US as well as in this example.

Secondly, how many concessions have they made and how open are they to speaking about the relationship? I would think that they've made some concessions that aren't PR friendly and/or are damaging to Walmart.

Thirdly, I hope they have a post-Walmart plan should they no longer be in Bentonville's good graces. Usually that means the end of the company.

 
At 9/14/2009 6:50 PM, Anonymous Six Ounces said...

It's a $269 million genuine deal, sethstorm, or did you skip over that part?

It's a mutually advantageous business relationship which has lasted for 10 years. What part of 'we wouldn't still be in business without Wal-Mart' did you not understand?

Thousands of Wal-Mart stores packed with customers every day, thousands of small suppliers doing business with them, tens of thousands of people lining up to apply for a few hundred open positions. When are you going to pull your head out of your ass and realize these people are NOT being exploited?

 
At 9/14/2009 6:53 PM, Anonymous Bennt The LIbertarian said...

The falling dollar...and another 10 years of growth in China...some innovations in US manufaturing...and then you might see Wal-Mart start to Buy American for real.
I think it will happen. US manufacturing will ultimately stage a revival--I just hope enough manufacturing smarts remain here to do it. The ability to commercially make goods is not something that can be created overnight.

 
At 9/14/2009 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition the view of Wal=Mart depends upon the size of city you live in. Living in a small city you value Wal-Mart because it reduced your cost of living, and the pay for the workers is average for the town. In fact that's where Wal-Mart grew until it had to go to the cities because it had filled all the small town opportunities.
In a small town pre Wal-Mart and pre the web you had to buy from the local merchant who may or may not have given good service but had higher overhead and likely smaller selection.
In fact IMHO much of the bias against Wal-Mart comes from its small town values against the big city values.

 
At 9/14/2009 8:27 PM, Blogger 1 said...

Thanks again sethstorm for letting us know that your grip on reality is as tenuous as ever...

Locally in the St. Louis metro area Walmart uses local pork products (not canned) in at least two of their stores that I know of...

I also know that the area Walmarts buy a good deal of their apples and peaches from nearby Calhoun county over in Illinois...

Yeah sethstorm, its all a PR stunt...

Now this is truly delusional: "Thirdly, I hope they have a post-Walmart plan should they no longer be in Bentonville's good graces. Usually that means the end of the company"...

Gee! No other company ever drops vendors if their product or service no longer fills the bill, right?

BTW sethstorm do you know what happened to McDonnell-Douglas?

I'll give you a hint, it wasn't Walmart...

 
At 9/14/2009 10:29 PM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

Wal-Mart is coyping a trend of buying and promoting local -- that is great. The food department is one thing but the merchandise departments are strickly non-local. The Chinese government along with local party functionaries have joint ventures with Wal-Martm suppliers. This makes for a weird cabal of Wal-Mart, Chinese government entities, Wal-Mart suppliers and the praisers of the wonders of Wal-Mart.

 
At 9/15/2009 2:22 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

1 said...
The difference between Wal-Mart and other suppliers is that they usually lead businesses to the slaughterhouse when they're done with them.



In addition the view of Wal=Mart depends upon the size of city you live in. Living in a small city you value Wal-Mart because it reduced your cost of living, and the pay for the workers is average for the town. In fact that's where Wal-Mart grew until it had to go to the cities because it had filled all the small town opportunities.
In a small town pre Wal-Mart and pre the web you had to buy from the local merchant who may or may not have given good service but had higher overhead and likely smaller selection.
In fact IMHO much of the bias against Wal-Mart comes from its small town values against the big city values.

One problem with that - you say nothing about when they chose the path of Benedict Arnold. That had to upset plenty on both ends of the rural/urban continuum. What good is it if you end up repurchasing goods that "break too soon"?

 
At 9/20/2009 10:04 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Bennt The LIbertarian said...

The falling dollar...and another 10 years of growth in China...some innovations in US manufaturing...and then you might see Wal-Mart start to Buy American for real.


If American companies were productive enough, and some are, Wal-Mart would have no trouble dealing with them. But given the huge regulatory burdens for most small businesses, it is difficult for many American companies to produce goods at prices that Wal-Mart's customers need.

I think it will happen. US manufacturing will ultimately stage a revival--I just hope enough manufacturing smarts remain here to do it. The ability to commercially make goods is not something that can be created overnight.

Aren't you confused about the state of manufacturing in the US. From the data that I have seen American industry produces high value goods near record rates with fewer workers than ever before. That makes American companies very competitive in certain sectors. The problem is that most people only see the low margin consumer goods such as textiles and toys where high American wages force production out of the country.

Frankly, it is hard to argue that what the US needs are lower wages and a much weaker currency so that it can make more low value added goods. All that would do is cause the American standard of living and real wages to decline. That would certainly make many of the very affordable goods are priced out of reach for the poor and middle classes so I cannot see how they can be said to benefit from such a disaster.

There is nothing wrong with America that a less intrusive government and a better educational system could not cure. Sadly, few voters want either.

 

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