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.