To Cheers And Jeers, Walmart Opens First Two D.C. Stores | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

To Cheers And Jeers, Walmart Opens First Two D.C. Stores

Play associated audio
One of the new Walmart stores at H Street and First Street NW.
DDOT
One of the new Walmart stores at H Street and First Street NW.

After years of waiting and political discord over wages, two of the six Walmart stores planned for D.C. opened their doors to local shoppers this morning.

Yesterday evening Mayor Vincent Gray toured the 74,000-square-foot Walmart store at H Street and New Jersey Avenue NW, and this morning he joined other local dignitaries to cut the ribbon on the larger 103,000-square-foot store located at Georgia Avenue and Missouri Avenue NW.

Several hundred Brightwood residents such as Vanselle Mitchell came looking for bargains, and said they welcomed the big box store because they no longer had to go dozens of miles to get what they needed.

"It means a lot to me and I'm sure it means a lot to many of the neighbors, because we have our own Walmart," Mitchell said.

The openings will come after years after the retailer first expressed interest in D.C. In the mid-2000s, Walmart explored the option of expanding into the city, but faced a skeptical reception from legislators who tried to cap the size of big-box stores.

They also come after the Arkansas-based retailer threatened to cut three of the planned stores if a bill mandating a $12.50 minimum wage for employees became law. Gray vetoed the bill, and the D.C. Council was unable to override it.

While elected officials are cheering the retailer's arrival, labor activists protested outside the Georgia Avenue store this morning to express their concerns over wages and the possibility that local businesses will not be able to compete with Walmart.

"When you apply for Walmart, they give you an application for food stamps and Medicaid because they know that with their low wages you will be entitled to the city's subsidy," said Debbie Hanrahan, a protest organizer.

Each of the two stores will employ 300 people, and Walmart officials say that close to 70 percent of those are D.C. residents.

The stores opened at 8:00 a.m., and will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.

NPR

Join The 'Morning Edition' Book Club As We Read 'A God In Ruins'

Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, who selected the book, tells NPR's David Greene that Kate Atkinson is "one of those writers that really can make you weep on one page and laugh on the next."
NPR

'Bourbon Empire' Reveals The Smoke And Mirrors Of American Whiskey

A new book suggests that tall tales on craft bourbon labels are the rule rather than the exception. They're just one example of a slew of "carefully cultivated myths" created by the bourbon industry.
NPR

Carson Touts Candor As A Plus For His GOP Presidential Bid

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is a darling of conservatives. It started when he criticized President Obama's health care law and other policies at a Prayer Breakfast with the president just a few feet away.
NPR

As Emoji Spread Beyond Texts, Many Remain [Confounded Face] [Interrobang]

There's a growing tendency to bring the tiny hieroglyphs off of phones, but not everyone is fluent. New takes on emoji integration suggest misunderstanding may be remedied with universal translation.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.