Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Crain's Casts Doubt on S.I. Wal-Mart

In the continuing reaction to the successful community forum in Tottenville last week, Crain's New York Business is reporting about Wal-Mart's "receding" ($) hopes for its Richmond Valley location. This definitely makes us feel good but we've learned over the years to listen more closely to the Yogi Berra observation ("It's never over till it's over") than to newspaper accounts of events, no matter how encouraging they might be.

Our experience has been that well-heeled retailers and developers are not easily discouraged and are at their most dangerous right at the moment you think that they're on the run. These situations are fluid and the one in Staten Island is no exception.

Our sources are telling us that while Councilman Lanza may be opposed to the current prospective location he would not be loath to come up with what he would feel to be a better site in his district for a store that he has praised. Vigilance and community-Alliance cooperation is the key thing to maintain at this juncture.

One aspect of the Crain's story that deserves mention is the survey that demonstrated what we had alleged all along: "...Wal-Mart was not residents' main reason for going to New Jersey to shop. Rather they went to patronize higher-end stores, buy cheaper gas and save on the sales tax." The so-called sales slippage argument is definitely more slippery than big box opponents make it out to be.