Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Terminal Market, Wal-Mart and Richard Lipsky

In today's Observer, Matthew Schuerman does an excellent job profiling Neighborhood Retail Alliance director Richard Lipsky, focusing in on our recent Bronx Terminal Market and big box campaigns:

The moose that Mr. Lipsky is currently hunting is a million-square-foot shopping mall in the South Bronx that will occupy a rump cut of land along the Harlem River where the Bronx Terminal Market now stands. Instead of the stalls that once sold goat meat, African produce and Hispanic dry goods, there will soon rise a Circuit City. Or a Bed Bath & Beyond. Or a Target.

Or a Wal-Mart.
In addition to describing Mr. Lipsky’s background, past battles and penchant for framing issues to the press, Schuerman explores how this BTM issue is both one of protecting small businesses and defeating non-union, predatory Wal-Marts and BJ’s. Specifically, the author mentions a survey commissioned by Related’s (and Wal-Mart’s) PR flaks, the Marino Organization:

To Related and its public-relations team at the Marino Organization, talking about name brands is off-message. Its representatives say that big-box stores A, B and C are exactly what consumers want, and they are currently taking their money outside the borough in order to shop there. The Observer was given a telephone survey of 400 Bronx voters that Related commissioned showing that 61 percent support the shopping mall. But the poll also undermines Related’s case: Only 7 percent said they leave the Bronx to do shopping at “discount/warehouse” stores. A total of 51 percent go to “discount department stores,” although it was unclear whether the respondents meant Filene’s Basement or Wal-Mart. Anyway, Wal-Mart is supposed to be out of the picture, right?
(We hope to get a copy of this survey and once we do we’ll post it).

As the article points out the whole Terminal Market/Wal-Mart fracas will continue to heat up, especially in light of the upcoming Speaker’s race. Definitely stay tuned and definitely read the entire piece.