Monday, January 30, 2006

Whither BJ's?

It appears that the Council is about to negotiate a deal with Related where the favored nation developer would agree that any retailer it signs a lease with must already be located in the city and in turn must also agree to accept food stamps and WIC. The question concerning membership fees is still up in the air.

If this is true than it would mean two things: Wal-Mart is still an anathema in the city of New York; and the UFCW and the Alliance will have forced a $20 billion corporation to change a significant aspect of its business model in order to be acceptable in NYC.

Some council members, however, are not fully satisfied. Today at 11:00AM Councilman Monseratte and Jackson, co-chairs of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, will hold a press conference that demands that BJ's must adopt this policy in every single one of its NYC stores. If it's unacceptable to not accept food stamps in the South Bronx than it should be equally unacceptable in East New York and Astoria. In addition, anyone on public assistance should have their membership fee waived.

If BJ's does swallow this poison pill what does it all mean? Well, first of all it means that every Bronx elected official who swore up and down that the Gateway Mall had no BJ's must be administered truth serum every time they speak from now on.

The most disappointing elected here is BP Carrion who is looking to build his city wide reputation on non-union retailers and on the carcasses of the BTM merchants. Carrion assured us that there would be no BJ's in the BTM deal and, by doing so, raised disingenuous to a new art form in a business that is characterized by it.