WE DIDN’T think there was anything more the District could do to further its image as a place hostile to business. A D.C. Council committee proved us wrong by taking a bad piece of legislation targeting large retailers and making it worse. If this bill becomes law, it would give pause not just to those who would be directly affected but also to those contemplating or doing business in the District; the next harebrained idea of lawmakers catering to special interests might very well target them.read more
In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, Washington’s elected officials, business community and, most importantly, our fellow residents must understand that the District’s challenge to lower unemployment and attract quality retail is not taking place in a bubble.
Each and every day, D.C. is competing with the neighboring counties in Virginia and Maryland for the attention of major retailers in search of homes for new stores. Given the ease with which D.C. residents can travel to these neighboring counties to meet their shopping needs, the location by these retailers of a store in one of these neighboring counties is a viable alternative to locating a store within the city itself.
Having worked in the city’s development industry for nearly 40 years, I personally know the road that D.C. has traveled to finally become a place that successfully contends for top retailers. Now, as retailers that residents have long wanted in our city (like Costco and Wal-Mart) have committed to building here, the D.C. Council’s proposed Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA) threatens to derail the progress we have made.
On Tuesday, Walmart’s Director of Community Affairs, Nina Albert, was joined by the children and dedicated staff of Ward 4’s Emery Recreation Center, where a donation was made in support of the highly-regarded work the facility does in the community. Boys just finishing basketball practice and girls taking a break from gymnastics filled one of the center’s rooms to cheer as a $6,000 check was presented to the Friends of Emery.
“We are excited to present this check to the Friends of Emery for the great work they do every day,” said Nina Albert as she handed the check to Emery athletics coach Lou Turner.
After receiving the contribution, Coach Turner led the kids in a loud cheer of “1, 2, 3…Thank you Walmart!”
After the presentation ended, the children quickly shifted their attention to more important business – the boxes of hot pizza lined up on the tables behind them. Each of the local youth enjoyed their pizza and had an opportunity to meet Walmart and community leadership in attendance.
With construction well underway on the first of Walmart’s planned District stores, it’s an odd time for the D.C. Council to consider legislation that would change key ground rules for operating in the city.
Yet a D.C. Council bill introduced by Chairman Phil Mendelson would do just that — and set an unwelcome, and unwelcoming, tone toward all businesses. The Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs held a March 20 hearing on the measure.
The Large Retailer Accountability Act would establish a higher minimum wage at some large stores — essentially requiring operations like Walmart, Costco, Lord & Taylor and Home Depot to pay employees at least $11.75 per hour, rather than the D.C. minimum wage of $8.25. The bill would apply to stores of 75,000 square feet or more owned by a company with gross revenues in excess of $1 billion. It would not cover businesses with collective bargaining agreements.
Get your applications in.
Today is the deadline for small retailers, local shop owners and other entrepreneurs to apply for space alongside the world’s largest retailer in what could be its first D.C. store.
Wal-Mart is building a 106,000-square-foot store on Georgia Avenue Northwest and although the chain has long been accused of putting smaller shops out of business it is offering space near its Georgia Avenue store to local merchants interested in leasing about 1,800 square feet. A second space is about 880 square feet and could be combined with the first.
Wal-Mart is building a 106,000-square-foot store on Georgia Avenue Northwest and although the chain has long been accused of putting smaller shops out of business it is offering space near its Georgia Avenue store to local merchants interested in leasing about 1,800 square feet. A second space is about 880 square feet and could be combined with the first. Why is Wal-Mart leasing part of its space to someone else? Spokesman Steve Restivo said in an e-mail that including a local business in the company’s plans was not required by the wide-ranging community benefits agreement to which the chain and Mayor Vincent C. Gray agreed more than a year ago.
Spring is here, and while that means more beautiful weather and blooms around the Washington area, it also means fewer donations for our area’s hungry.
While the need is year-round, unfortunately the donations are not. Unlike the cherry blossoms, charitable donations bloom best in December. That’s why we rely on innovative fundraising campaigns and partnerships with generous foundations and corporate neighbors more than ever during the spring months.
One of our campaigns this spring is the 17th annual Dining Out for Life®, which took place on April 25.
Dining Out for Life® asks people to simply go out to lunch and/or dinner at more than 100 local restaurants which have committed to donate 25 percent to 110 percent of their proceeds to Food & Friends. With just a meal out, people across the D.C. region will ensure that thousands of children and adults facing HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses receive the daily nutritious meals so vital to their care.
Today, 25 seniors from the Golden Rule senior home in Ward 6 toured the Alexandria Walmart with Douglas Bemis, Walmart’s Personnel Manager. As the seniors came off the bus, Walmart staff greeted them and handed them reusable shopping bags to use during their visit and on future shopping trips. The seniors were interested to learn about the Walmart store’s layout and design, which included a grocery, deli, and electronics section and much more. The group was especially eager to hear about the store’s skylights, which naturally illuminate the space with daylight and reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by up to 75 percent daily.
Following the tour, the seniors dispersed through the store to fill up their reusable bags with everything from detergent to fresh groceries to t-shirts to bring back to the Golden Rule senior home. After an hour of shopping, the seniors all headed back to the buses to enjoy a lunch catered by Walmart.
Happy Earth Day! At Walmart, we are making a difference in greening business operations and building practices nationally. We celebrate the Earth year-round in our stores worldwide by working towards three very important sustainability goals:
- Be supplied 100% by renewable energy
- Create zero waste
- Sell products that sustain people and the environment
In DC, our new stores will have some of the most energy- and water-efficient technologies available. Once our doors open, Walmart’s waste management practices divert over 85% of waste from landfills and our transportation fleet is 69% more efficient than our 2005 baseline. Specifically, our stores will have:
- LED lighting throughout our parking garages/lots and exterior lighting
- The stores with skylights harvest natural daylight and have proven to reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by 75% daily;
- Concrete floors made with recycled materials and finished to reduce the need for chemical cleaners;
- Low-flow toilets and faucets to reduce the water used in the bathrooms; and,
- Heat recapture from refrigeration units heats 70% of the buildings’ hot water needs.
Last week, we announced that by 2020 Walmart will either generate or purchase seven billion kWh of renewable energy each year, a 600% increase on 2010 levels. We also announced that there will be solar arrays on more than 1,000 of our rooftops. Our stores are leaders in testing and scaling renewable energy projects, beyond solar, there is also micro-wind on our parking lots, biodiesel generators and fuel cells. These locally generated power sources have the potential to meet up to 60% of a store’s energy needs.
For more information, visit http://corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/environment-sustainability.
On Friday, April 5, 2013, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation joined DC-based nonprofit DC Central Kitchen in celebrating the graduation of the latest class of the organization’s Culinary Job Training program. The program provided graduates with job readiness training and placement while providing healthy meals that are distributed every day throughout the community to needy individuals.
“Walmart has a longstanding commitment to supporting DC area nonprofits, particularly those focused on issues of hunger and workforce development, said Walmart Regional General Manager, and Sr. Director Alex Barron, who provided congratulatory remarks to this year’s graduates. “The work that DC Central is doing throughout the DC community is not only providing essential skills to residents, but more importantly empowering people in this community who once lived completely without hope.”
Class 91 of the renowned program, sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, prepared unemployed, previously incarcerated persons and homeless adults for careers in the foodservice industry and included “hands-on” training instructed by the American Culinary Federation culinary coordinators. The rigorous 14-week course not only equips trainees with valuable workforce skills but strives to instill a sense of pride that many participants have longed for. Walmart’s sponsorship of Class 91 was from a State Giving Program grant of $100,000 from the Walmart Foundation.
About DC Central Kitchen
Founded in 1989, DC Central Kitchen has prepared 25 million meals for our low-income and at-risk neighbors in Washington, DC. Through job training, healthy food distribution, and local farm partnerships, DC Central Kitchen offers path-breaking solutions to poverty, hunger, and poor health. http://www.dccentralkitchen.org
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief and Nutrition, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women’s Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than one billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.