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Walmart in New York City: Company Says Poll Proves Small Businesses Want It There

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According to Walmart, 62% of small-business owners want Walmart to open in NYC. But a survey by Gotham Government Relations tells a very different story.

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Editor's Note: This content was originally published on Benzinga.com by Roger Nachman.

Walmart (WMT) really wants to enter New York City, despite strong opposition from small businesses, and it isn't backing down.

Seventy-three percent of 300 small business surveyed by Gotham Government Relations said they do not want the super store to enter New York City, which puts it in contrast with what the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company has said in a survey.

According to Walmart, 62% of small-business owners want Walmart in New York.

"We (Gotham) decided to do this poll because the results of the Walmart one struck us as absolutely impossible," said Brad Gerstman, a lawyer for Gotham who represents Gristedes supermarkets.

Gotham said less than a third, 32%, of business owners that were surveyed don't have a problem with Walmart entering the city. Eleven percent did not know enough or care about the issue.

"The results likely would have revealed far more against, if the respondents were aware that many local retailers would have been put out of business with the emergence of Walmart, as has been demonstrated in other cities," said David Schwartz, another lawyer with Gotham.

Gristedes Foods owner John Catsimatidis published an op-ed in the New York Daily News last week to protest Walmart. "Wherever the retail giant has located, smaller competitors -- the ones that have always helped shape the character of our cities -- struggle to stay in business," he said.

Despite concerns, Walmart is mounting an opposition to move into the city, and this time, it's leaving politicians out and going directly to consumers.

Going around handing out mailers has been one approach. The flier said, "You don't ask the special interests or the political insiders for permission to use the bathroom, so why should they decide where you're allowed to shop?"

"The key message here is that New Yorkers should decide where they shop and work," said Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo. "Some of the louder voices in the debate don't represent the interests of New Yorkers."

What do you think? Should Walmart should be allowed to enter New York? Do you have a Walmart by you? If so, how has it affected the surrounding community?


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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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