As anti-Wal-Mart protest gears up Wednesday, developer says no such plans exist

A protest against Wal-Mart is planned at 23rd and Jackson Wednesday. People will be handing out leaflets about the negative affects a Wal-Mart “could have on local and sustainable food systems,” according to the press release. The action is part of national Food Day.

The effort is led by Making Change at Wal-Mart, an affiliated group of the UFCW21 labor union, which represents grocery and retail workers among others. The union represents the workers at Red Apple and has been mobilizing ever since rumors of Wal-Mart started during the summer.

The owners of the Promenade 23 shopping center, the Houston-based Weingarten Realty, has never mentioned Wal-Mart as a planned tenant. They wrote CDNews again Wednesday morning to reiterate that they have no plans for a Wal-Mart at 23rd and Jackson:

Over the past several months, speculations have been made regarding plans for Promenade 23, located at 23rd Avenue S at S Jackson Street.  We are  evaluating all options and have not made any firm plans for Promenade 23.  Weingarten takes time to evaluate all options to do what is best for the community, tenants and its shareholders.  Once firm plans are made, we will make an announcement.  We do not have current or future plans to develop a Wal-mart at this location.

Here’s the press release about Wednesday’s protest:

To mark Food Day (October 24th)—a nationwide celebration and movement toward more healthy, affordable and sustainable food– concerned residents will leaflet at Promenade 23, the shopping center at 23rd and Jackson in Seattle’s Central District. The action aims to raise awareness about a possible new Wal-Mart store being proposed for that location and the impacts it could have on local and sustainable food systems. Leafletters will carry out their action from 10am until 1pm.

The organizers of the action are members of the Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ), a Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to strengthening local economies. CAGJ recently joined the Puget Sound Making Change at Wal-Mart Coalition because of their concern for how it will impact the food system.

“Wal-Mart drives consolidation in all industries, and the food system is no exception.” Says CAGJ Executive Director, Heather Day. “It is imperative that we find solutions to ensure everyone have access to healthy food. Wal-Mart is not the solution. Wal-Mart may claim they can solve food deserts in US inner cities, but we know better. Through its huge market power and drive for profits, Wal-Mart squeezes suppliers, negatively effecting every link in the food chain–farmers get unfair prices, farmworkers and Wal-Mart associates get unfair pay, and eaters get lower quality food.”

Concern about Wal-Mart’s entry into the Central District is sprung from Walmart’s new neighborhood market-style stores which many believe aggressively work to gain access to urban markets and undermine local businesses. “We know that Wal-Mart has targeted Seattle for its urban expansion, despite the fact that there are many grocery retailers already operating in this area, many of whom have higher wage and benefit standards than Wal-Mart.  Promenade 23 is one site that we are particularly concerned about, since it already has a union-represented, locally owned Red Apple store,” explained Elena Perez, coordinator of the Making Change at Walmart, Puget Sound coalition.

42 thoughts on “As anti-Wal-Mart protest gears up Wednesday, developer says no such plans exist

  1. I understand the concern over their pay of employees but does the negative outweigh the positive? I’m not into Walmart and doubt it would actually go down but the OWNERS of the Promenade should be able to do whatever they want with their land and if that means leasing to Walmart then so be it. In an area that could benefit greatly from cheaper products and more jobs…even if the job pays a little less comparatively, I don’t see the problem. Furthermore, I agree with the statement made (by Wiengarten) above in PDONAHUE’s comment “this neighborhood doesn’t have the demographic for a Metropolitan Market or a Whole Foods.” Those companies and similar have just as much opportunity as the next to lease at 23rd & Jackson. If the demographic doesn’t support their product then it would be a poor investment for MM or WF.

  2. So the Red Apple is a local and sustainable food system. Cut me a break. As for Met Market they supposedly had wanted to locate at the Grocery Outlet site before GO occupied it.

  3. So lets protest an unfounded fear and drive away all interest in good quality retail, keep the Red Apple ghetto food store (yes I have been in lately and it is a very poor store with high prices) and continue to be a social service dumping ground with sub quailty stores. Keep it up and the Fred Meyer that should be built there or a Met Market will shun locating there, not wanting to be drug through protest hell. Reminds me of the decent stores we could have had on the Goodwill site but that was destroyed by the same forces. Welcome to the crime and social service containment zone!

  4. This is in reply to “Eyes”, who describes Red Apple as ‘ghetto’. How shameful of you! The Red Apple has incredible, friendly service, incredible sales, excellent products AND provides union wages to people who actually live in our neighborhood.

  5. I feel no shame at calling out the truth about a store that a manager told me is a “food stamp store”. This is a store that charges alot for poor quailty because it has a captured audience of porr people who shop there. The demographics have changed, it is and has been shameful for them to continue this type of retail in the neighborhood. I have been in there, I do not want to shop there. Poor quality, selection (yes even the beer selection) and over priced. Sorry, no guilt trip will be heaped on me. It is a ghetto store!

  6. Hmm… wondering what it is you are looking for? (and i see no mention in your reply that there are neighbors working there that have really good jobs). When I walk over to the Red Apple to buy my organic yogurt, organic arugula, organic chicken and oh, filo dough, I’m feeling pretty damn happy.

  7. The entirety of Promenade AND Red Apple is too small for a Wal-Mart. Why don’t we focus on something real, for a change?

  8. Walmart has been pursuing central city sites with its Market Fresh brand. Market fresh occupies much smaller sites equivalent to QFC. I think this strategy is what people are concerned with. These smaller “stealth Walmarts” operating under a different flag would have the same deleterious effects as their larger Walmart branded counterparts.

  9. What I see are white folks pushing their upper-middle class
    agenda when the demographics and income levels show that a Walmart
    will be able to provide goods and services at a fair price.
    You know, for low income folks. Sorry, I guarantee that they
    do not have the same perspective about free range eggs and
    organic arugula.

    Check out the two new Walmart stores in Bellevue. So, what is the
    problem? Food ecosystem/food desert? Non-union wages?
    Destroyer of small businesses? (better not shop on-line or Amazon
    Prime, which is crushing small retail). Lots and lots of poor
    and ignorant lower income folks who don’t know any better?
    Agendas, agendas, everywhere and not anyone to think.

  10. The points are valid. But saying a phrase like “white folks are pushing their middle class agenda” is not racist. It’s an observation. A subjective observation. Where is the race/power imbalance created by that statement? How are white people harmed by that statement? How does that make one race inferior and the other superior? Is it simply racist because the term white is used? I am much more concerned with the subject title of this post,”you speak for the po’ folks”. Is the author making fun of these “white folks” by inferring they would say something like “po’ folks” or is the author inadvertently making fun of poor people by calling them po’ folks. Either way, nobody is speaking for po’ folks here. That is a given.

  11. Wow I did not know that black people did not like good quality food like white people do?!!? Wow I did not know that poor people did not like the good quality food like middle class people do. Maybe there should be a white middle class only section with organic food and free range eggs with a non white poor section with wilting vegtables, little or no seafood, battery chickens all over priced. “Cute”, take your ignorant phony racist troll crap and go, time for adults to have a serious conversation without your racist sterotypeing trying to bait this blog.

  12. October 25, 2012

    Owner ‘evaluating options’ for space in Promenade 23
    Journal Staff Reporter
    Walmart is said to be looking for new store locations in the Seattle area, and some local activists have speculated that Weingarten Realty’s Promenade 23 shopping center in the Central Area is one of the spots.

    A Seattle group called Community Alliance for Global Justice said it organized residents of the area to hand out leaflets at the shopping center yesterday to alert people about the possibility that a Walmart could locate there.

    “Promenade 23 is one site that we are particularly concerned about since it already has a union-represented, locally owned Red Apple store,” said Elena Perez, a local coordinator for Making Change at Walmart, another group associated with the leafleting.

    Heather Day, executive director of the Community Alliance for Global Justice, said they were not acting on specific knowledge about Walmart’s interest in the site.

    Promenade 23, at 23rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street, is anchored by Red Apple and Walgreens, but it has been hurt by the recession. About a third of the shopping center’s retail spaces are available for lease, according Weingarten’s website.

    A spokeswoman for Walmart told the DJC last month that it had no new projects to announce in the Puget Sound area.

    Carrie Murray, a spokeswoman for Weingarten, issued a statement yesterday that the company was “evaluating all options and (we) have not made any firm plans for Promenade 23.”

    She told the DJC that the company is deciding between redevelopment and leaving the shopping center as-is.

    “Walmart is not part of either of those plans,” Murray said.

  13. AP, when someone refers to me as ‘white folk’ or as a race as ‘white folk’ it is racism, possibly even reverse racism, I don’t tend to start my posts with ‘white folks, black folks, chinese folks’, think what you want, but this was made about race, cute is therefor racist.

  14. I don’t think so. When I started my store in August, I had one choice: month to month rent only – no lease due to plans for redevelopment. But that suited my plans to test a new store concept: I assume a more established business would not take the risk thus increasing the vacancy rate.

  15. All the Bull about WalMart is just that. WalMart is a well organized and responsible company that provides products and services that people want. People of all economic status shop at WalMart.

    I was in the Anchorage WalMart yesterday. I picked up a 5 pack of boxer briefs, some foot spray, tooth brush and tooth paste, and a nice kacky shirt for $32. All that for $32.

    The anti WalMart sentimate is generated by the same misfits that try to run the police out of town. I know – they have captured the support of some of you good guys with a left lean – like Eyes -, but, Rethink your position. WalMart is a great store. They are also a great customer of mine. People like to work there. I plan to work there after I retire.

    Blacks, Whites, etc., Rich, Poor, all like to buy basic like toasters, diapers, tube socks, tricycles, and aspirin at the WalMart.

    Would love to see them here and employing the good folks here that need a pay check.

  16. Eyes – it’s very clear what you really don’t like about the Red Apple is that people of color shop there. You aren’t fooling anyone. Describing it as “ghetto” is just racist code for don’t like black folks. I doubt you have the courage to say such things in the presence of a person of color.

    and Grumbo there are undoubedtly people like yourself who like Walmart thats fine. HOWEVER Walmarts anti-labor practices are well documented and legendary. Big stores like Wakmart also drive out snaller local business who cannot compete.The production of cheaply made goods in china also cost jobs to workers in this country andso the low prices come at a very high price. Walmart doesn’t pay a living wage and offers no benefits to their employees. Do your research before commenting. It seems that virtually every comment you make on this forum is against anything that would be good for the community.

  17. I’m a pretty left leaner and we actually agree about more than you might think…. but definitely not on Walmart…. When Sam Wal was alive it was a good place. You could buy cheap stuff made in the US and they were proud of that. After Sam died his crazy relatives took over and turned it into a brainwashing, anti-union, child labor supporting, job destroying, small business smashing, everything at lowest price from China juggernaut. I understand everyone can’t afford to spend more by buying expensive local craft made, organic everything, but nor do I think Walmart helps in the long run. I will agree that this area lacks a “variety” store. After the Fred Meyer on Broadway closed and until the downtown Target opened, if you needed or wanted a store like that you’d have to range as far as Lake City or Tukwila to find it.

  18. My issues with Wal-Mart have been their seemingly discriminatory promotion practices and lower pay for same work in regards to women. Also, their practices of relunctantly listing employees as full time, to avoid having to provide health insurance. An issue Gregoire raised a few years ago, in regards to how much Wal-Mart was costing state taxpayers, who ultimately end up footing the bill for health care… Am I remembering correctly? Have these issues been addressed, Grumbo? I’m curious (as always) to hear your view.

    And like CD Neighbor, I had stopped shopping there years ago because of the same issues he/she raises. And the shopping experience was terrible… Although I did have to stop in one not too long ago in Utah, only place available, and it was one of the newer, lower energy facilities. I must say the use of skylights to ultilize natural lighting made the experience remarkably better.

  19. Miguel. I have done my research. I just don’t agree with your impoverishment mind set.

    The advance of Walmart hasn’t taken anything from anyone. Proximity to a WalMart increases traffic to virtually all businesses.

    Employment at WalMart is entirely at will. Some people can go work at Cosco or Home Depot or King County or SPS. What ever – it is up to the individual what they want to shoot for. I know alot of people that enjoy working at WalMart.

    You just keep repeating internet socialist hype about WalMart with no regard for the needs of the actual employees, customers, and communities positively impacted by WalMart.

    What I am against is silly notions that constantly limiting choice and providing more government services would help. You are trying to create a socialist slave state where choice is limited to what a few idiots think is prudishly appropriate for poor people, especially colored poor people. Let people decide for them selves where to work and where to shop. Get off of your oh so enlightenned “people like you” statements if you want anyone to think you are not a socialist nationalist racist yourself. People like you – indeed.

    Ghetto is not a racist code. Ghetto stems from Italian Jewish neighborhoods. Certainly was racism there. However the term now refers to the impoverished state of a community or segment of the population. It is not a smear on blacks. The term is frequently used to describe low society activities for people of all races. I would consider Miller Beer a ghetto beer drunk by low bred whites. It has nothing to do with the black people drinking Genesee…
    read more
    er. I’ve never even tried that. Stop reading race into every darn thing. Race and racism exist, but, we don’t have to make everything in to a…
    read more
    ce issue.

  20. Discriminatation is found in many places and is practiced by virtually everyone. WalMart is no exception. They are subject to the same laws and social pressures as the rest of us. I have no problems with pressuring WalMart to improve it’s treatment of people and it’s record on equity. Same as any institution or community.

    What I am opposed to is the people who take a valid argument and construe all kinds of other misinformation and social propaganda along with it like Miguel does.

    Miguel – tell us what mom and pop locations in the CD would be out of business if WalMart comes in? Perhaps Parnells? Nope, drug addicts will still prefer their gangster marts over the WalMart.

  21. 20two : Lucky you that you can afford ridiculously overpriced food. Most poor folks can’t afford organic jack. I know I can’t. As for the rest of the products in the store, I have to agree, the prices are ridiculous because there is a captive market of folks who can’t travel elsewhere to shop at better prices.

  22. Grumbo here are some FACTS about Walmart. Undoubtedly there will be some people who will like working for a company. With a turnover rate of 40% a year I’d say a significant portion DON”T like working for Walmart and who can blame them. a 40% annual turnover rate in business terms means you aren’t managing your human resources (employees) correctly.

    I find it funny when a white guy lecture people of color abut what is racist and what is not. I’m very much aware of the origins of the word ghetto and I’m also aware of what it has come to mean and I’m telling YOU that for people of color is is widely recognized that when White people use the term “ghetto” in the way and context that “eyes” did it is code for don’t like black folks don’t like brown folks! I find it offensive and am not afraid to do so here or to his or your face. White people think they can go around saying whatever the hell they want and we are not going to call them on it. Those days are over get used to it.

    Always Low Wages. Always.
    The average full-time Wal-Mart employee is paid only about $17,000 a year. The company’s health care plan covers fewer than half of its workers….more than 40 percent of the company’s workers leave every year….many Wal-Mart employees already rely on Medicaid to pay for health care, especially for their children.

    Walmart workers sue for unpaid wages
    Walmart and the agencies also “required laborers to appear early for work, stay late to complete work, work through lunches or breaks and/or participate in training without compensation, resulting in minimum wage and overtime violations. Walmart also failed to keep accurate records of its laborers’ work time as required by federal and state law,” the suit adds.

    Health insurance
    As of October 2005, Walmart’s health insurance covered 44% or approximately 572,000 of its 1.6 million U.S. workers.[68] In comparison, Walmart rival and wholesaler Costco insures approximately 96% of its eligible workers, although Costco has been criticized by investors for its high labor costs.[citation needed] Walmart spends an average of $3,500 per employee for health care, 27% less than the retail-industry average of $4,800.[69] When asked why so many Walmart workers choose to enroll in state health care plans instead of Walmart’s own plan, Walmart CEO Lee Scott acknowledged that some states’ benefits may be more generous than Walmart’s own plan: “In some of our states, the public program may actually be a better value – with relatively high income limits to qualify, and low premiums.”[70] Critics of Walmart argue in Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price that employees are paid so little they cannot afford health insurance.

  23. Yes, Miguel, thank you for the posting the links and information! That part was well said. I would say, however, that it is easy to overlook that data when you start off condemning racism, and then start and end your paragraph with sweeping racist comments.

    I’m half Mexican, and half white. The white part of me has never, ever felt that I can “say whatever I want to”. Because I was raised and educated correctly, without prejudice. And shall we remember that racism is about discrimination based on skin color, which can be brown people being discrimatory towards white people, etc.

    The word ghetto was started in Italy, to refer to the area of town where Jewish and agriculture workers lived. Although it has become popular slang, you are correct, it meaning is negative, and we would all be better to remember that. Thank you for pointing that out, I probably have used the term too loosely in the past, and that is not a good example to set for my child. And it makes one look ignorant. Ignorant like Wal-Mart. Thanks again for that part of your post.

  24. “The days of white people being able to say what ever they want are over. Get used to it.”

    Wow Miguel! You are so completely out of touch with reality and common sense I’m not sure anybody can help you.

    1) Ever heard of free speach?
    2) You say I was lecturing people of color? I was speaking partly on the subject of race as a part of a discussion that you started. Your overly sensitive position on race and your opposition to hearing a white person’s opinion is entirely a reflection of your own intolerant racist views. Ghetto is a negative term used broadly and rarely has a racist intonation. Racists can be much more specific than such a general term. They don’t use code. Take a look at your own statements if you need to know how racists communicate.

  25. WalMart does not have a 40% turn over. That is flat out a distortion of I don’t know what you started with.

    I have worked with WalMarts all over the country for many years and I see the same commited happy associates and managers month after month, year after year.

    I’ve seen the documentaries on WalMart. They are clearly biased and take an extremist agenda overlayed on distorted half truths. If you want me to respect your opinions – stick to the truth. WalMart has problems like any person, company, or corporate giant. They are not the devil.

  26. Actually, I looked it up and walmart does have around 40% employee turn over. However, that is the industry average (except for Costco) they also count the seasonal hires in that.

    We are talking about a grocery store here, not a full size walmart. I would welcome any replacement for the existing red apple, union approved or not Miguel.

  27. Grumbo another tactic of some white people is to minimize a person of color and the validity of what they say by accusing them of being “too sensitive” or angry. I believe and support free speech I’m allowed to call out what I believe is racist speech. If ghetto rarely has any racial intonation then go up to a person of color and see how comfortable you are talking about how ghetto the red apple is and see what the reaction is. Racist society uses coded language all the time to speak about and around issues of race. If you don’t know this then I submit that it is you who are out of touch. You aren’t living in reality at all.

    Just to be clear I didn’t say you or anyone else was a racist what I did say is that what they said was racist. Another clarification is that I don’t dislike white people. There are white people in my family.

    as far as Walmart goes I stand by my facts. They do have a 40% turnover rate. look it up for yourself. I challenge you to take an honest look at the allegations against their business practices. I didn’t say they are the devil. I did say they are a bad company to work for and to have the community.


    Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics.

    a newer perspective of racism by some people of color is that racism is tied to issues of power and skin color. A person who has power, authority or social privilege uses their advantage to harm or oppress. While a person of color can certainly be bigoted they cannot be racist because in this society people of color don’t usually his situation.

    You have all sorts of people making threats against him and saying all manner of racist shit about him in public based upon his skin color. He is a black man with tons of power and privilege and even those do not inoculate him but he handles it well.

  28. Tims I too would like to see something else replace the red apple but I wouldn’t welcome just anything. If we have a chance to do something different and better I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to make our voices heard and ask for what we want.

    Walmart is simply reaping what they have sown. People aren’t fabricating any of it. They’ve pissed off and hurt a lot of folks because of their business practices which as you pointed out are the norm in their industry. How sad is that? We shouldn’t have to settle for that or just anything. People in the community have a right to say what is built matches their values.

  29. It is common for black people to get agitated, irate, and confrontational in an attempt to gain control, and they frequently resort to violence.

    Compare this openning line to the lines you keep using Miguel. Pretty much the same. Only I am just using my line to point out how racist you are. You even try to define that your kind of bigotry is not racism because you are not white (in power). I however am the super privilaged ruling class of the universe – there for I am racist no matter what I say. Man, I wish you were right Miguel.

    And you say now that all stores, except Cosco, have a 40% turn over. I still believe that to be a misconstrual of reality. But, clearly it argues that WalMart is the same as all other stores. You continualy use distorted information and smear tactics to support your low agenda.

  30. Ghetto is not a racist code for African Americans as there are white ghettos in cities where crime, poor or non-existant food retail servies exist or are absent. Gentrification is racist as it implies that a demographic change is bad, evil and the fault of the demographic moving in. A Red apple manager admitted it was a food stamp store, actual words, and the store fits the description. Of course thay want to stay, lots of money in selling poor quality, poor services to a captured demographic who must use food stamps. Yes it is a Ghetto store!

  31. The problem with that space might be that no other grocery besides walmart is willing to take a chance in our neighborhood, and here we are beating them down. Maybe we deserve what we have.

  32. 40% is average for grocery store turnover, however there is a direct correlation between high turnover and employee wages, benefits, and general treatment.

    For example, Costco and Trader Joes both have employee-friendly policies and extremely low attrition in the first year. Costco has a 6 percent first-year turnover. Walmart’s is almost 50 percent.

    There are plenty of reputable sources out there that confirm much of what has been said. Regarding 40% being the industry average and Walmart having a high turnover rate in comparison to other stores, here is one source:

  33. Despite the fact Walmart sucks in many ways to many people, I see one potentially HUGE benefit to a Walmart coming to the Central District. If there was only one Walmart in the city, and it was in the CD, there would be a shit ton of people from all over coming to buy their Walmart stuff. People from Seattle are currently driving to Renton (RENTON!) all the time to go to Walmart. Say what you will, it’s happening. And when they are in Renton, and they are hungry, they eat in Renton. They could be driving here. And eating here. To shop at Walmart. And eat at ___insert your favorite CD restaurant here____. And maybe those Walmart shoppers would be checking out some of those new businesses that Knox&Co. envision. Or they could hit the pub, that those grad students are gonna start up. Or they could grab some natural meds real quick if that happens instead.

    There are a lot of people in and around the CD driving to Target/Costco/etc. to purchase things on a regular basis. Keep waiting for your selectively collective utopia to happen in this community and you will continue to get a lackluster neighborhood economy.

  34. Remember, we are speculating that it could be a walmart grocery only. They are regular grocery store size, and sell grocery’s. A full size walmart would need much more land than is available. It would not be a destination like Costco, target or a full walmart.

  35. The protesters need to get a life!

    Eyes was not being racist. when was the last time the Red Apple was remodeled? I don’t think it has been since it was built. It’s run down and old, call it ghetto call it what you want but WalMart would be new, clean and employ more people. some people just don’t want to accept the fact that change happens. WalMart has buying power to bring lower prices something those on food stamps appreciate. In fact WalMart groceries that are open 24 hours see a sharp increase in business when food stamps get deposited into benefit card accounts at midnight.

  36. Just to make it clear, I do not support Walmart going in, but I do support a Fred Meyer (ballard) or Metropolitan Market along with a Trader Joes. The Ballard FM and TJ’s is a good model. These stores can be two stories high with residental above.

  37. Regardless of what you call it, only in poor neighborhoods is it standard to have wilting vegetables, ridiculously over priced frozen foods, expired foods, etc., etc. I get better food, better selection and much better prices going to plain old Safeway. Give me Fred Meyer for some real grocery savings! And clothes! And household goods! And yard stuff! And holiday decoration for the yard that are 5 feet tall! Yay, Freddies!