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Monday, February 19, 2007

Wal-Mart In Cleveland: We'll Help Small Business

CLEVELAND (TDB) -- The attached Wal-Mart press release is being distributed around the nation right now about the discount chain's arrival in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, and apparently is part of the giant retailer's charm offensive to convince Americans its not a corporate predator but a good neighbor. There are eight other job and opportunity zone communities. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is quoted below calling this a good thing for the city. Read on:

"Wal-Mart Announces Jobs and Opportunity Zone in Cleveland
Initiative Aims to Bolster Economic Opportunities on Near West Side
Surrounding the Upcoming Supercenter

CLEVELAND, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- With the impending opening
of a Supercenter in the Tremont neighborhood, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:
WMT) Regional General Manager Jerry Spencer today announced the selection
of Cleveland as a "Wal-Mart Jobs and Opportunity Zone." The program will
provide support to local businesses by offering advertising inside
Wal-Mart's store and in local newspapers, as well as presenting additional
funding for local chambers of commerce.

The company also announced eight other Jobs and Opportunity Zones:
- Landover Hills, Maryland - Portsmouth, Virginia
- Richmond, California - El Mirage, Arizona
- East Hills, Pennsylvania - Sanger, California
- Indianapolis, Indiana - Decatur, Georgia

"It's about creating opportunity beyond the four walls of our stores,"
said Spencer. "And it's about making unique contributions to the
communities we serve, the millions of customers who rely on us and the
thousands of associates we employ in communities just like this one."

The Jobs and Opportunities Zone initiative was launched by Wal-Mart CEO
Lee Scott last year at the first store within the Chicago city limits. In
addition to creating hundreds of jobs and generating substantial tax
revenue, the company worked with local businesses and organizations to spur
job creation and economic development around the store.

"The Wal-Mart Jobs and Opportunity Zone project is another important
factor in the ongoing revitalization of the Steelyard Commons neighborhood.
We look forward to working with Wal-Mart to continue to spur economic
development in our great city of Cleveland," said Mayor Frank G. Jackson.
The Wal-Mart Supercenter at Steelyard Commons is part of a $120 million
commercial redevelopment project that is transforming 125 acres of
abandoned industrial land into the largest open-air retail center ever to
be built in Cuyahoga County.

The Zone will be anchored by the Wal-Mart Supercenter and engage local
businesses and organizations to increase economic opportunities in
surrounding neighborhoods. This initiative will create more opportunities
for small businesses to capitalize on the benefits of having a Wal-Mart in
their community.

Wal-Mart will partner with local chambers of commerce, business groups,
minority chambers of commerce and minority and women-owned businesses
within these zones to direct hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to
these communities.

"The Greater Cleveland Partnership, which seeks to create jobs and
wealth in the region, sees the investment by Wal-Mart in a Cleveland
neighborhood as an opportunity for small and large businesses to work
together to succeed," said Joe Roman, president of the Greater Cleveland
Partnership. "At the same time, Wal-Mart's commitment to assisting minority
and women-owned businesses will help ensure that all Clevelanders take part
in the region's economic recovery."

Other aspects of the program include Wal-Mart choosing five small
businesses in each zone for "Small Business Spotlights" and funding local
newspaper advertising and offering free advertising on our in-store radio
network. The company will also produce an annual "Wal-Mart Trends Report"
that it will share exclusively with the small business community."


  1. I like the approach and some of the phrasing, such as "charm offensive."

  2. Hi Tim --

    I had a line in the original that I whacked about ecomomic development -- something along the lines that it would be really big if GE moved its headquarters from Fairfield, Conn., to Cleveland, or Ford returned to profitability and sold every car it could make and more. I just can't get my head around the idea that shopping centers flush with Chinese goods are sound economically. But I am not an economist so I don't know for sure. I do sense that corporate headquarters are more important than stores. So: Is anybody in Ohio trying to get Wal-Mart to leave Bentonville; Apple out of Cupertino; or Citi out of Manhattan?