Chicago’s Only Wal-Mart Has Improved Its West Side

Mark Perry
updated | Author's Website

“Now that it appears Chicago’s South Side will be getting a Wal-Mart, what will it mean for that community? The store is scheduled to open in early 2012 at 111th and Doty in Pullman. CBS-TV 2′s Jim Williams went to the only current Chicago Walmart on the West side to see how it has affected that neighborhood.”  

Watch the video here to see the positive effect Wal-Mart has had on Chicago’s west side by creating more than 400 good-paying jobs, making the neighborhood safer, and helping to revitalize the area and bring in new stores including a Menards Home Improvement store, a CVS pharmacy, two new banks and an Aldi Grocery Store.  Area alderwomen Emma Mitts credits Wal-Mart for attracting many new stores to the neighborhood, and says that “traffic is so heavy on the weekends that it’s hard to get up and down the strip, and that’s a good thing and I’m so grateful for it.”

Although Wal-Mart frequently gets blamed for putting local merchants out of business when the open a new store, this story provides some evidence to the contrary – by stabilizing a rough area on Chicago’s West Side and attracting thousand of customers for “everyday low prices,” at Wal-Mart actually helped to attract new businesses to this Chicago neighborhood, including direct competitors like Menards, CVS and Aldi.  In other words, Wal-Mart provides many significantly “positive externalities” and “spillover benefits” to the communities in which it operates, even though it frequently gets more attention for some of the “negative externalities” and “spillover costs” it might impose. For neighborhoods like the west side of Chicago, it sure looks like the positive externalities (jobs, tax revenues, great safety, more commercial activity, etc.) far outweigh any negative externalities.     

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