When I read that Eduardo Solorzano was named President of WalMart Latin America, I wanted to be happy to see a Latino moving up the executive food chain. I just can’t get excited about it, though. Why? Because it’s WalMart.
It has been argued that WalMart treats their employees unfairly and pushes out small business by reducing prices to the extent that local businesses can’t compete. It has been argued that WalMart’s practices not only keep price inflation down but it depresses wages for retail employees—even employees not employed by WalMart.
According to the 3/50 project, courtesy of a study by Civic Economics and Local First of West Michigan “For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.” Think of where those taxes go—to local programs, often to our schools. Payroll? That’s you and your neighbors working in these stores.
I’d rather see an increase in Latinos in small business, an increase in education about entrepreneurship in Latino communities, and more Latinos employed where they live than spend my dollars supporting large local chains that don’t give back to the community, and that leave gaping holes in the community when they move out. So, congratulations Mr. Solorzano. I, as much as the next person, am excited to see the growing number of Latinos in positions of authority in business. But I will continue to spend my money and energy supporting my local economy through local business.
by Melissa Garcia Logan