Walmart closures show retailer failed to keep community constantly involved

Communication is vitally important when serving a minority community, writes a former Dominick’s president and COO.

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Empty shelves remain on April 16 at the Walmart Supercenter in Chatham at 8431 S Stewart Ave,.

Empty shelves remain on April 16 at the Walmart Supercenter in Chatham at 8431 S Stewart Ave,.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Communication is vitally important when serving a minority community in retail, but it was sadly lacking as described in a recent article about Walmart closing four of its Chicago stores.

When Dominick’s Finer Foods opened its first store in the Black community in the late 1980s, a committee of four small business owners and Dominick’s president and COO met monthly for two years, and quarterly from that point forward.

The small-business owners needed Dominick’s to be successful and help draw business to the area. The community wanted a modern food store. Dominick’s needed the community input to prevent small problems from festering and becoming larger issues.

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After about a year, the community told Dominick’s a gang had penetrated the store. The community said they would handle the problem, and they did, thereby preventing a very major issue.

When the community learned the store wasn’t making money, they asked if they could help. The issues were high shrink and low worker productivity. They couldn’t cut the shrink, but they asked for time to talk privately to every single worker about working harder, smarter, etc. This took several days, but it worked. Productivity increased, and the store eventually almost broke even.

The key issue is the continuous involvement of the community with the store operator, and resolution of problems, even if it is a big-box store.

Daniel E. Josephs, former Dominick’s president and COO

Coddling bad behavior

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson’s response to a bunch of hooligans terrorizing our downtown by blaming it on youth who have “been starved of opportunities” is a ridiculous response, just as ridiculous as his prior statements about “defunding the police.”

Thousands of youth in our city are probably bored at one time or another each week, but most of them do not turn to violence and destruction of private property. It’s about right and wrong. Period.

The only thing these teenagers have been starved of is an education from their parents and guardians about respect for people and their property. Johnson’s coddling response will only energize this group to continue to behave in this repulsive manner.

Mike Kirchberg, Little Italy

Pro-gun politicians far better protected than others

I watched some of the political speeches made at the NRA convention this past weekend with bewilderment.

It seems a little hypocritical for politicians to talk tough about standing up for gun rights just before they get into their security-surrounded limousines. I think if the U.S. Capitol had the same security force as most of the middle schools in this country, they might have a different experience and perspective.

Steven Fortuna, Naperville

It’s all about the money

Walmart’s pullout shows it is not about racism but is about color: green. Walmart, like all companies, is in the business of making money. It’s called capitalism. It will go where it can make money and flee from where it can’t.

As our city’s crime and taxes make it increasingly inhospitable — and our incoming mayor has already declared war on businesses — expect more of the same. Remember, Chicago, this is called “progress.”

William Choslovsky, Lincoln Park

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