NOTE: THIS IS A REPOST OF A POST ORIGINALLY TITLED, "WINSLOW BASHA'S TO CLOSE; SUPER WAL-MART TO REMAIN OPEN" THE POST WAS INFILTRATED BY A SPAM BOT SO THIS IS A REPOST WHICH WILL BE POSTED AT THE ORIGINAL DATE AND THE ORIGINAL POST WILL BE DELETED.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Winslow Basha's to close. Super Wal-Mart to remain open.
Proving some of us right several years ago.
Winslow is a two-grocery store town.
Some years back Wal-Mart wanted to expand to Super Wal-Mart (i.e. including groceries.) A number of us felt that this would eventually force either Safeway or Basha's to close, and thereby trade better paying jobs for Wal-Mart jobs.
Wal-Mart did open Super Wal-Mart, and I can't say I'm surprised that Winslow was on the list of fourteen Basha's stores slated to close by October. Last year they changed their closing time to an hour earlier and I was honestly surprised that they weren't on the list of closures last month, right before the bankrupcty filing.
Now, I've had my problems with Basha's in the past (mostly over their recalcitrance to allow the workers to organize under UFCW if they want to-- see this post, though I have to admit I haven't faithfully kept up my boycott (though I have faithfully boycotted Wal-Mart).
Some conservatives will blame UFCW for Basha's demise. This is of course ridiculous--the UFCW never did organize Basha's, and Basha's workers earn about two dollars per hour less than their counterparts at unionized grocery stores like Safeway and Fry's, so if unions were the problem then you'd have to figure that those stores, which actually do have unions, would have gone out of business rather than Basha's. But as far as anti-union activity is concerned, Basha's is like a good-looking colt racing against Rachel Alexandra compared to Wal-Mart, the undisputed king of union-busting (recall that a Kingman Wal-Mart employee was let go some years back just for saying the word, 'union,' and it took several years before a court held that the employee was wrongfully terminated; and even then I think that Wal-Mart felt that the damages they had to pay was just part of the cost of doing business because the ultimate result is that they still have no union in Kingman or anyplace else.)
The lack of pockets as deep as out of state competitors certainly is a problem, especially if you are competing with someone like Wal-Mart (which in just about a decade has gone from just breaking into the grocery market to being the number one selling grocer in Arizona and a number of other states as well.)
The bottom line is that in a town the size of Winslow (population 8,000 including the inmates at the prison, plus several thousand more people from southern areas of the reservation who come in to shop every day) there just isn't the population base to support three supermarkets. If the same checker earns $7 an hour at Super Wal-Mart as earns $11 an hour at Basha's and $13 an hour at Safeway (roughly typical wages at each store) then clearly Wal-Mart is saving money on the front end. With them getting stuff shipped in from out of state in large quantities they save on the middle end too, and since a lot of their stuff (even including some canned foods and other groceries) is produced out of the country they save on the back end too.
Winslow Basha's bought a lot of the 4-H kids' animals at the county fair every year, which the kids usually save the money and put it in their college fund. Somehow I doubt if Wal-Mart will be buying any locally grown 4-H animals.
I understand that a lot of people shop at Wal-Mart because they don't have much money. Granted, my wife and a few other people who have joined coupon sense have learned how to shop cheaper at Basha's and Safeway than at Wal-Mart, (Wal-Mart doesn't have double, triple or quadruple coupon deals) but most people shop at Wal-Mart to save money. I understand that.
But I hope that the people (especially the Winslow city councillors at the time and former mayor Bob Bolles) who supported the Super Wal-Mart realize that just as opponents predicted at the time, they've just traded $11 an hour jobs with decent benefits for $7 an hour jobs with few benefits, thereby increasing the poverty rate in Winslow.
Winslow is a tough town and it will survive, but it will be hard for the Basha's employees (many of whom I know) who are now being dumped out onto the street during a deep recession.
Labels: Basha's, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Winslow
# posted by Eli Blake @ 8:24 PM
just heard the news... another empty store on that side of the street.
sad day for Winslow...
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 18 August, 2009 23:37