Especially after welcoming Target,
Yet the mayor seems to be preparing for an epic clash. He’s been bad-mouthing Wal-Mart since the beginning of the year. Last month, he went so far as to use the company’s multimillion-dollar donation to salvage New York City’s summer jobs program for teens as an opportunity to insult it.
Both the city and Wal-Mart should learn from Whole Foods’s bumpy expansion into Jamaica Plain, and pull residents into the planning process sooner rather than later. The organic grocery chain erred in January by not approaching Jamaica Plain residents before announcing its plans. Wal-Mart officials should reach out to residents in the neighborhoods they are considering now, not after they have presented a proposal. Representatives from the corporation already botched their first opportunity to do so, when they pressured the Boston City Council last week to avoid a public hearing about their plans.
Wal-Mart’s ability to move into the city without unnecessary conflict hinges on the company’s and the city’s willingness to foster an open dialogue. At this point, there’s little evidence that will happen.