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Wal-Mart Opens Arab-American Store in Michigan

Wal-Mart Caters to Arab-American Shoppers

Dearborn, Michigan's Arab-American population is getting some special attention from an unlikely place: Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's smiley-face, price-slashing reputation is definitely polarizing. But whether you love a bargain, or wave signs protesting its Goliath march through Main Street USA, its sheer size guarantees everyone has rolled back prices once or twice. It's everything to everyone.

In Dearborn, Michigan, with the largest concentration of Arabs outside of the Middle East, the big-box retailer is selling them a little bit of home. Stocking olive oil, falafel, and Egyptian mango juice, and Lebanese pop music, the store's 35 Arabic-speaking staff represents a big departure from Wal-Mart's usual one-size-fits-all approach to retail.

This store features one more important difference: an agreement with small, local businesses. To respect the existing businesses that already cater to the Arab-American population, Wal-Mart has agreed for instance, to charge a dime more for a pack of pita — and that one thin dime represents a world of change that shoppers can take to the bank.

Is a unique, neighborhood approach the wave of the retail future? Does it surprise you that Wal-Mart is in tune with the needs of the community?


Join The Conversation
possum possum 9 years
How soon we forget what has happened at their hands. Shame on you Wal Mart. I will never forget!!!!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Actually, not to be annoying, but Wal-Mart does still sell guns, but only at select stores.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
Wal-Mart no longer sells guns. Only ammunition...and paint ball guns.
remedios remedios 9 years
Yeah for Dearborn! Ok, that's random. But I've missed good middle eastern food since I moved away from that area.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
I personally don't have any issues with Wal-Mart. Their staff IS diverse, and their prices are very fair. However, I find it a bit perplexing that they'd cater to a specific culture, and not others. I've never heard a Wal-Mart play Spanish music. The most 'ethnic' food the Wal-Mart here sells are taco shells, made by Pace, nonetheless! It seems a bit too politically correct to me, but I suppose that you just have to meet demand with supply.
iieee_grrl iieee_grrl 9 years
I work in a Wal-mart neighborhood market, and I've seen why Wal-mart becomes successful. They hire a diverse staff (and pay them well, I might add), and they provide services to customers at a much lower cost than I can find at any local stores. In my area, we have a large Spanish speaking demographic, and I know that at my store there is always one, of not two, Spanish speaking employees at all times. There is also usually one person fluent in sign language. Do you think you can find that at a local store or a whole food store?? No, I've had friends who have tried. And as for being "green," you should see everything that is in place to make our stores green and eco friendly - most people would probably crap if they realized just how much effort each employee puts into Planet Sustainability. And as for Wal-marts invading small towns, I've seen MANY small towns stop them from building - they deny the permits. If you don't like the idea of a Wal-mart in your area, then you need to talk to your city council - they're the ones letting them in!!
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
peepshow - I don't.
demeter demeter 9 years
I'm not really surprised! Wal-Mart is great, and of course they want more people to shop there so they are going to put in stuff that people can relate to. I think Wal-Mart needs to start selling Japanese pop music and horror movies. I would DIE!!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Actually, I do not shop at Wal-Mart anymore, because I hate it.
peepshow peepshow 9 years
Viva la WalMart! I find it amusing that several of you state that you hate WalMart... then follow it with... because shopping there sucks because blah blah blah. If you hate it, why do you continue to shop there? ;) Rhetorical, of course.
brookrene brookrene 9 years
Can anybody tell me why such a large population of arab-americans in Dearborn? Just seems like such a random place. and in regards to Wallie world...i grew up shopping there, and i still shop there...i dont like the people nor the atmosphere...but i love that it saves me money that i can spend on something else.
milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
Cakebaker, too funny, but wasn't that Kmart? I could be wrong. Either way, I'm not a Wal-Mart fan just simply for how they treat their employees.
amers230 amers230 9 years
note: i work IN Dearborn, not at the Dearborn Wal-Mart. I'd hate for someone to think that lmao :-P
amers230 amers230 9 years
i live near Dearborn and actually work there and i think it's cool, but not that big of a deal. and as for whoever was hoping they wouldn't force out the mom and pop stores, i wouldn't worry about it. there are tons of them and a lot of my arabic families i know specifically shop at them rather than the walmarts and meijers of the area. cabaker - i feel the exact same way as you! my mom think i'm a snob for it but i just feel gross and dirty when i shop there. it's just not a fun atmosphere.
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Cabaker: :rotfl:
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
M3 - According to Bowling for Columbine, you could actually buy that gun at Wal Mart... I bet its $19.97...
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I hate Wal Mart too, only because the shopping environment there is so gross and the people who shop there... oh dear Lord... I've never seen so many people in their Sunday's best hunting outfits before! Shudder... So I'm a Target gal, I'll pay a bit more for a more pleasant environment. When driving through the southwest a few years ago I saw a Wal Mart that had closed down! I couldn't believe it! All I kept thinking was, How desolate must this place be for the Wal Mart to close?!
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
To respect the existing businesses that already cater to the Arab-American population, Wal-Mart has agreed for instance, to charge a dime more for a pack of pita — and that one thin dime represents a world of change that shoppers can take to the bank. I'm more impressed by this than by them providing special goods to their large population of Arab Americans. The latter is just business. The former is ethical business. But still, Walmart sucks. Long live Target.
saucymegstar saucymegstar 9 years
Huh. While I see the shortcomings of walmart I see a lot of the good as well. I happen to live in Bentonville Ar- the home of the "evil empire". I moved here after graduate school and after living here a few years I have a new perspective on the company. Yes there are things it could do better--healthcare for employees being the first that comes to mind. But they are striving to provide better customer service (it creeped me out the first time a walmart employee asked me if I needed help. I'm used to being ignorned or even loathed by the blue-vested!), conservation is a huge corporate push and there are a lot of good people that I respect who work there. Do I prefer Target? For some things, yes. I believe that Walmart serves a purpose in our economy. To respond to the article-- catering to a region isn't very new to Walmart. For this particular population it's new but it's practical. They want their stores to reflect what the people in the region want to buy.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
I know they're kidding now. :) I don't begrudge Walton for starting a business and being wildly successful. I just don't like the soul-deadening, faceless aspect of it, as Jude pointed out. I would take my little Mayberry town back any day. Of course that's not all Wal-Mart's fault. Time has taken care of things too. I'm going to go find my Alan Jackson CD and listen to Little Man. Dammit.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Walton started it, therefore I will continue to blame him ;) Don't get me started on Wal-Mart's labor issues, either.
brittanyk brittanyk 9 years
This just another way that Walmart continues to ruin small/location businesses. Blah. Although, it was apparent to me when I moved to where I live now (semi-urban) from a really small town, that the Walmart here has tons of products that appeal to different minority groups. There's a large Hispanic population here, so there's a huge section of "typical" Hispanic cuisine, music in Spanish, and lots of products that only have Spanish labels. We also have a pretty high Thai population so there are tons of products, mainly cooking, for Thai people.
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
That did.
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
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