Chris Prayer (Active Auto Parts, 5912 W. Chicago): “I sort of have mixed emotions about it. I see the fact that it is going to take away from jobs in the community. I also see the fact that some of the things that they offer should be available to our community. I hate to say, but I’m sitting on the fence on this. It has its drawbacks, but it has its benefits for us.”

Aleatra Elzy (Accurate Mortgage Service, 5428 W. Division): “Certainly I don’t feel it will hurt our businesses because revenue in the community is certainly a positive, and I do know that it will bring other people from other areas in the community which will allow them to also participate in patronizing our businesses.”

Renny D. Smith (Western Skins Exotic Boots, 5054 W. Madison): “Speaking specifically of my business, I don’t think that it will hurt me, because Wal-Mart doesn’t carry any of the articles that I carry in my shop. However, there are some shops in the Austin community that may be hurt as a result of Wal-Mart coming into the community because it may take some of the funds that they receive elsewhere, instead of going into the small mom-and-pop shops. For example, some of the clothing stores?”Wal-Mart does carry clothing and people go there because of the pricing. So that would take away funds from stores of this type. On the other hand, it also has a chance to help the community because it will be bringing jobs into the community. So it’s a give-and-take situation.”

Malcolm S. Crawford (African Accents, 5847 W. Chicago): “I would say about Wal-Mart coming into the community?”like Mayor Harold Washington would say?””Take the money, but vote for me.” That is what we have to do, go work for Wal-Mart, but when you get done working for Wal-Mart, spend your money with the people in your community.”

Margaret Jackson (Jackson’s Cleaning Service, 217 N. Austin): “I really feel Wal-Mart will not hurt the community; I think it will help. Union shops are really bad shops. We’re non-union in our company and not to have a union will be good for them. I think Wal-Mart is good for the community.”

Leona Thomas (Thomas Mechanical Corp., 5308 W. North): “I feel that it could be a good thing for Wal-Mart to come in, because they are going to create a lot of jobs for people in the community. I am a plumbing contractor, and I am looking to get some of the plumbing work on the building of the Wal-Mart. So I think it could be a good thing.

AWN: A lady plumbing contractor in Austin?
“Yes, I’ve been in business for 13 years, and we do a lot of major projects, so we’re certainly capable of doing the plumbing for Wal-Mart.”