COMMUNITY IN WALMART VS WHOLE FOODS

Yes, when Walmart finds buying from local or regional vendors economically beneficial, the Bentonvile Behemoth is happy to pump a few pennies (relative to the hundreds of billions going---going---cough to China---elsewhere) in the name of pretending to be a good neighbor. Christopher Kelly, expressing his opinion in Purpose-Driven Companies Must Anchor Community Roots for Forbes thinks there are better options for locals.
The competitive difference between the homogeneous corporate paradigm embodied by Walmart and the community-centered model cultivated by Whole Foods grows increasingly stark. At Walmart, sterile interchangeability and observable lack of integration within its communities, its customers, and its supply chains have put it out of touch with consumer expectations for local and personal service. By contrast, when Whole Foods opens a new store, it aims to root itself in its community by curating and supporting hundreds of local vendors---even going as far as providing them with marketing help or product development tips. Accordingly, Whole Foods is booming and serves as a bellwether of a community on the rise, while Walmart will close more than 250 stores this year and has even been tied to an increase in crime. By using these local vendors, the business is not only saving money on the cost of product transportation, but it’s also creating vendor loyalty whenever it gives new vendors a loan and access to a wider customer base. And with this concentration on local suppliers---combined with an effort to do goodwill in the communities the chain participates in---the company becomes a brand that local customers remember.
Yes, I know, Whole Foods also has problems---I do shop there, but rarely and only for certain bulk foods I have difficulty finding elsewhere---but the company does make sincere efforts to connect locally as Kelly illustrates. The real lesson here is one I've repeated time and time again, the best solution (and one I follow) for any community is accept that buying local and supporting locally owned businesses over national and international corporations, even when there is a price premium is the best way to go Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

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