This post has been updated since it was first published.
I will admit this bias up front: I love bagels.
I scarf down a bagel every morning for breakfast — usually cinnamon raisin. If I’m near Rockville Pike, I sometimes consume one at Bagel City, which according to reports this morning is potentially headed for displacement by a new Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart displacing a business is not, by itself, news. Anyone not
living in total isolation from the planet has read about, heard about, and/or thought about Wal-Mart’s impact on local businesses.
What might be news is this: Wal-Mart is displacing bagels!
I’ve been following Wal-Mart and its expansion for years, and I can’t recall ever reading a tear-jerking story about the big-boxer knocking out a bagel shop. A quick Google search for “Wal-Mart bagel store out of business” turns up not much. (Wal-Mart sells these bagels. I’ll pass.)
So I called Andy McDonald, a spokesman for Making Change at Wal-Mart, a watchdog group that knows a lot about Wal-Mart’s impact on the world. We got to talking about how Wal-Mart’s urban expansion would impact a whole new range of businesses, as the retailer got closer to city centers.
“Wal-Mart displaces small businesses every time they open stores,” McDonald said. “If they open more stores in urban areas there will be small businesses that service specific communities that are impacted — specific types of food stores included.”
McDonald has not heard of a bagel shop being displaced by Wal-Mart, but he couldn’t say for certain whether Bagel City, around for more than three decades, was the first. So I will put this question to the internet? Is it?
Stephanie Kavadoy, whose family owns the bagel shop, said they heard rumblings of an upcoming development on the site but had no idea it would be a Wal-Mart — and so soon. “It’s very disappointing,” she said. “Wal-Mart eats up other businesses.” The family is working plans to move Bagel City nearby.
Do you worry about other niche businesses being impacted by Wal-Mart’s march toward big cities? Comment below.