Back to top Jump to featured resources
Article filed under Independent Business

Denver’s Asian Businesses Force Wal-Mart Retreat

| Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 1, 2002 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Strong protest from dozens of Asian small business owners has led Wal-Mart to drop plans for a giant supercenter in west Denver.

Wal-Mart had been working with the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) to condemn and bulldoze Alameda Square, a shopping center housing some 25 Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian and Chinese businesses, including the city’s largest Asian grocery store. This spring, DURA declared the center “blighted,” the first step in evicting the businesses and clearing the way for Wal-Mart. DURA also planned to provide Wal-Mart with $10 million in tax subsidies.

Alameda Square’s small businesses, which have turned this once derelict shopping strip into a thriving community center, mobilized after learning of the plan in February. They hung signs in storefront windows urging residents to contact the city, circulated a petition that gathered more than 1,2000 signatures, and generated hundreds of letters to city officials and local newspapers.

“The message the city sends to them and to all small business owners in economically depressed areas is this: Don’t risk your blood, sweat and tears on trying to turn around a struggling area, because once you make it a success, we will replace you with a national chain,” wrote Douglas Hsiao.

Wal-Mart backed out in late June. City officials are now in talks with property owner Khanh Vu, who wants to upgrade the buildings while maintaining the center’s existing merchants.

Tags: / / / /

About Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative, which produces research and analysis, and partners with a range of allies to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise.  She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and also produces a popular monthly newsletter, the Hometown Advantage Bulletin.  Connect with her on twitter and catch her TEDx Talk: Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy. More

Contact Stacy   |   View all articles by Stacy Mitchell