Wal-Mart uses farmers market to pressure Chicago for site

Chicago In an effort to apply more pressure on City Hall, Wal-Mart Stores will hold a farmers market on Saturday at the vacant site where it wants to build its second Chicago store, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

Truckloads of fresh fruits and vegetables, supplied by Wal-Mart vendors, are slated to be for sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and a local radio station will be broadcasting from the event, according to Wal-Mart.

The move is Wal-Mart’s latest tactic in its five-year battle to build a Supercenter in the South Side Chatham neighborhood of Chicago. Currently, a restriction to an existing development agreement has kept the discount chain out of the Chatham Market shopping center.

Wal-Mart unveiled a Web site over the weekend, chicago.walmartcommunity.com, featuring videos from local residents and community leaders supporting the new store.

In April, Ald. Howard Brookins reignited the battle to bring Wal-Mart into his ward at Chatham Market by introducing the proposal to amend the development agreement.

That amendment, now before the Rules Committee, could come up for a vote when the City Council meets next week.

A Lowe's home-improvement store already is open at Chatham Market. Discount grocer Aldi plans to open a store there next year.

Labor unions have threatened to resurrect a big-box ordinance proposal to set minimum pay and health benefits for workers if the City Council passes the amendment.

Such a public fight could hurt Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, according to the Tribune.