Wal-Mart Los Angeles: Chinatown Fears For Family-Run Businesses

Wal-Mart is coming to the unlikeliest of LA neighborhoods: Chinatown.

But the historic, cultural neighborhood bustling with small vendors will not meet the superstore without a fight.

Wal-Mart has signed a lease to open its Neighborhood Market in LA County on the ground floor of a senior housing complex on Cesar Chavez Avenue on the outskirts of Chinatown, the LA Business Journal reports.

Wal-Mart started its Neighborhood Markets in 1998 and says the goal of the markets is to make healthy food available in underserved, urban neighborhoods.

Supporters of the Chinatown Neighborhood Market say that the area is indeed underserved because there is only one full-service supermarket in a 30-block radius, KTLA reports.

However, opponents say the Wal-Mart will run local, family-run businesses out of business.

The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) strongly opposed the newcomer and is looking into the history of the leased building, which received millions of taxpayer dollars in 1992 in exchange for promising about 130 living wage jobs for low-income individuals, the Los Angeles Times reports. Although Wal-Mart says it will pay an average hourly wage of $12.69 to its full-time employees and give health care to both its full-time and 24-hour-week employees, LAANE is not convinced.

"The Chinatown store will continue Wal-Mart's track record of perpetuating poverty jobs in low-income communities in Los Angeles," Roxana Tynan, executive director of the LAANE, told Reuters.

Construction of the Chinatown Wal-Mart could begin as early as the summer, according to KTLA.