Wal-Mart tweaks store for Arab-Americans

The world’s largest retailer has opened an innovative new supercenter in Dearborn, Michigan. Wal-Mart’s new 200,000 square foot store will offer a special line of products geared towards the American Muslim and Arab American communities in the Detroit metro area, which is home to one of the largest communities of Arabs and Muslims in the United States. The store offers a variety of Middle Eastern food such as tahini, olive, traditional spices, and halal meat section. The store, which is still in the hiring process, presently employs about thirty-five Arab Americans. Many local business members are, however, worried. “There is a fear factor in the business community,” says Osama Siblani, publisher of Dearborn’s Arab American News. The fear rests on Wal-Mart’s all-in-one store and slogan of low prices will make prosperity difficult for many local business in the area. Wal-mart has agreed to make a promise not to undercut the prices of small local stores, and agreed to be examined by a community advisory board made up of local Arab-American leaders, to make sure that it isn’t endangering mom and pop shops. For example, Wal-Mart agreed to charge one dime more than local grocers for a package of pita bread.