Boss Pope back in the New York Times

The man behind the curtain is exposed, again:

Outside, protesters were in a far less festive mood. They accused the owner of the discount chain, Art Pope, the state budget director, of bankrolling conservative candidates and supporting policies that hurt the store’s poor and minority shoppers.

“It may appear he’s contributing to the community because he has a business,” the Rev. Kojo Nantambu, the local N.A.A.C.P. president, said on Wednesday. “But those are only vehicles to be used to destroy the community.”

And Pope's explanation for why he targets poor neighborhoods does not hold water:

Mr. Pope is chairman of Variety Wholesalers, which owns about 70 Roses, Maxway and other stores in North Carolina, and some 400 stores in total, primarily in the Southeast. The privately held company selects neighborhoods with at least a 25 percent African-American population and a median household income below $40,000, according to its website.

He said the business model for his company, originating with his father in 1949, was to locate in areas often abandoned by other retailers. “We go into the communities that have food deserts, shopping centers that are empty, and we revitalize those centers,” he said. “We try to provide great value to customers of limited means.”

The last thing you want to do is "revitalize" those neighborhoods. Almost any other commercial growth would compete with you, from auto parts stores to clothing shops, so don't give us any crap about "lifting" up the community. If you really want to lift the community, you would push for the expansion of Medicaid, the extension of unemployment, and you would stop trying to siphon off resources for traditional public schools.

Comments

The Pope Buys his cheap stuff from China

Pope's operation is nothing but a cheap 2nd hand Wal-Mart when it comes to promoting BS free market theories and practices helping the so-called Masses.. If the Dude was a real American. It would have 100 % American made products in it's operation........

These 1% Wall Street business republican Bastards should be tried for Treason..........

Bottom feeder

I used to work in a Rose's store before Pope bought the chain.

When I worked there in the 80s, it was sort of like a smaller version of K-Mart. It was the kind of place you could find name brands at decent prices, but it was terribly managed. They had constant problems with inventory - I recall having to coordinate a group of stock boys in shifting palettes of merchandise around the store to avoid a district manager that came for a visit when the home office was sending so much merchandise we had no place to put it. When UPC codes were becoming popular, they came up with their own barcode system, requiring staff at the stores to manually tag everything when it came in.

When Walmart moved to town, it ate them alive. The store I worked in closed about a year after Walmart moved in.

It's really a stark contrast to go into a Rose's store today. It's much like a cut-rate dollar store, with off-brand merchandise from exotic countries with cheap labor. You might find a pair of jeans or shoes there, but they're cheap and shoddy. The name brands they do sell use a little dollar-store trick - you can find a container of detergent cheap, for example, but it contains less than a standard sized container you would find at a grocery store, Walmart or even Big Lots.

Pope's business model is to go more downscale than even Big Lots or Walmart, and that's saying something.

Remember that Pope's business consists of more than just the retail stores - it has a real estate component that buys up older shopping centers and leases out the space to other businesses. If you think about the shoppers Pope is targeting and the fact that he can't compete with retailers catering to working class customers, he has no business interest in economic development in the areas where he sets up shop.

It's not unlike a pay-day loan, rent to own business, or convenience store in a poor neighborhood. You give the poor and working poor something that appears to "help" them, close to where they live and something they can afford, but it's a bait and switch. They're actually paying more and getting less.

In the stores I've seen, he's employing fewer workers than the old Rose's stores. In the store I worked at, which was pretty typical, we had a manager, an assistant manager, an operations person and an HR staff member, with perhaps five full time clerks and maybe a dozen part-timers in high school. If you go into one of Pope's Rose's stores of a similar size today, you might see one or two people on the floor. I'm guessing he's probably staffing them with a manager, maybe an assistant manager and perhaps two or three full time clerks.

Pope is more or less as honest as any other retailer in the dollar store market. But he's not driving economic development or making life better for his customers through his business or his efforts in politics. He's just feeding off the bottom rung of the ladder and ensuring his customers will stay right where he wants them.