Byline: Jen Haberkorn, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s plan to help other retailers near its 6-month-old Landover Hills store is off to a slow start, but some neighboring store owners say their traffic and sales already have gone up since the world's largest retailer opened.
The store is Wal-Mart's first inside the Capital Beltway, and Landover Hills was one of 10 towns the company identified as ones they hoped to improve with its Jobs and Opportunity Zone program.
The program is designed to give free in-store advertising to five local businesses each quarter and provide funding to local business groups for small-business training. But small-business owners say they haven't seen any of those results yet.
Two retailers that Wal-Mart selected in August as part of their first round of "small-business spotlights" to receive free in-store and local newspaper advertising from Wal-Mart said they didn't even know they were selected for the program.
"If it is, it's good news," said Anthony C. Ramdass, owner and pharmacist at Ramdass Pharmacy about 1.5 miles west from the Wal-Mart on Annapolis Road.
Edna Spearman, who co-owns Rolling Pin Bakery, also about 1.5 miles west of Wal-Mart, said she thinks advertising her store in Wal-Mart would help business.
"If they're doing some advertising in the store, I haven't seen it," she said. "I think it would [help]. The parking lot is always full."
The other selected businesses - ExpressSign, Port Towns Community Development and IHOP-Colmar Manor - did not return calls for comment.
Wal-Mart representative Rhoda Washington said the store has met with the retailers
and is processing the advertisements. They are expected to be in the stores in 30 to 60 days.
"We're moving along," Ms. Washington said. "We hoped to have had some ads placed already."
Wal-Mart also has distributed three $10,000 grants to local community groups: the Prince George's County, Greater Washington Hispanic and Pan-Asian …