Regarding the March 10 letter “True poverty worker”: Variety Wholesalers is a job creator. Unfortunately, many of its positions pay poverty level wages with little opportunity for advancement for those employees.
A significant portion of the profits that Art Pope’s stores create is channeled into his network of organizations promoting policies that widen the divide between North Carolina’s haves and have-nots.
Professor Gene Nichol and the UNC poverty center exposed all of us to the realities of poverty occurring in close proximity to affluence. Nichol reminded all of us that poverty-level wages won’t lift someone out of poverty.
Pope didn’t purchase a former Kroger grocery store in Southeast Raleigh out of the goodness of his heart. The location was deliberately selected because it was away from potential competitors (the nearest Walmart is 4.5 miles away) and because he obtained the property at less than half of its tax-appraised value.
Variety Wholesalers has made no secret of its strategy to locate in areas that have an African-American population of at least 25 percent and household incomes that average $40,000 or less within five miles of its stores. African-Americans comprise 81 percent of the neighborhoods near the former Kroger, with median family incomes of less than $22,000.