Facile reporting on Walmart
There are two elements to Walmart's product mix in their superstores: (1) food/groceries; and (2) other goods (hard goods like appliances and soft goods like apparel).
DC, except in a couple areas of the city, is not significantly under-stored in terms of supermarkets, even if there is that perception, although granted this has changed significantly in the past 5 years. DC is under-stored in terms of the availability of hard and soft goods.
A couple years ago I did a bit of mapping of existing supermarkets in the Capitol Hill and Upper Northwest parts of the city ("Mapping retail trade areas for DC supermarkets"), many months before Walmart indicated that they were going to enter the DC market.
Both areas have a great deal of grocery store coverage (Greater Capitol Hill has even more now that additional stores have opened on both the north and south sides of the district, with more on the way).
Upper Northwest (mapped at a 3 mile radius of existing large format supermarkets--note that since this map was made, the Safeway at Petworth was shut down and is being rebuilt)
Capitol Hill (mapped at a 3 mile radius of existing large format supermarkets--note that since this map was made, a Giant Supermarket has opened on H Street NE and a Harris Teeter will be opening next year in the Capitol Riverfront district, each will be followed by a Whole Foods)
I mention this because today's Post claims that these areas, both served by new Walmart stores which opened yesterday, are underserved by supermarkets. From "Wal-Mart opens first two district stores":
[Mayor] Gray ... attended the opening of the Georgia Avenue store, ticking off such benefits as reducing 'retail leakage' to the suburbs and the number of 'food deserts.' ....Note that the Georgia Avenue Walmart is located 1.7 miles from the once and future Safeway at 3830 Georgia Avenue NW in Petworth and 1/2 mile from the Safeway at 6500 Piney Branch Road NW.
Near the front of the Georgia Avenue store, shoppers loaded up on $2.50 pineapples and $1.98 cantaloupes in a neighborhood that's long relied on corner convenient [sic] stores, with their canned and frozen goods.
This isn't a food desert, and people aren't reliant on convenience stores for grocery shopping.
It's not the end of the world, and it is correct to call attention to the greater availability of hard and soft goods as a result of Walmart's entry, but it is sloppy reporting to claim that either Upper Northwest or Greater Capitol Hill are food deserts.