2009-06-26 / Letters

Be A Good Neighbor

The following letter was sent by City Councilman James Sanders Jr. to the CEO of Costco. Dear Mr. Sinegal,

As the New York City Council Member for District 31 (consisting of Rosedale, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, Arverne, Bayswater and Edgemere), I would like to thank you for your business in the Rockaways area and we have enjoyed having Costco as a neighbor. I also commend Costco for their decision to run a six-month pilot program to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments in three New York City warehouses. However, I am strongly urging you to include your Lawrence, New York Costco warehouse in this pilot program.

Consumers within the Rockaways section of District 31 frequently shop at the Lawrence location to take advantage of the quality, brand name merchandise at substantially lower prices Costco offers - especially because it is mere walking distance to the Rockaways. Yet, in the midst of today's economic climate with a number of companies downsizing, foreclosure rates climbing and New York State's unemployment rate at a staggering 7.5% as of April 2009, SNAP will without a doubt increasingly be used by a greater population than we've traditionally seen. In addition, Rockaways' residents have been hit hard during this economic turndown. The Rockaways, which fall under Queens Community Board 14, have a population of approximately 105,000 and have the 2nd highest unemployment rate of Queens. Given these facts, there is a need for more access to quality foods at affordable prices at businesses such as Costco versus the high costs of lower grade foods at local supermarkets and corner stores.

I believe the inclusion of the Lawrence location can be mutually beneficial to both Costco and the consumers within my district. This pilot program has the potential of increased revenues for Costco; an expansion of Costco's loyalty base within this district and the other contiguous areas; and contributes to Costco's corporate citizenship. At the same time, more area residents are able to benefit from access to healthier, affordable food options, which is desperately needed during these troubled times.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future on ways that I can help implement the inclusion of the Lawrence Costco in this pilot program. Please contact my office at (718) 527-4356 with any questions.

JAMES SANDERS JR

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