Wal-Mart Gets Halal Makeover

Execs confer with Arab community to open Mideast-themed Michigan megastore
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2008 2:57 AM CST
A sign stands in front of the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., in this Friday, Oct. 5, 2007 file photo. Wal-Mart has opened a new superstore in Dearborn, Michigan, home to the nation's...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Tahini, olives and frozen falafel line the shelves in a new Michigan Wal-Mart in Dearborn that caters to local customers: in this case, the nation's largest Arab-American community. The 200,000-square-foot megastore, which opens today, even has a section for Halal meats culled in accordance with Islamic law, Newsweek reports.

Wal-Mart conferred with local Arab-Americans to learn what to offer—Arab-speaking staff was a must, but headscarves a no-no—and vowed not to undercut small ethnic shops on prices. "In the past, Wal-Mart has been pretty cookie-cutter when it comes to merchandise," said the store's manager. "But this time, we really got to know the community. We're blazing a trail here."