Costco Makes SNAP Decision

The New York Times reports today that, following public objections from elected officials and community board members, Costco has agreed to allow customers to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka Food Stamp) benefits in the chain’s two NYC stores on a trial basis. If the use of food stamps is a success, Costco will accept SNAP benefits at all of its NYC stores, including one that will be opened in East Harlem thanks to $55 million in public subsidies.

Costco’s decision demonstrates that citizens and their elected officials have the ability to push businesses to act responsibly. However, it also suggests that if considerations about food access were part of a city’s planning process, officials might have been prompted to make Costco’s acceptance of food stamps a condition for receiving public subsidies.

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