Walmart coming to Boulder -- and sh*t heading for fan

Categories: Business

walmart bag cropped square.jpg
Boulder and Walmart are an unlikely combination. But after months of speculation, rumors and protests, it now appears that one of the nation's most progressive communities will soon be home to the retailer most liberals love to hate. And judging by early reaction to reports that a Walmart will be installed in Diagonal Plaza, 2850 Iris Avenue, plenty of locals are already unhappy about the latest development.

Walmart confirmed that it would be building a "neighborhood market" at the shopping center in a statement sent to the Boulder Daily Camera. It reads in part: "We are excited to announce plans for a new Walmart Neighborhood Market in Boulder. In addition to offering customers convenience and savings, the store will create new jobs and also help revitalize Diagonal Plaza."

your spark makes us walmart ad.jpg
The image accompanying the Monster.com ad for Walmart management trainees in Boulder.
The announcement followed a Monster.com listing that seeks assistant manager trainees for a Walmart store in Boulder. The ad's pitch begins like so:
As an Assistant Manager Trainee with Walmart, you will be entrusted with making area-specific merchandising, operations and people development decisions, including budgeting/forecasting and assessing economic trends and demographic information. Your ideas and sales strategies will ensure the success of your department and create opportunities for new growth. You also will contribute to Walmart's sustainability efforts, such as waste and energy reduction, that have a positive environmental, socioeconomic and business impact.
The socially conscious element of this job description is unlikely to placate those in the metro area who regard Walmart with antipathy -- and there are plenty of them. Back in December 2011, members of Occupy Denver, among other organizations, shut down a Walmart distribution center in Loveland via a protest that led to thirteen arrests and at least two jailings. This past June, locals raised a ruckus over the prospect of a Walmart at 8th and Colorado. And on Black Friday in November, an estimated 150 people picketed a Lakewood Walmart to highlight the firm's allegedly poor wages and shoddy working conditions.

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Photo by Daniel Gonzales
A photo of a Walmart protest in Lakewood this past November.
The prospect of a Walmart in Diagonal Plaza has also led to a backlash in Boulder. In September, an organization calling itself Citizens United to Preserve Boulder launched an online petition entitled "Don't Big Box Boulder." The petition's preamble reads like so:
• The city of Boulder is currently considering redevelopment options for Diagonal Plaza at the corner of Iris and 28th Streets.

• Most Boulder residents would agree, a Wal-Mart Supercenter or similar Big Box stores are not keeping with our city character and future plans for the city.

• Such a large store of 100,000-150,000 square feet would have an immediate and dramatic impact on our roads and congestion levels.

• Moreover, a Wal-Mart is not the type of business we are trying to attract to Boulder. It does not promote pedestrian friendly or sustainable development nor do they adhere to fair labor practices!

• Big Box stores like Wal-Mart often hurt local small businesses which we cherish and work to support here in Boulder.

• Diagonal Plaza may be in need of redevelopment, but introducing a large store that requires acres of parking will not fix the site's problem.

The petition itself asks the Boulder City Council to cap commercial development at 75,000 square feet, and while the document only garnered 477 signatures, it may have had an effect. The planned neighborhood market is estimated at 52,000 square feet, well under this standard.

However, size alone isn't the only objection to Walmart among Boulderites. As evidence, check out the November 2012 Occupy Boulder page labeled "NO Wal-Mart in Boulder." The following intro eschews gripes about square footage in favor of criticisms aimed at company practices:

Wal-Mart has submitted permits to move into Boulder at 28th and Iris. Wal-Mart destroys 3 jobs for every 2 it creates. Wal-Mart employees are given low wages, not enough hours/week and terrible options for benefits. Wal-Mart workers have no prospect of advancement. Wal-Mart saps tax money from the city, state and federal government because many of it's workers, despite full time jobs, use medicaid, food stamps and other social welfare programs paid for by our tax money. Wal-Mart uses social welfare programs to shirk it's responsibilities to it's workers. A cheap toaster is not so cheap when you factor in these facts. SAY NO TO WAL-MART in Boulder!
Continue for more reaction to news that a Walmart is planned for Boulder.

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41 comments
Andrea Birgers
Andrea Birgers

I should also add that the presence of a Walmart might be good for the small businesses in that shopping center.

Andrea Birgers
Andrea Birgers

The shopping center where it's going isn't a cool part of town. It never was a cool part of town. The space was intended for big box retailers, it's been empty for years and I'm glad to see it being used.

RevBF
RevBF

150 protesters vs. the inevitable 150,000 shoppers. Must we continue to let the loudest mouths of us make up all the rules and not the majority like it should be? A shopper vs. picketer octagon is clearly the only way to settle this dispute. It'll be like a grown-up version of a school yard brawl.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

Don't like it, don't shop there. Every time I see "occupy" types trying to disrupt commerce, I make a note to spend more money at Walmart.

Peace Will Win
Peace Will Win

Shopping there supports actual alavery, so, congrats on those of you who support alavery.

robofear
robofear

I bet that Pleasures across the street can't wait for all that extra pedestrian traffic!

Roy Forgy
Roy Forgy

great,give those idiots something else to try to ban.

Kevin Isaacson
Kevin Isaacson

Will they be selling elk meat? Because I hear Boulder has a thing for that lately :-)

Kevin Isaacson
Kevin Isaacson

Will they be selling elk meat? Because I hear Boulder has a thing for that lately :-)

Oi'Ram Arejan
Oi'Ram Arejan

wow, really? people need to grow some balls, if you don't like it, burn it down you crybaby boulderites. fucking stupid post.

Oi'Ram Arejan
Oi'Ram Arejan

wow, really? people need to grow some balls, if you don't like it, burn it down you crybaby boulderites. fucking stupid post.

Ali Randall
Ali Randall

@Aaron--I don't know much about Walmart -- and I appreciate people filling me in on the problems with it -- but what I *don't* appreciate is being called simple minded. Thanks.

Matt Baca
Matt Baca

"...everything 'cool' about Boulder." ?? What was cool about Boulder before?

Ali Randall
Ali Randall

I live in Boulder and I don't have a problem with Walmart opening a store here. We have other chain stores like Target, Marshall's and Walgreens so why should I mind?

Todd Elsen
Todd Elsen

The People's Republic won't be happy with that.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Boulder = Thornton by the Mountains

hth

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Andrea Birgers Interesting observation, Andrea. Thanks for the post.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@RevBF Memorable post, RevBF. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks.

bongsucker
bongsucker

@robofear

Pleasures is closed. It's now a pot dispensary.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Ali Randall

A blonde name Ali walks into Walmart and asks a clerk if she can buy the TV in the corner. 

The clerk looks at her and says that he doesn't serve blondes.

So she goes home and dyes her hair black. The next day she returns to the store and asks the same thing, and again, the clerk said he doesn't serve blondes. 

Frustrated, she returns home and dyes her hair yet again, this time to red. She visits the store the next day and asks a different clerk this time. To her astonishment, this new clerk also says that she doesn't serve blondes. 

Astonished, she asks the clerk, "How in the world do you know I'm a blonde??" 

The clerk looks at her and says,"That's not a TV, it's a microwave!"

scott1001
scott1001

@Ali Randall I respect your opinion, but Walmart underpays their employees so much that it is estimated that 80% of all Walmart employees are on food stamps or other government assistance, meaning that our tax dollars are paying Walmart employees' salaries, all in the name of massive corporate profits. It is truly a poverty machine. Aside from that, Walmart does not do anything to help the American economy, and makes no effort to buy American made products.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Ali Randall Interesting point of view, Ali. Thanks for the post.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@Peace Will Win A poverty machine is one that interferes with commerce.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@bongsucker I noticed Pleasures in the Google map. The change to a dispensary is definitely a sign of the times. Thanks for the post.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@michael.roberts @bongsucker 

Porn, Prostitution and Pot = the staples of Westword advertising

Weedword ... Westweed ... Whoreword ... Westwhore ... Pimpword ... Westpimp ... etc.

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