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  1. #1
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    What if Walmart had stores that were easy to ride to?

    There's a lot of things to hate about Walmart--they're big, ugly, unfair cutthroats, shoddy merchandise, etc.--but I don't necessarily want to get into all that. I'm just using Walmart as an example of all the big box stores.

    As a cyclist, one thing I hate about Walmarts is that they're hard to get to. They're located out in the middle of a former cornfield, usually on the busiest highway in town. If you do manage to get there alive, you still have to ride through a dangerous parking lot and good luck finding a decent place to lock your bike.

    But what if Walmart had small stores in the city near you. Let's say they started building stores that were only about five to ten thousand square feet. Obviously the selection would be less, and the prices might be slightly higher. But let's say they still had a lot of stuff you wanted at a good price (cheap inner tubes and blinkies, for example), and one was located in town and on your commute route. And let's say they had beautiful covered bike racks, and a bus shelter near the front door.

    Would you shop there? Do you think this is a good business plan for Walmart or for any other big box stores?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  2. #2
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    NEVER !



    WAL*MART = the new polio.
    Crippling America, 1 superstore at a time.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  3. #3
    Life is short Ride hard
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    If you know of Meijers they tried this in michigan with mini stores. I have not heard of any success from making mini stores. Due to big boxes they sucked up all the mom and pop groceries that were on every corner of the street. I cant wait for peak oil to come about it will teach everybody that what we need less o f is sprawl and more tight knit communities with excellent urban development and people stop buying mcmansions
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  4. #4
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanparrish
    If you know of Meijers they tried this in michigan with mini stores. I have not heard of any success from making mini stores. Due to big boxes they sucked up all the mom and pop groceries that were on every corner of the street. I cant wait for peak oil to come about it will teach everybody that what we need less o f is sprawl and more tight knit communities with excellent urban development and people stop buying mcmansions
    There's a Meijer mini-store about a mile from my house. But it's really a gas station/party store* and not a real store at all. Did Meijer try actual small local stores? What were/are they like? For some reason I hate Walmart but love Meijer's. But Meijer's isn't any easier to bike to than Walmart.

    *Party store is what we call convenience stores here in Michigan.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  5. #5
    Senior Member granularus's Avatar
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    Actually, Wal Mart is now opening smaller stores in neighborhoods - they are called Neighborhood Markets. The ones that I've seen are about twice the size you suggest. The prices are comparable to the big box stores on the items they carry.

  6. #6
    Dare to be weird!
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    There is an "urban Walmart" in the planning stage at a nearly abandoned shopping mall 2.5 miles from where I live. There's some controversy about it but as I see it, it should have easier bike access than a suburban big box store on a major freeway. The street infrastructure should be able to handle the Walmart traffic just as it did thirty years ago when the abandoned mall was the most popular one in town. I have my fingers crossed. If they leave the side streets in bikeable condition and integrate with a nearby bus transit center, it could be great for carfree people in the nearby neighborhoods. There is quite a bit of existing and underutilized retail near the proposed Walmart, but my personal opinion is that most of it would benefit from the increased retail traffic. The existing retailers have already been competing somewhat successfully with big box suburban stores.

  7. #7
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    But what if Walmart had small stores in the city near you. Let's say they started building stores that were only about five to ten thousand square feet. Obviously the selection would be less, and the prices might be slightly higher. But let's say they still had a lot of stuff you wanted at a good price (cheap inner tubes and blinkies, for example), and one was located in town and on your commute route. And let's say they had beautiful covered bike racks, and a bus shelter near the front door.

    Would you shop there? Do you think this is a good business plan for Walmart or for any other big box stores?
    There's a Walmart and a Sam's club < 1 miles from my house (which is pretty much in the middle of the city). They have great bus access-- in fact, their bus stop is the only one in town I actually see people waiting at. They have bike racks in the back. I sometimes go to Walmart for hardware-type items because they are the closest hardware store, but I normally buy groceries at a closer store. I never buy bike stuff there because the quality is dreadful.

    Despite all that, I personally depise larger department stores. I visit a mall about once every 2 years and try to buy as much as I need/can on the internet. I generally only go to Walmart/Sam's because they are close.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lamplight's Avatar
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    One of the Walmarts in my town isn't that hard to get to. It's not easy, and you have to lock your bike up way back in the automotive department, but it's doable. I rarely go there because I loath shopping there, but there are a couple of things that only Walmart has so once in a while I make the trip. Plus when people see me riding in the parking lot they look at me like I'm from another planet, and sometimes I think I may be.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=-
    NEVER !



    WAL*MART = the new polio.
    Crippling America, 1 superstore at a time.
    +1
    I DO NOT appreciate Walmart's business plan or the way they got where they are today. I realize it is the way business is done...today, but that doesn't mean I have to support it. And in answer to the OP question NO. I actually walk PAST a Walmart to shop at a different brand of grocery store

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  10. #10
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    I seldom visit big box stores in my area due to the distance involved in getting to them, plus I dislike the way some of our local big box stores are maintained and managed. The local merchants are much closer to my home anyway, and I know the owners on a first name basis since I know many of them by growing up with them . The purchase price might be higher buying from a local merchant, but more of my dollars will stay here locally and benefiting the local economy.

  11. #11
    break-beats turtle77's Avatar
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    I really wish that the cities would be left alone. It's bad enough that the suburbs are so homogenized...

    For example, Minneapolis, where I live, has started to become overwrought with condos - really just in the last couple of years - and I understand that this is a trend happening in a lot of major cities across America (and maybe the world). It's classic gentrification. The condo companies will often come in to a neighborhood, buy up perfectly good (and often beautiful and artistic) buildings that have housed businesses and residents for generations. They demolish them and erect a huge boxy homgenized eyesore in their place. The residences in these buildings are usually not affordable (or desirable) to the people who already live in the neighborhood, so the potential buyers come in from somewhere else, usually the suburbs, to buy a residence in a "hip, new part of town". I feel like this tends to change the entire aesthetic of the area. I don't know for sure, but I think that the old businesses that were supporting the community are maybe less desirable to the new residents, so new businesses begin to move in as well, and they tend to be the same homogenous crap that exists in the suburbs. Or worse yet, the new residents will jump in their SUV's and drive back out to the suburbs to go shopping, leaving the small businesses up the creek.

    I'm not resistant to change, but it would be nice for there to be places where the little guys still have a chance. That's why I l chose to live in a city in the first place. I want to have choices. I don't want to feel like the only place I can go to shop is Wal-Mart.

    You can have your big box stores in the suburbs. Leave the cities alone please. Let them keep some of their character.

  12. #12
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=&#163;em in Pa=-
    NEVER !
    - i believe the proper phrasing of Wal-Mart's advertising campaigns have been:

    Wal-Mart: Always low prices - Always

    p.s. all Wally Worlds are easy to bike to 'round here, but i do all my shopping on-line to cheat on sales taxes...

    :-)

  13. #13
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    I probably wouldn't go to Walmart, but I'll admit to riding to a Target in my area a few times. It isn't too terribly hard to get to. There's a "bike/ped path" along the busy street in front of the shopping center that includes the target and there's a nice U style bike rack right next to the door though not covered.

  14. #14
    Ya never know 'til ya try littledog's Avatar
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    My part of town is too poor to support a Walmart. We do have a Kmart though. And as it is only a few blocks away I walk there.

    I think if our country-USA- gets more affluent then WalMart will be hurting. Then they may move to areas where they have a more captive customer base. Meaning people who don't have cars and won't take a 2 hour bus ride just to get there. First they need to drive the final nail into Kmart which won't be long. Then they will wipe out the smaller retailers who now serve the poorer areas. When they have total market saturation in the poorer areas then they will raise their prices to ghetto store levels. It's a loose,loose situation.

    So in answer to your question- no I would not support a smaller and more conveniently located WalMart.

  15. #15
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Well, living in Walmartkansaw, the home of Walmart, I have to admit that there is a Walmart right on my commute to work and a Sam's Club beside it with a bus shelter in between. But no bike racks. But that's not surprising. Wild Oat Market is the only business in town that I've found that has a bicycle rack.

    But Walmart is my store of last choice.

  16. #16
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    I'd have a lot more respect for some of those big box retailers if they would actually open a supermarket inside the Detroit, MI city limits. Meijer won't do it, and neither will Wal-Mart. There are exactly 2, small Farmer Jack grocery stores and I think possibly one Kroger in the city. That's it for 900,000 people. In contrast, the city I live in now has a bit under 540,000 people within the city limits, and I can't even begin to count how many supermarkets there are. I'm sure some of you in rural areas can understand how difficult it would be to live that way. Unbelievable.

  17. #17
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    Still would not shop there.

  18. #18
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    I was on a committee to fight WAL*MARTs and irresponsible development in
    Penna. and actually sat in meetings with WAL*MART attorneys. At the risk of
    going off topic, WAL*MARTS 'superstore every 20 mile' plan for rural
    areas and thier calculated bankrupting of legal funds of the towns they annex
    is reprehensible and unethical. What people save in cost of chinese made merchandise
    gets picked up later in lower property values, higher service fees for your township
    and ravaged zoning laws that allow more negative entities into the community.
    A plague.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  19. #19
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    I think "big box" stores are just too inconvenient. I'm still astounded that people would put up with wandering around a bid, self-service warehouse located way out in East Overshoe. Even if they were easy to get to, there is too much hassle for me.

    Paul

  20. #20
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    I dunno about Walmart being hard to get to. Most that I have seen are pretty cleverly located. In some cases, they just had good vision or something because it seems like where Walmart plants, a business district grows up around them.

    In our city, there USED to be a vibrant downtown stacked with small businesses. Then, some brilliant minds decided to tear it down in the 70s/80s and put up a mall. The mall died in the late 90's and the suburbs moved the vibrancy from downtown to the outskirts. Now, the big box stores are a lot more convenient to get to than the old downtown for most of the cities families.
    Mike

  21. #21
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb
    I'd have a lot more respect for some of those big box retailers if they would actually open a supermarket inside the Detroit, MI city limits. Meijer won't do it, and neither will Wal-Mart. There are exactly 2, small Farmer Jack grocery stores and I think possibly one Kroger in the city. That's it for 900,000 people. In contrast, the city I live in now has a bit under 540,000 people within the city limits, and I can't even begin to count how many supermarkets there are. I'm sure some of you in rural areas can understand how difficult it would be to live that way. Unbelievable.
    You are so right! I'm so glad that you brought this up, donnmb.

    If you're carfree (and many are) in a big inner city like Detroit, it's almost impossible to purchase fresh produce or any other nutritious food, at any price--let alone at a price you can afford. This is a major public health problem in the USA. The rates of diabetes have skyrocketed in these "food deserts," but diabetics can't find the foods they should be eating, especially fresh produce, lean meats and fish, and low fat dairy. Their only option is to buy fast food, or overpriced convenience food in a gas station or party store. (Rite-Aid is one of the few big box chains that locates in the inner city, but they don't carry much food.)

    I don't know what the solution is. Some neighborhoods carpool to the suburbs to shop at Meijer stores, or I imagine, at Walmarts. A local nutrition activist who lives in a "food desert" here in Lansing persuaded a local convenience store to start carrying fresh produce. She actually volunteers her time to display the store's produce attractively, and she provides nutrition and cooking tips to those who want it.

    Given how serious this problem is, I wonder if it would really be so terrible if Walmart, or any other chain, came into inner city food deserts and opened some small stores.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Just a couple of blocks from where I live this Bed, Bath & Beyond store opened:



    Its a 50,000 sq ft monster entirely underground. DC has been actively courting big box retailers to open stores in the city. Not sure whether its a good or bad thing but DC wants to retain those dollars instead of seeing people drive to the suburbs to visit these stores. DC had a plan to put in a Walmart but the deal fell through, I think, because DC wanted to limit the size to something smaller than the state of Rhode Island .

    Would I shop at a big box if it were convenient? Probably would, especially if there were no other alternatives. But I recognize that there are ethical concerns and would prefer to spend my money in smaller, locally owned stores instead. Walmart I put in a different category altogether. No shopping there for me.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    I try to avoid big box retailers. I recieved a gift card for Best Buy and went and picked up a couple of CDs the other day. The Best Buy is located in a very bicycle oriented meighborhood of San Francisco right off a major bike lane route and yet... it doesn't have ANY place to lock your bike! Not only that, but the service there sucks anyway.

  24. #24
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29
    I try to avoid big box retailers. I recieved a gift card for Best Buy and went and picked up a couple of CDs the other day. The Best Buy is located in a very bicycle oriented meighborhood of San Francisco right off a major bike lane route and yet... it doesn't have ANY place to lock your bike! Not only that, but the service there sucks anyway.
    I would have done the www.bestbuy.com thing if it had been me. I have about given up finding bike racks anywhere near the big box stores, the local grocery store I shop at on a regular basis is going to be installing one to keep several of us from locking our bikes to the cart rack Right now we are working with them as to the best location and type of rack.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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  25. #25
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    If you're carfree (and many are) in a big inner city like Detroit, it's almost impossible to purchase fresh produce or any other nutritious food, at any price--let alone at a price you can afford. This is a major public health problem in the USA. The rates of diabetes have skyrocketed in these "food deserts," but diabetics can't find the foods they should be eating, especially fresh produce, lean meats and fish, and low fat dairy. Their only option is to buy fast food, or overpriced convenience food in a gas station or party store. (Rite-Aid is one of the few big box chains that locates in the inner city, but they don't carry much food.)

    I don't know what the solution is. Some neighborhoods carpool to the suburbs to shop at Meijer stores, or I imagine, at Walmarts. A local nutrition activist who lives in a "food desert" here in Lansing persuaded a local convenience store to start carrying fresh produce. She actually volunteers her time to display the store's produce attractively, and she provides nutrition and cooking tips to those who want it.

    Given how serious this problem is, I wonder if it would really be so terrible if Walmart, or any other chain, came into inner city food deserts and opened some small stores.
    I was reading this study somewhere that people in the poorer ends of the socioeconomic scale actually have better health when they can shop in a supermarket where nutritional labelling is prominently displayed. They're not talking about natural food supermarkets, either. That's compelling enough for me, despite the fact that I'm not a fan of big-box retailers. There is so much abandoned and burnt-out (literally!) urban wasteland within the Detroit city limits, there would be plenty of space to build some behemoth chain store and you wouldn't have to tear down anything salvageable, either. I also suspect that residents would be thrilled to have it.

    The one huge barrier to your carpooling idea for most Detroiters is the racial divide between city and suburbs. I grew up near a Meijer they opened on Fort St. in Southgate, which is a location very convenient for SW Detroiters to travel to for shopping. Amazingly enough, there's even a regular bus line along Fort St. I saw this going on for the first 3-4 months they were open. During that time, I also saw security hassle anyone not white to an extreme degree. (Downriver is very white, as I'm sure you know.) They followed them around the store, they threatened to call police when someone not white had a customer service complaint. There was always police there for the littlest things, and almost always involved someone not white. It was all very blatant, raw, and consistent. After about 4 months of this, nearly every shopper in the store was white, and that was that.

    So, like you, I am answerless, other than to observe that something has to give.

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