The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an interesting story providing some good context around Walmart’s expansion in the area — including the store planned for South Milwaukee.
Read the story here. From it:
In recent years, Wal-Mart has opened supercenters in suburbs ringing the city, and it has converted two existing stores in Milwaukee County into supercenters by adding full grocery departments.
Now, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is planning to bring its newest generation of grocery and general merchandise stores to locations around the metro area. The company hasn’t announced a number, but a retail industry source estimated there could be eight or nine sites under consideration.
“We’re looking to serve our customers all over the state,” said Wisconsin-based Wal-Mart spokeswoman Lisa Nelson. “There’s plenty of opportunity in Milwaukee.”
Last week, South Milwaukee agreed to sell 3.5 acres of land to Gatlin Development Co., a Tennessee-based developer that is assembling what will be an 11-acre parcel on N. Chicago Ave. Gatlin hopes to build a nearly 120,000-square-foot Wal-Mart store that would sell both groceries and general merchandise. The size is a bit smaller than its typical 140,000-square-foot supercenter and is sized appropriately for the neighborhood, according to Nelson. …
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, faces more challenges entering the area than the Wisconsin-based supermarkets. When Wal-Mart tried in 2008 to build a store in Cudahy, for example, officials refused to approve the plan, hoping to get something better. News of Wal-Mart’s suburban plans posted on the JSOnline website last week brought dozens of negative responses from people who identified themselves as living in the communities, but also drew favorable comments.
Wal-Mart spokesmen cite new jobs and low prices as reasons that communities should welcome them.
Danielle Devlin, executive director of South Milwaukee’s Community Development Authority, agrees.
“Wal-Mart has a community giving program,” Devlin notes. “We have a tradition of our corporations being involved, but Bucyrus is pulling back from that. In terms of an economic impact, it will be significant.”
And not only that, Devlin notes: “Residents will be able to buy a pair of socks in their own community.”