Wal-Mart Tries To Fit In
By George Anderson
With all the dust being kicked up about Wal-Mart seeking to build stores in
some communities, you might think the retail giant was simply running roughshod
over local concerns and doing as it pleased once construction begins.
If you thought that, you’d be surprised to see the lengths Wal-Mart is going
to blend into its surroundings in places such as the historic St. Thomas section
of New Orleans.
The Times-Picayune reports, “The St. Thomas Wal-Mart is unique because
of façade, parking, traffic flow and other intricate changes needed to
fit into the historical neighborhood.”
The concrete blocks on the exterior of the store are “colored to mimic the
hues of 19th century masonry warehouses that lined Tchoupitoulas Street. The
entrance façade is cut up in several steep elevations, breaking up the
large, solid-wall front massive blue Wal-Mart sign seen in typical suburban
In other locations, Wal-Mart has downsized its footprint with either a Neighborhood
Market or a 99,000 square foot version of its Supercenter to fit the constraints
of local markets. The retailer has its second Neighborhood Market in Louisiana
under construction in Baton Rouge.
Do Wal-Mart and other big box retailers take an
unfair hit for failing to blend into local communities? How important will smaller
formats such as Neighborhood Markets be to the continued growth of Wal-Mart
and other big box retailers? – George
Anderson – Moderator