Will DC Save Money, Live Better With Wal-Mart?

Photo courtesy of
‘Welcome to Wal-Mart – We have blue light special’
courtesy of ‘kowitz’

I didn’t think I’d see the day that Wal-Mart would move into The District; but then again I never thought Costco would move into New York City or that Target would inhabit Columbia Heights.

The ongoing effort for the retail giant/labor union foe to build a location within Washington, DC may have come to a head this week. After announcing a deal to build a 2nd store in Chicago, the Washington Post is reporting that Wal-Mart is now close to finalizing a deal open a store in Northeast DC.

Anonymous sources within Wal-Mart told The Post that a deal should be in place by this fall to open a store on New York Avenue NE near the intersection of Bladensburg Road. The proposed site is 11 acres wide and wouldn’t need any zoning changes, a problem that came up for previous sites Wal-Mart has checked out. With a reputation like Wal-Mart’s, the corporation is looking for a location that would require the least amount of hassling. Right now the proposed piece of land is home to various auto parts shops and the Skylark Lounge, a strip club.

I wonder which would be more despised: a strip club or a Wal-Mart?

The new Wal-Mart would join other nearby stores in Hyattsville, MD & Alexandria, VA but of course the retailer would love to have a location in a major metropolitan city like DC.

Outside of the possible traffic implications around that area, I don’t see much of an impact outside the immediate area surrounding the proposed location. The site is a good 35-45 minute walk from the Red Line, any city dweller without a car would most likely opt to go to Target. Would those with cars want to drive into Northeast to shop at Wal-Mart? I wonder how the Target vs. Wal-Mart brand war would break down if this deal comes to fruition.

Then there’s the whole stigma of Wal-Mart. We don’t mind protesting anything and everything in this city- will we see a big anti Wal-Mart outcry?

Personally I grew up shopping at Wal-Mart because it was closer to home than the local Target. When I moved down here it was the opposite, and I grew to prefer the higher quality of Target. Would you shop at Wal-Mart if they opened shop in DC?

Patrick has been blogging since before it was called blogging. At We Love DC Patrick covers local Theatre, and whatever catches his eye. Patrick’s blog stories, rants, and opinions have been featured in The Washington City Paper, Washington Post Express, CNN, Newschannel 8 Washington, and NBC Washington. See why Patrick loves DC.

You can e-mail him at ppho [at] welovedc.com

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8 thoughts on “Will DC Save Money, Live Better With Wal-Mart?

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  2. Am I thrilled this is a walmart? No, but it is a lot of jobs and revenue for the city when we desperately need both.

    I’d rather a Target, or better yet, a Wegmans, but when unemployment’s as high as it is, this is a positive development.

  3. This deal wouldn’t be this close if Thomas hadn’t talked to unions since he’s closely aligned with them. The test will come with the design (suburban vs. urban model), the effort to train/pipeline employment, especially management, and whether District tax incentives will be outlayed. I am disappointed that there’s more certainity for the project in Ward 5 instead of in Wards 7 and 8. I look forward to how the deal plays out.

  4. Politics aside, I’m thrilled that Wal-Mart’s coming. Local jobs and affordable prices essentials are a good thing about now.

  5. I consider myself kind of a Walmart moderate. I personally prefer shopping at Target (where I find the goods to be of better quality) and at other grocery stores, but beyond my personal preferences, I prefer that my neighbors have access to grocery stores instead of just fast food restaurants, and as Phil said, low prices on essentials should be welcome in the community.

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