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2008-09-16
Oceanside, CA. Wal-Mart Brings “Small Wars” to California

This week Sprawl-Busters received the following alert from a resident in Escondido, California: "Wal-Mart is at it again, this time in Escondido. Wal-Mart is contacting the Escondido Planning Commission to construct a smaller Wal-Mart neighborhood store. Wal-Mart has tried to enter the San Diego Metro lately and was turned down by the San Diego City Council." The San Diego Union-Tribune reports this week that Wal-Mart is planning to test out its new "smaller" format Marketside store in Oceanside, California in San Diego County. A developer has quietly listed Wal-Mart as the grocery store tenant for 11,000 s.f. of leased space downtown at 848 J St., according to tenant improvement plans filed with the Centre City Development Corp. The Gatlin Development Co., based in San Diego, has applied to Oceanside's Planning Commission to build a small shopping center that will contain a 12,650-s.f. grocery store. The company has also filed with the state for a liquor license for the store. The only announced Marketside pilot stores have been in Arizona, and Wal-Mart would not confirm the Oceanside project. "This (Arizona) is all we have shared on the new format to date," a Wal-Mart spokeswoman told the Union Tribune. "It's a pilot right now, and we're concentrating on Phoenix," Wal-Mart told the North County Times. "At this point we haven't really said whether we're looking at doing this anywhere else." But the Oceanside store proves otherwise. One report has suggested that Wal-Mart eventually hopes to build the Marketside concept to as many as 1,500 locations -- places where the superstore concept won't fit. Wal-Mart's smaller stores are in response to the British invasion of Fresh & Easy grocery stores being developed by Tesco -- a British rival to Wal-Mart's ASDA in the United Kingdom. There are already 7 Fresh & Easy stores in San Diego County, according to the newspaper. For Wal-Mart, the Marketside format is smaller than their 40,000 s.f. Neighborhood Market store. America's Safeway company recently opened The Markiet, a similar smaller-format store in Long Beach, California. The Oceanside store will be near the Vista, California border, where Wal-Mart ran into major opposition when it announced plans to expand its 125,500 s.f. discount store on University Drive. The Wal-Mart in the Oceanside location would be one of five retail buildings in a project being called "Melrose Station." As part of it's application to Oceanside, the Wal-Mart space is described as a "new style, small scale 'boutique' market footprint."

What you can do: Wal-Mart has saturated San Diego County with stores. A group called the Concerned Citizens of Vista has sued city officials for approving the company's plan to expand its discount store into a supercenter. The application in Oceanside is now being reviewed by city staff. No timetable has been released for that review. Readers are urged to email Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood at: jwood@ci.oceanside.ca.us with the following message: "Dear Mayor Wood, your city's Vision statement says that the city wants to "provide an environment that promotes economic development... and preserves its natural resources." More sprawl is not the path to take. There are already 4 Wal-Mart stores within 10 miles of Oceanside, including the Wal-Marts on Vista Way and Marron Road right in Oceanside. The proposed Melrose Station 'Marketside' store bring no added value economically to Oceanside, and will only result in lost sales at existing grocery stores in the area. This kind of saturation is not an economic development strategy -- it is just economic displacement. I urge you, as Mayor, to speak out before the Planning Commission against this kind of growth. This is all about a large corporation trying to protect and expand its market share. But the health, safety and welfare of your community has no relationship to Wal-Mart's quest to dominate the grocery market in your trade area."










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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