Monroe, CT. Unpopular Wal-Mart Moves Closer To Groundbreaking
Wal-Mart is not opening many new stores this year, focusing instead on how to grow their online sales. But if things go the retailer’s way, they could have a 150,000 s.f. store open in the town of Monroe. Connecticut a year from now. But many people in this small community of 23,000 people were hoping never to see Wal-Mart darken their doors.
Local residents formed a group called Keep Wal-Mart Out of Monroe, and started a Facebook page. The group wrote: “Developers are planning a BIG BOX store (unofficially Walmart) across from Victorinox on 2 Victoria Drive in Monroe. Directly off of Rte 25. 160,000 square feet, 600 parking spaces, open 24/7. NO property tax relief / increased municipal costs, traffic congestion and constant truck delivery traffic, minimum wage jobs, NO benefits, no real jobs for Monroe residents, small businesses can’t compete with the BIG BOX, Don’t let our small New England town be bulldozed by Walmart.”
In May, Wal-Mart came to the town’s Zoning Board for some interior and exterior changes to their big box. “The retail landscape has changed dynamically in the past four years,” Wal-Mart told the town, “as witnessed by the growth of Amazon and the closing of many former mainstay retail stores, resulting in a need for consistent branding toward the millennial age group as consumers,”
So Wal-Mart proposed dropping some gables, and changing the color of the building from brown to battleship grey—to make it look like all the other grey Wal-Marts that millennials have come to know.
The developer of this huge store recently offered to give the town two acres of open space on the back of the property as a buffer between Wal-Mart and the adjacent neighborhood. Any store this size abutting a residential zone is a planning failure, because these lands uses are incompatible.
One clueless member of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce told the Connecticut Post that although small businesses are concerned about Wal-Mart’s impact on the mom and pop shops in Monroe, attendance at a series of workshops offered by the Chamber on strategies on how to deal with the arrival of a big box store “was not as well attended as he had hoped.” That’s because merchants understand that such “survive and thrive” workshops are a joke, and have been offered since the 1980s, with no apparent salvation or the small retailers who have been dying off for decades.
This same spokesman for the Monroe Chamber of Commerce said that the imminent groundbreaking for the Wal-Mart would wake some people up. “Those who have lost interest will come alive again, but at that point it will be too late,” he said.
What you can do: To see this latest update from Wal-Mart's effort to push its way forward despite oppostion, go to:
Remember Sam Walton's statement in his autobiography that "if some town--for whatever reason--doesn't want us to go in there--we're not going to go in a create a fuss."