Anti-Wal-Mart activists have a new weapon in their arsenal: radio towers. News from Spokane, Washington today suggests a promising new tool in the battle against superstores. Wal-Mart has sent out a press release to the media in Spokane, which reads as follows: “Wal-Mart is committed to serving its customers in the Spokane region, and is always looking for new ways to deliver convenience and value to its shoppers. After thorough examination of the property at 44th Avenue and Regal Street, Wal-Mart has determined that existing radio transmission towers immediately adjacent to the site interfere with computer equipment it relies on to run its stores. That equipment is essential to the efficient management of inventory and a critical component to keeping prices low for Wal-Mart customers. Efforts to eliminate the interference have proven unsuccessful, making the site not feasible for a Wal-Mart store. Wal-Mart based its decision strictly on business and operational factors. The company has a commitment to be fiscally responsible to its shareholders and pursuing a store at that location would not be a good investment of their money. Wal-Mart has no immediate plans for an alternate site, but are mindful that our loyal South Hill customers desire a store closer to their neighborhoods. As is standard practice, Wal-Mart will continue to explore opportunities that help it grow and provide its customers with more convenient access to the low prices they expect and value.”
Act fast, neighbors. Before Wal-Mart decides to move into your neighborhood, go out and erect a radio tower to pre-empt them. Without their computer tie-in to Bentonville, these supercenters are just a lifeless metal box. Just about a year ago (1/23/06) Sprawl-Busters reported that the city of Spokane, which already has 4 Wal-Marts within its borders — two discount stores, and two supercenters, was now the target for another Wal-Mart supercenter. Even Wal-Mart addicts have enough places to get their discount fix. But Wal-Mart proposed yet another store on Spokane’s South Hill on a small 7.8 acre parcel. The building site became very controversial, because there had been a wetland there — but a combination of road work by the city and the developer’s own work, the wetland was filled in. The wetland conveniently “disappeared” before Wal-Mart announced its plans for South Hill. But they couldn’t pave over the radio towers. Wal-Mart fans might like to contact Jennifer Holder,Wal-Mart’s PR spokesman in Bellevue, Washington. She can be reached at 425-823-4143. Tell her you’d like to know where you can buy a radio tower.