Residents in Upland, California can celebrate this week the passing of another Wal-Mart supercenter. Despite Wal-Mart’s grandiose plans to build 40 supercenters in California, a number of the proposals floated thus far have become mired in controversy, or outright defeated. The giant retailer got a thumbs down in Upland this week. According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, residents opposed to the 98 acre plan “began inundating city officials with letters and phone calls to voice their displeasure.” The developer, Allied Retail Partners, LLC, issued a terse statement that said, “Upland Mayor John Pomierski … has requested that Allied Retail Partners LLC analyze alteratives to the proposed development. We respect the residents, and as always, desire to be a good neighbor.” The Mayor himself told the media that “As the leader of the city, I can honestly say that personally I think it’s not the right plan. I can’t speak for the whole council, but I believe they would agree and certainly our constituents do not want a Wal-Mart Supercenter there.” After such a public drubbing, Wal-Mart was not available for comment. The Mayor said he prefers some retail on the parcel, but also wants to have more than half of the acreage involved be a park for the city. Residents told the newspaper they remain vigilant, because it ain’t over ’till the fat company sings. “It’s not over yet as far as we are concerned,” a spokesman for opponents said. “There are a lot of issues that have to be cleared up. Our group just wants to know what is going to happen, and we want some real answers. We don’t want to be played for fools.” The developers and the city expect to unveil another plan for the parcel at the end of this month.
Congratulations to residents in Upland who managed to push a supercenter out of their community. The Mayor’s unhappiness with this plan did not come out of thin air. He was clearly reflecting the pressure brought to bear by citizens. Just the other day, a business journal writer in another part of the country wrote that “nationally, Wal-Mart’s expansion is unstoppable.” Tell that to the Wal-Mart real estate people in Bentonville who are trying to plot their next target now that they’ve been turned down in Upland. For a partial list of communities that have slam dunked a superstore at least once, go to the “Victorious Secret” page of this website.