Wal-Mart recently found itself up Beavercreek without a paddle. Last month, the Beavercreek, Ohio City Council voted 6-1 to reject Wal-Mart’s attempt to turn its existing store into a supercenter. The addition would have added 90,000 s.f. to the existing Wal-Mart — which makes the addition larger than most stores in Beavercreek. Mayor Julie Vann made it clear as water why she opposed the expansion: “There is still room for other development,” she told the Dayton Daily News, “but numerous citizens are complaining we need to slow that big box development down or we are going to have a bunch of mediocre businesses and nobody is going to be surviving well.” Another Council member, Jay Tieber, who moved that Wal-Mart be rejected, added: “We have so many boxes. I see no compelling advantage to the community for doing this. The advantage is to Wal-Mart in my perception.” The expansion required a zoning change, and Council members raised issues with the parking, increased traffic congestion, and Wal-Mart’s poor track record in responding to city complaints about outdoor sales and large trailers parked in the lot. The expansion would have exceeded the square footage limit that was set 8 years ago for the Wal-Mart part of the shopping center. Wal-Mart’s local manager intimated that the company might try to take legal recourse against the city. “We were very surprised by this, naturally,” he said, “and certainly disappointed. We are at a place right now where we are trying to figure out what sort of legal recourse we have and what way we’ll go.”
How do you say “gracious in defeat” in Walspeak? Instead of accepting the fact that city officials did not want a bigger store, Wal-Mart instead tries to figure out if they have a legal leg to stand on in trying to push back against the town. Good neighbors. Wal-Mart might want to listen to what the City Planner, Greg Gaines told the Dayton Daily News: “I think generally there is support for the local business people — the smaller mom and pop type stores, and less support for the out of town big box retailers that have become prevalent across the country. Now that they are in the door, we are realizing there is some downside to those companies. It’s a different feel for the community, I guess, looking at it visually. It’s not the small Main Street, mom and pop, Mayberry tpe of atmosphere. It’s just a less homey environment and different character than Beavercreek has had historically.” But will Wal-Mart pay any heed to this kind of sentiment — or are they too busy consulting with their attorneys? From the heartland of America, another slam dunk of Wal-Mart!