Lucky Pembroke Pines, Florida! Wal-Mart has blessed them twice. Once with a 127,000 s.f. Wal-Mart discount store, and now, just six years later, with a larger 204,000 s.f. superstore next store. The “old” discount store, which is only six years old, is being completely demolished. This week crews began tearing down the existing Wal-Mart on Pines Boulevard, which is nearly the size of three football fields. The old Wal-Mart will now serve as a parking lot for the newer, bigger supercenter. The original discount store opened on Aug. 19, 1998, ten years after Wal-Mart had started building the larger supercenters. As the Sun-Sentinel newspaper noted, “By the store’s sixth birthday, no sign of it should remain.” The new 24-hour supercenter includes a grocery store, a nail salon, hair salon, McDonald’s, portrait studio, bank and more. The supercenter opened at 7 a.m. on June 16, and the old store closed the night before. How symmetrical of Wal-Mart! The old store will be rubble within six to eight weeks. The old store’s manager was seen scraping together debris from the six year old building that she plans to mount on little stands and give to the 100 Wal-Mart employees who worked there, as sort of cultural souvenirs of the short-lived lifespan of a discount store. Heck, maybe shoppers will even want to buy pieces of the old store as historic keepsakes. Look for it in the “Miscellaneous” Aisle.
It’s not that Pembroke Pines needed another grocery store. In fact, the Wal-Mart supercenter is likely to succeed by taking sales away from existing grocery stores nearby, like the Publix. No, the concept here is market share. Wal-Mart convinces the city to accept a 127,000 s.f. store, then tears it down six years later to put up a bigger store of the same kind, just with a grocery store added. This kind of mindless development, which bears no relationship to consumer need or land use planning, is what passes for progress in America. Build a store three times the size of a football field, then tear it down and turn it into souvenirs on mounted stands. Lucky Pembroke Pines!