I officially changed sides in the debate for a Super Wal-Mart in Ontario, California on the intersection of Fifth and Mountain. I know I might get disowned politically for this position, but I do have some rational arguments to support the project.
A Super Wal-Mart has a supermarket and a wal-mart plus several other businesses within the business. In Las Vegas, the Super Wal-Marts I visited had hair salons, nail salons, a portrait studio and much more. However, due to concerns from the residents maybe we could simplify the project to just have a pharmacy, the McDonalds and the portrait studio like the standard Wal-Mart in Upland.
The critical feature that faces opposition is the supermarket business of wal-mart. The corporation is anti-labor union, where they will close down any store or function that unionizes like the butchers. However supermarkets such as Albertsons are overpriced compared to other stores that are unionized like Stater Brothers. Even with the Albertsons loyalty card, prices are still high. I know residents would like to protect reasonably paid union jobs, but if the company can not compete in the marketplace then customers will make their own decisions.
However, Wal-Mart has massive buying power where they can negotiate the best price possible while maintaining their bottom line. In this new economy, its critical that the people of Ontario, California are able to have this resource.
Since the parcel is near a residential district, I would suggest that the store is open from 6 to 11, and 24 hours during the holiday rush in the winter. This would be the compromise that would help reduce traffic and crime at night.
Also, Wal-Mart could purchase the former Hollywood Video parcel and use it for more parking so the lot would be easier to get in and out compared to the Costco in Montclair.
There are a good number of people who would like the expanded retail opportunities as consumers. However Wal-Mart and the city of Ontario should try to make reasonable accommodations with the residents that surround the project. It seems that Wal-Mart should of built their Super Wal-Mart when they were about ready to build that Sam’s Club back in 2002 near the Ontario Mills since it is in a pure retail/industrial district.
If reasonable accommodations can not be addressed then we should just buy back the property from Wal-Mart and have them try and build in the new development in southern Ontario.
If Wal-Mart wants success with the residents here is the plan:
A. Reduce the operating hours to 6am-11pm
B. Simplify the layout
C. Buy the Hollywood video lot for more parking