Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wal-Mart in Downtown Tacoma?

Dan Voelpel's column about Wal-Mart's interest in downtown Tacoma in Sunday's edition of The News Tribune alarmed or angered some readers--those who didn't write it off as an "April Fools Day" piece, that is.

But Voelpel's information about the big box retailers reconfigured urban model for its stores is spot on. The need to keep investors happy and maintain revenue growth has pushed many retailers into exploration (at least) of the generally underserved urban market. If Wal-Mart will pursue major expansion in China (a move some wags point out is an Oriental version of "buying local"), then why not downtowns--especially when, like Tacoma, that geographic area is growing an affluent customer base?

Note the observation from White Plains that their "downtown business improvement district says Wal-Mart has brought a lot of foot traffic downtown". Many districts keep a regular tally of feet on the street, a prime piece of data for retailers. Given our BIA's theme, maybe we should, too.


  1. Anonymous6:28 AM

    hi paul- interesting post with great links!

    i am the mainstreet program coordinator in pittsburgh and just ran across your blog this morning!

    i'll be back!

  2. With all due respect, Paul, Voelpel did have this story published on the first of April.

    They also have an abominable record when dealing with workers' rights.

  3. s a resident of Pacific Tower on Pacific Ave, I would LOVE a Wal-Mart close to where I live.

    The "free" parking Wal-Mart would incorporate into their downtown plan could only bring folks to town who might want to go downtown for other than WM shopping...we desperately need non-collegiate entertainment such as multi-screen movie complex, and upscale dinner-concert venue downtown. People buyin the new condos downtown aren't poor, like to go out (NOT TO SEATTLE!)...we have money to spend. So come on folks, say YES to Wal Mart or any other commercial establishment BRAVE enough to do something different and offer the downtown residents, like me, a place to spend their money!