NS: Walmart welcomed in Greenwood

Nancy Kelly
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The Kings County Advertiser/Register

Walmart Canada announced Sept. 23 it had purchased the lease option on the Greenwood Zellers property from Target. It is planning to open a Walmart store in west Kings in 2012.

[GREENWOOD, NS] — Walmart's plans to set up shop in Greenwood appear to be going over well in the local community.

Walmart Canada announced Sept. 23 it had purchased the lease option on the Greenwood Zellers property from Target, owner of the Zellers brand. It is planning to open a Walmart store in west Kings in 2012.

Darrell Wade, general manager of the Greenwood Mall, which is attached to Zellers by a strip mall, said the Walmart addition would go a long way to restoring Greenwood's image as a shopping destination.

"Ten years ago, before Walmart came to New Minas, the two shopping areas were on the same level. Walmart changed that. And now Walmart will change it again, but this time in our favour," explained Wade. "I know Walmart has been sniffing around down here for years."

He recognizes some vendors in and outside the Greenwood Mall may feel threatened by Walmart's presence, but is quick to point out there are also opportunities which come with a large big box store opening its doors.

"Smaller retailers can feed off Walmart's traffic. They don't have to run for cover, but they may need to create a niche market," he said.

Wade is optimistic the news will benefit his business by having people knocking on his door to set up in close proximity to the retail giant.

"Walmart was the start of things for New Minas, and it has never looked back. Let's face it: we have been living in a Walmart world for years, but getting none of the benefit. That is about to change."

Greenwood village commission chairman Don MacDonald is also pleased. He received an email Sept. 27 from Walmart's head office.

"They want to keep us in the loop and I appreciate that," said MacDonald, adding it will probably help keep residents shopping closer to home.

"Right now everybody drives to New Minas (to shop), and with the cost of gas going up, people will have better shopping options right here at home when Walmart opens."

Brad Beardsley, owner-operator of a specialty print shop in Kingston, says his business won't be affected by Walmart's presence, but he regrets the demise of service and product quality he associates with big-box stores and discount department store chains.

"For me price does not trump service," said Beardsley. "There are customers out there who want a better level of service. Independent business operators can position themselves to offer that."

John Bartlett, president of the Central Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce, is "mostly positive" about the news. He thinks having a Walmart in Greenwood will improve options for shoppers and retailers while possibly saving and generating jobs.

Bartlett believes anything providing customers with options is positive.

"People want choice, the more they have the better it is for business," he said, adding competition in the market is good a thing.

"The increased traffic that comes with a Walmart is also good for restaurants and gas stations, not just retailers."

Organizations: Walmart, Zellers, Greenwood village commission Central Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce

Geographic location: Greenwood, New Minas, Canada Kingston

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