Walmart Coming to Town – a blessing or a curse?

The topic of Walmart coming to our community is a hot one.  While one philosophy is that it will draw the shoppers from north of here to shop in Campbell River instead of going to Courtenay, those who are not fond of the retail giant are concerned about how it will effect other local businesses.  Super Value is slated to close at the end of the year, and the Walmart Supercentre is only just on the horizon. 

Walmart Supercentre

Walmart Supercentre

It doesn’t seem that anything will stop the progress now – as the earlier protests were centred around its effect on the estuary, but somehow that issue was skirted around and now Home Depot has found a home in the spot where Walmart was first intended to be.

I have put in a link to an article ‘The Price of Walmart Coming to Town’ that is an indepth analysis of the pros and cons of having this type of retail business in any community, and would be of interest to anyone who doesn’t mind reading a few pages. (It’s a little long).

In short, the author concedes the point that Walmart will create jobs in the short term, but wonders at what cost in the long term – pointing out that often a Walmart will take away business, and therefore jobs, from other established retail businesses that can’t compete with its low pricing.  The jobs that are lost may be replaced by the ones created at Walmart, but, the pay rate is generally lower there, than at other stores.  This in turn reduces the spending power of retail employees in the town and when people don’t or can’t spend, all businesses suffer.

I recently spoke to the woman who represents Welcome Wagon in Campbell River.  She makes about 40 visits per month to new residents – so people are moving here and that is why our real estate market is still booming – however, she doesn’t have as many businesses participating as she used to.  This is due to them closing.  Does it make sense at this time, for an enormous retail business to open here?  Apparently, the one slated for Campbell River is supposed to also offer groceries.  It seems we have enough grocery outlets already, with Zellers and Shoppers Drug Mart having expanded already into that area.It will take a year or two after Walmart opens I suspect, for us to see the outcome of its presence here in Campbell River.  Let’s hope it is a positive outcome.


2 thoughts on “Walmart Coming to Town – a blessing or a curse?

  1. I enjoyed shopping at the Campbell River Super Valu in the brief year I lived in your town. It brought back memories of the Super Valu my mom shopped at back in the Okanagan. However, it was pretty apparent that Loblaws had basically left the location to fend for itself after it opened up the Superstore a mile down the highway.

    My guess is that Loblaws is planning a non-unionized “No Frills” outlet in the location to help compete against WalMart.

    • I think your guess is close to the mark. I just heard yesterday that Loblaws retains ownership of the property for another six years and that another store may be slotted to go in there. It is a good place for a store, but it means we have a lot of grocery shopping to do in the future!

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