Wal-Mart has finally found a loophole to sneak their way into Corvallis. With the current Corvallis zoning laws limiting the size of big box retailers, it made it easy for our town to remain Wal-Mart free as their super centers are much larger in square footage. However, following their new grocery promotion endeavor we have all seen on those pesky commercials, Wal-Mart is coming to Corvallis with the intent of a store that acts like another Safeway, Market of Choice, or Winco. Thinking about the repercussions this could have on local grocery stores and Corvallis citizens, we hit the streets to see what people had to say about the Wal-Mart arrival.
Cindee Lolik, the general manager for First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op in Corvallis, stated that “I don’t think Wal-Mart coming will have an impact on the co-op because our customers normally stay away from large chain stores.” She does however think it will have a negative impact on the already busy traffic on Ninth Street.
David Nove, a local student and National Guard Soldier, said “I hope that local businesses can still succeed, but I am happy because of their large selection and cheap prices.”
Corvallis’ Grocery Outlet Bargain Market owner Terry Neuman stated “we welcome them. It’s free enterprise. This is what America’s all about. We’ve been here 25 years in the community. We have a very loyal customer base, and we’re a family-owned operation. We are very involved in the community. We have very competitive prices, and I think we’ll compete very well head to head with them.”
Mariko Harris, a local student and resident, stated “I think that, overall, Wal-Mart coming is a negative aspect to our community because it does not benefit the Corvallis lifestyle. I would not shop there, because I have other grocery stores that I support more, such as Market of Choice. I also think that as a corporation they are making a bad decision by bringing in an unnecessary grocery store when Corvallis has so many as it is. I think that, as a business standpoint, they would do better by bringing a clothing store or household store because Corvallis has fewer of those and that type of store would appeal to the student population more so than would another grocery store.”
Gabe Acock, an Oregon State University Student of public health says he thought it was a conflict of interest; “there are too many similar businesses in the same area.”
Shivangi Agrawal, another student of Oregon State University, said “it’s a great thing for students because it is always hard to afford expensive groceries.” She also mentioned that she would go to the Albany Wal-Mart once a month for groceries and she will now have a more local option.
Evan Murry, a local Corvallis resident, stated “it’s not a good idea because there are too many grocery stores.” He also said that he would continue to shop at his normal stores for groceries and that the new coming Wal-Mart would not change that.
The following are statements from Corvallis residents that wanted to remain anonymous.
“I am against it because it takes away from local grocers and I support the local movement.”
“Corvallis residents tend to be loyal to the local stores and Wal-Mart won’t change that.”
“Corvallis has character like other college towns do. Wal-Mart won’t change anything in a small town.”
The survey of our town has shown that we all have mixed feelings. College students tend to be more receptive to the upcoming Wal-Mart as it provides a cheaper alternative for them. Other grocery stores don’t seem to feel any major threat, because they have widespread customer loyalty. It seems that we are a neutral town as far as opinion goes about the new addition.