Ten Reasons we oppose the Hawthorne Walmart Market Project.

  1. 1.Traffic. Wagaraw Road is a county road and is not designed to handle an intense operation like this. As the mayor pointed out, every other supermarket said no. If you ask 20 supermarkets to come and they all say no, maybe a supermarket doesn’t fit there. Walmart Markets rely on high traffic/low price and margin to operate.

  1. 2.Scale. The Grand Union we had on Lafayette Ave years ago was about 15,000 square feet. It fit in with our small town feel, Hawthorne’s biggest asset. This Walmart Market will be 42,000 square feet with an additional 10,000 square feet of retail space. That isn’t small town.

  1. 3.Walmart kills small business. We have two Mom & Pop pharmacies in town, Olssons and Melcons, who will be threatened by the Walmart pharmacy in this project. We also have an established chain, Rite Aid. We are trying to revitalize our downtown, not add more empty storefronts. Walmart sells deli meats, flowers, assorted general merchandise. Many of our small businesses will be impacted.

  1. 4.Quality. Walmart supermarket was ranked #51 out of 52 by Consumer Reports. It has been in the bottom three for three years running. If we must add an 11th supermarket to our immediate area, should it be the next-to-worst on the list? If we decide to put up with the headaches this project brings, shouldn’t the store be worth it?

  1. 5.Property Values. Adding the next-to-worst supermarket, more traffic, the Walmart name and crime to town will hurt our already depressed property values. The town estimates that we will realize about $30 per household in revenue from this project. If a $300,000 home lost just 1% of it’s value, that is 100 years of projected tax relief gone in an instant. It just isn’t worth it to anyone but the developer.

  1. 6.Jobs. Walmart does not create jobs, it replaces better paying ones. Walmart has a 70% first year employee turnover, and has very low job satisfaction. Ask someone who has worked there, it is not a good place to work. Many of our residents have jobs in the nearby 10 supermarkets, many of those better jobs with security and benefits will be threatened.

  2. 7.Crime. 24/7 operations will place our safety and our police at risk. Despite recent assurances by the developer that he will not open the supermarket 24 hours a day, he was given that legal right and still has it.
    If you search Walmart Markets nationwide, you will see they are nearly all open 24 hours a day. It is the business model. There’s a reason that the developer applied for 24/7, and a reason the town granted it to him. We don’t trust Walmart not to continue seeking 24 hour operations.

  1. 8.Future development. An anchor store provides the anchor for nearby development. A better store like Kilroy’s or Trader Joe’s will attract very different business than a Walmart Market. Walmart is aggressive about influencing development around it’s stores, visit WalmartRealty.com and see. This is a crossroads, and many of us don’t want a low end discount future for Hawthorne. We think Hawthorne deserves better.

  1. 9.Process. How you get there is as important as where you are going. The approval process for this project is the subject of a lawsuit, and may result in the approval being thrown out. Ordinances were passed to change the laws for the developer so he would not need variances, instead of asking him to adapt his project to existing laws. Those should be repealed.

  1. 10. Net Loss for Hawthorne. There is no such thing as free money, and the reason a Supermarket is a high ratable is because it imposes higher costs on a community than a lower ratable, like Kohler’s, for example. We believe that the new taxes from a Walmart Market will be offset by the costs of having them here, including services we’ll provide, lost property values and quality of life issues that we’ll suffer.
    Hawthorne deserves better.