Categorized | Eureka, Politics

Walmart Admits To Its Bayshore Mall Plans

Gottschalks is being remodeled for new 73,000 square foot store

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel 

 

Walmart is coming to Eureka.

After months of speculation over the ‘silent treatment’ from Eureka City Hall concerning the unnamed “tenant” remodeling the ex-Gottschalks store at Bayshore Mall, Walmart’s public relations department swung into action to admit to what they’ve been doing there for the last few months.

“Walmart stores offer a quick and convenient shopping experience for customers who need household basics, prescriptions and general merchandise all at our everyday low prices,” Debbie Rood, Walmart’s northern California region general manager said in a press statement. “We are excited to bring this store closer to our customers and to join the Eureka business community as well as supporting local non-profits through our ongoing charitable giving.”

Walmart boasts that the store will provide approximately 200 jobs and the associated tax revenue for the local economy — unstated by their corporate PR department, naturally, is how many jobs in locally-owned small businesses will be lost as a result. A study by the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley found that Walmart’s entry into a metropolitan area eliminates similar jobs that pay about 18% more than Walmart. In those areas, the total average earnings of retail workers fell by 0.5 to 0.8%.

Corporate plans for the building at the northwest corner of Broadway and Truesdale Street include a pharmacy and supermarket, along with the typical merchandise of electronics, sporting goods, toys and apparel, most of which is shipped in from overseas manufacturers in countries such as China. Walmart spokepersons estimate their construction activities, which began with demolition and site preparation, will continue for approximately 12 to 15 months.

Although not typically associated with cutting-edge environmental activism, Walmart officials bragged about their use of energy-efficient technology to reduce water and electricity usage and minimize waste. These features include LED lighting, a computerized energy management system for their heating, ventilating and air conditioning units, and the use of recycled materials from the demolition of the former Gottschalks store.

A point of contention already brought up in Walmart’s opening propaganda salvo is the average wage they will be paying their workers. In this initial release, Walmart senior manager of public affairs and government relations Deborah Herron claims that its regular, full-time hourly ‘associates’ in California stores are paid $12.69 per hour. Yet according to IBIS World, an independent market research group, Walmart’s average sales associate makes only $8.81 per hour, scarcely above the state minimum wage.

The reaction of local government officials is unclear; the current majority on the Eureka City Council has pushed for increasing local employment by expanding retail services — although they had the Balloon Tract in mind given local ex-billionaire Rob Arkley’s plans for a Marina Center development to include a ‘big box’ retailer such as Home Depot. Eureka voters overwhelmingly rejected in 1999 a plan pushed by Walmart to re-zone the Balloon Tract in their favor.

Beyond the halls of government, the local ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement has already targeted the potential Walmart development as a battle they’re itching to fight. A march on ‘Black Friday’ from the  county courthouse to Bayshore Mall apparently fizzled, while others have called for the renewal of a proposed ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage in Eureka to $10 an hour or higher to deter big box development at sub-living wage levels.

16 Responses to “Walmart Admits To Its Bayshore Mall Plans”

  1. Derek Gendvil says:

    We’ve beat them before, & we’ll stop doing it again!

  2. AyreBlossum says:

    The Walmart zombies are invading Eureka! Everybody run and support your locally-owned businesses to hide from the zombies!

  3. hmmm says:

    So Skippy,

    Judy H at the NCJ has just called you out in the comments in her NCJ story saying that you plagerized the August NCJ story.

    PLEASE, Charles and Skips, I am BEGGING you – SUE HER – this is outrageous, and I read your story and it was MUCH more chock full of information than the NCJ had in their snippets.

    At the very least, you, Charles, and the Sentinal are owed a HUGE apology from the North Coast Journal.

  4. quark says:

    Skippy, Charles and HumbSen – Judy Hodgeson at the NCJ blogthing has accused you guys of plagerizing the NCJ with Skippy’s Walmart article.

    You should DEMAND an apology and a retraction. Skippy’s article was much better than the NCJ article, with a ton more information.

    • I’ve only just tuned into this on-line scuffle over our mutual Walmart coverage, having just returned from a marathon Eureka School Board meeting– I didn’t see the Journal there, of course I haven’t seen them there all year, but that’s another story!

      I’ve reviewed the Journal article in question, and I’ve re-looked at Skippy’s write-up, and I didn’t see any basis for the accusations hinted at here.

      I certainly don’t want any anonymous comment makers calling Judy Hodgson ‘sleazy’ or any other names on behalf of the Sentinel.

      With that said, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Journal made an unfounded attack against my character and failing to even contact me for a response. They have the chance this time, but so far, no calls from Judy. I’ll be waiting.

      • Ryan Burns says:

        Hi, Charles. I’ll re-post my comment from our site here: I don’t see your character mentioned anywhere on our Wal-Mart post. Or you, for that matter. At least not by us. Skippy (who’s probably the most gracious and friendly contributer to local online dialog) did a lot of research on Wal-Mart’s sneaky business practices. Judy got confirmation that the company is coming here.

        My suggestion: Let’s disappoint the trolls and be friends.

  5. skippy says:

    Let’s have cooler heads prevail.

    Certainly the North Coast Journal article was very helpful and that’s why I felt it important to specifically note and link it as a source to the Sentinel article. In addition, other research sources came from the Times-Standard, Lost Coast Outpost, the Humboldt Herald, Sprawl-Busters, reader’s comments, and other sources from the past 6 months. Another 9-10 sources were also reviewed and taken into consideration for a grounded assessment. It was a lengthy process, and, I hope, a fair and informed read.

    I also hope readers will compare the Sentinel article to the NCJ, making up their own minds as to which was informative, original, and most decisive in its conclusion for themselves. I would proffer: both of them, complementarily placed together.

    There have been some unnecessarily inflammatory and unkind comments regarding the issue made. Mr. Burns, however, thoughtfully summed it up this way: “Skippy (who’s probably the most gracious and friendly contributor to local online dialog) did a lot of research on Wal-Mart’s sneaky business practices. Judy got confirmation that the company is coming here. My suggestion: Let’s disappoint the trolls and be friends.

    Thank you, Mr. Burns. Well said. Those are my thoughts, too. A fine publication, the NCJ is one of the last vestiges of local investigative reporting that we have. We should have more– and I’d wish that in this regard our strength would be in our partnership. With everyone. Media, blogs, sources, and readers and with insightful comments.

    To give more credit where credit is due, the North Coast Journal has Judy Hodgson’s article up Walmart’s confirmation today.

  6. quark says:

    Ryan,

    There is no sugarcoating it; Judy acccused the Sentinal of plagarizing the NCJ.

    It’s pretty apparant Skippy’s article didn’t. Judy needs to show up sober and apologize profusely, both here, and at the NCJ.

  7. The dumbest thing about the Wal-Mart entering the Bayshore Mall is the other tennants are getting thrown under the bus too.A large amount of downtown storefronts are already vacant and that’s because of the Arkley’s already sitting on a lot of financing after buying out Humboldt Bankshare.Is Wal-Mart going to buy out General Growth to avoid a lawsuit? The whole deal between them stinks the high heavens.The Bayshore Mall has never been full because of charging rediculous rent for this area.Wall-Mart will dystroy the buisneses that the Arkley’s want to dice up in other areas.When General Growth went into bankruptcy what was the outcome? Why wern’t the citizens of this county and city made aware?

  8. skippy says:

    Bertrand, you hit the nail on the proverbial head with your comment and particularly your last sentence. That question is a glaring point that remains unanswered by elected officials and staff. Hopefully their answer will be forthcoming soon– many in the community want to know how this all came about without the public knowledge, awareness, or input that was due.

  9. Just the facts says:

    The downtown storefronts have been in transition for a while. Some have moved to other locations and so far, only one that I know of actually shut down due to lack of business. The location that Wal Mart is going into is owned by Carrington and Co. He owns much more real estate than Arkley. While people are blasting Arkley for various business dealings, many of you have no clue about what other local millionaires are up to. Carrington acquired the space out of the Chapter 11 BK from General Growth. There isn’t anything the wanna be progs can do to keep WalMart out of here because the corporation is going through the full legal process to be in the mall. There won’t be any public comment period, there won’t be any “let’s see what the people think” meetings and they don’t need the public’s permission to be there. I truly doubt there could also be a lawsuit to stop them either. Just because it was voted down back in 1999, means absolutely nothing. There are more people here that are in favor than there are against.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] the Humboldt’s Sentinel’s report last week and Wednesday confirming the likelihood of Walmart’s existence in Humboldt County– along with other blogs [...]

  2. [...] chain have any plans of coming to Humboldt County.  But, did we tell you that Walmart is already here? Yes, we did. But let’s leave you smiling on a happy [...]


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