A piece from Racked
, the retail partner of Curbed, on the River North WalMart Express opening.
The River North Resident's Association made complaints that should infuriate anyone with a basic understanding of economics:
... voicing their concerns of "temporary jobs", "cheap produce", and being "too competitive with local business".
There are good arguments to be made against the tactics of WalMart and (to a lesser extent) Target but these are not them. Talk about the environmental impact of the non-local foods they stock or the inhumane condtions with which their products are made. But as we can assume that the majority of "local" shops are also run with equally unscrupulous business standards, I have no problem with someone doing it more cheaply. these guys are attacking the image that has been assigned to WalMart by city-liberals as well as the low-class implications of having a WalMart in an increasingly upper class neighborhood like River North neighborhood. IMO, it would have been smart if WalMart had picked a different spinoff brand for their urban locations. Something like City Mart so that people wouldn't even know or care that a WalMart was technically moving in next door. I think that River North will do well to have a low cost option.
And on the design:
We're in and walking around. This store, unlike the Lakeview or the Loop locations though is more naturally lit with two skylights running the length of the building. Like those said other locations, as a Walmart rep just told us you'll find more muted colors, an urban feel with exposed beams, some exposed brick, stainless steel finishes and quasi-industrial shelving.
One can also see that the street side is covered in windows.