The Walmart Corporation announced an agreement today to purchase the building and grounds of Wallingford’s Good Shepherd Center (4649 Sunnyside Avenue N) along with the adjoining Meridian Park. They plan to open their 5,783rd store there, the first inside Seattle city limits. In addition to their standard electronics, music, furniture, toys and home accessories, the “supercenter” will also feature produce, baked goods, a deli and other grocery items.
Initial neighborhood reactions were mixed. Ron Waldman, head of the Meridian School, presently housed at the Good Shepherd Center, sees both benefits and drawbacks.
“Obviously, the loss of our existing school facilities to Walmart is going to be difficult for the children to understand,” he said, but went on explain that the Walmart Corporation has made certain concessions to mitigate the impact. “They’ve agreed to let us hold classes in the ‘Children’s’ section of the store, so that’s something. And with their rock bottom prices on top toys for boys, we should be able to provide all-day entertainment.”
“They’ve also donated 100 new Speak-and-Spells,” he added. “We feel those should round out the curriculum fairly well.”
Shana, store manager at Wallingford’s Archie McPhee, felt that the threat to McPhee’s famously unusual product line would be minimal. “Walmart? Do they carry Bacon Band-Aids and Nacho Lip Balm? I don’t think so!”
When told that Walmart does, in fact, carry Bacon Band-Aids (Aisle 84) and Nacho Lip Balm (by check stand 19), she declined further comment.
Kathleen Cromp, director of the Wallingford Senior Center, another Good Shepherd Center tenant, took a more positive view of the changes.
“We’ve been struggling to find a suitable gathering place for seniors in our area,” she explained. “In fact, many seniors are having trouble simply maintaining a place to live. With the addition of Walmart to our neighborhood, we anticipate moving our offices to a Winnebago in the parking lot, where many Wallingford seniors will be living in RVs, anyway.”
“I hear they have great prices on prescriptions,” she added.
(Update: Yes, yes, we admit it. This was an April Fool’s prank. It’s a testament to the character of Wallingford that we horrified so many! Wal*Mart indeed!)