With the confirmation of a Boulder Walmart last week, Boulder residents are crying foul—but for students, the addition of the new store could mean cheaper grocery bills.
Neighborhood Market stores are much smaller than the average Supercenter, Walmart said in a news release. A typical Market sells fresh produce and bread, other grocery items, health-related products and school supplies like stationery.
(James Bradbury/CU Independent Photo Illustration)
According to Nick Lyle, a 20-year-old finance major, Walmart could provide serious benefits for Boulder’s student population.
“[Walmart] is really cheap, so I think lots of [students] will respond well,” Lyle said. “If the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for a consumer, they’ll shop there.”
Sarah Banks, 19-year-old integrative physiology major, sees it differently.
“I’m from Santa Cruz and we had a similar thing happen,” Banks said. “People really rejected the idea of big businesses coming in and manipulating smaller businesses. I’m really not a fan of having Walmart come.”
When asked if she would ever shop at the Boulder Walmart, Banks replied no.
CU alum Don Forkner of the Class of 1969 said he, too, is not happy about the incoming store.
“When the founder, [Sam] Walton, started the store I thought it was very good,” Forkner said. “But when he turned to corporate America, their policy changed and profits became the paramount issue over treating their employees fairly.”
Yet, Forkner recognizes the benefits the store could provide for students.
“If I was a lower-income student and I was on a tight budget, I probably would go there. I would try to shop elsewhere, but I’d probably find the best prices at the Walmart,” he said.
Scott Meyers, a 26-year-old religious studies alumni, had other concerns regarding the chain, especially concerning its possible negative impact on Boulder’s small businesses.
“I’d like to think that students would have an idealistic opposition to Walmart, but I realize that economic conditions are such that people will buy the cheapest thing they can find,” Meyers said when asked how he thought students would respond to the store’s opening. Meyers further said that he might shop at the Neighborhood Market occasionally.
“I’d like to believe I’m principled enough to not shop there, but in reality I’d probably shop there occasionally.” Meyers said. “But I’d rather not be there.”
Joshua Phair, Walmart’s director of public affairs and government relations for the Mountain Division, said in a Daily Camera article that many Boulder residents already travel to shop at Walmart, and that customers like the competition among grocery stores that Walmart’s presence incites.
“Small business for the sake of small business is dumb,” Lyle said. “It thrives on more of a nostalgia than anything else. Business as a whole is about creating value for the consumer. In some cases, big corporations can create a whole lot more value.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sarah Elsea at Sarah.email@example.com.
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