Adjacent Wal-Marts May Dodge Size Curbs
Calvert Had Stopped Supercenter Plans
By Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 7, 2005
Robin Gottlieb cringed when she learned of Wal-Mart's plans to build a store the size of three football fields near her home in Dunkirk, a cozy hamlet in Southern Maryland ringed by rolling tobacco fields. The 44-year-old librarian feared it would overwhelm her tightknit community and usher in even more development.
After intense lobbying from Gottlieb and her neighbors, Calvert County officials passed tough regulations last summer that limited the size of big-box stores in quaint town centers such as Dunkirk's. Gottlieb and her friends arranged to cheer the victory with celebratory drinks.
But Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, appears to have hit upon a novel way around the rules: divide the store in two.
In what company officials are calling one of the first arrangements of its kind in the country, Wal-Mart plans to build a 74,998-square-foot store cheek by jowl with a 22,689-square-foot garden center. The two Wal-Marts -- each with its own entrance, utilities, bathrooms and cash registers -- would have a combined area 30 percent larger than the 75,000-square-foot limit for a single store in Dunkirk.
The tactic is the latest example of Wal-Mart's increasingly creative responses to the scores of jurisdictions, including Prince William and Montgomery counties, that have passed regulations limiting the size and location of big-box stores.
Mia Masten, community affairs manager for Wal-Mart's eastern region, said she believed the Dunkirk site would be the first time the Bentonville, Ark., company will build two side-by-side stores in response to size restrictions. It is a strategy that Wal-Mart is likely to consider in other areas, she said.
"As these big-box bills come up, all retailers will just have to be flexible," she said. "In this case, we developed a model that allowed us to reach our customers."
She then emitted a banshee shriek, unhinged her jaw and used her hideous clawed talons to throw in a snack of three human infants, who died screaming in her fire-belching gullet...
Can you dig the pure, unalloyed evil in that last graf? "We developed a model that allowed us to reach our customers..."
As if, in attempting to protect their rural homes from being bulldozed over by salivating, union-busting greedheads, this Communist librarian (Jesus, a librarian!) was taking food from the mouths of Mia Fucking Masten's children.
When the Revolution comes, the first person I will chain to the back of my car and drag around a burning Wal-Mart parking lot will be Mia Masten, community affairs manager for Wal-Mart's eastern region.
Mia's a busy little Minion of the Dark Lord of the Underworld. She has her talons in lots of pies.