Photo shows Espanola Walmart Supercenter Store's newly repaved parking lot in front of the Garden Center and extending the front of the store. Note the new gray color scheme on exterior walls. Photo by ROBERT NARANJO/valleydailypost.com
Walmart To Re-Open In Mid Nov. No Firm Date Yet
By ROBERT NARANJO
The old saying, “You don’t miss the water until the well runs dry,” seems to hold water (no pun intended) regarding the Espanola Walmart Supercenter Store #2656 which has been closed, except for the pharmacy, for several weeks since mid Sept.
Delia Garcia, spokesperson for Walmart, told the Valley Daily Post that the store was closed for foundation, drainage and plumbing problems, adding that Walmart officials moved up a scheduled store renovation slated for next year since the store was undergoing construction work already. The pharmacy is “now completely renovated” according to Garcia and renovations to other departments will continue after the store reopens.
Garcia did not specify an exact date but did say that the store will re-open in “mid November” which was announced when the store closed in mid-Sept. A Facebook page has related information and customers can search for “Walmart Espanola” if interested in updates on the local store. Walmart opened in Jan. 1999, according to Garcia.
The land that the store was built on has a high water table which was not an issue when it was the site of the old Merhege baseball fields and the old El Pasatiempo theater. Whether the theater building experienced the same problem is unknown. It was demolished to make way for the Espanola Walmart.
In similar building situations, when rock, gravel and other aggregate materials are not used, or used sparingly, to build up the base to separate foundations, floors and parking lots from a high water table, has caused other buildings to shift. This is what happened to the Espanola Walmart building. About 17 years after being built, it began to fall victim to the presence of a high water table and began shifting, resulting in the cracking of load bearing walls in addition to causing uneven floors and sections of the parking lot noticeably sinking which was apparent to shoppers.
Before the store closed, an employee was asked exactly what needed to be fixed, because to the untrained eye, there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with the structural integrity of the building inside the store. The employee said that “…walls were cracking a little and shopping baskets would begin rolling by themselves (in the store) because the floor was uneven.”
Garcia said that “customers were anxious” to have the store re-open. She did not say which departments will be undergoing “renovation” but confirmed that Mar. 2017 for the completion of the renovation. A source, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the deli, meat and bakery departments will be not be open for customers and are the departments of the store that will be undergoing renovation when the store re-opens later this month. Garcia would not confirm which departments, only the completion month.
The Espanola Walmart Supercenter Store received a paint job with a new color scheme with different shades of gray, matching what other Walmarts look like. The local store had not been repainted or basically changed in any fashion, except for traffic safety paint striping in the parking lot and occasional repairs to depressions caused by the sinking asphalt in the parking lot.
Garcia said that the exterior painting being done to the store was for “branding” purposes whereby customers see a uniformity of colors, logos, etc. when shopping at any given Walmart. There is no planned expansion of square footage to the local store, only the renovation she said.
Walmart is the world’s largest retailer originally founded by Sam Walton with his first store opening in Bentonville, Arkansas. It is now a multi-billion dollar business worldwide. Critics of the so called “Big Box” store point out that other than employee salaries and gross receipts collected, most of the revenue generated by the store leaves the community and the state as opposed to a local, home-owned store where all the revenue stays in the community benefiting it economically. Conversely, proponents argue Walmart brings a large selection of goods and services to small communities that normally would go without.
Conversely, proponents argue that Walmart a large selection of goods and services to small communities that normally would go without. Additionally, a variety of stores and restaurants have been built next door to Walmart since it opened, creating more jobs and gross receipts for the community and the state. More businesses are currently in the approval process with the Espanola Planning and Land Use Department for the “Big Box” business zone consisting of Lowe’s Home Improvement Center and the Espanola Walmart Supercenter Store.