Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"Wal-Mart has bigger eyes for Lewiston"

Meanwhile, in the "You Snooze, You Lose" department, since Wal-Mart can't get into the Pullman/Moscow market anytime soon, they are now looking at Lewiston. Great. Now even MORE of our money can be exported to the L-C Valley. Form today's Lewiston Tribune:

Wal-Mart is seeking land for a super center in Lewiston.

"We continue to look for a site because we would like to expand our operations in Lewiston,'' said Karianne Fallow, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart in Boise this week. "The super center is our preferred format."

Fallow's comments were the strongest indication yet of Wal-Mart's interest in a Lewiston super center.

The world's largest retailer has provided seemingly contradictory statements about its ideas for Lewiston.

In June, Fallow said Wal-Mart had no plans for a super center in Lewiston at that time.

But about a year ago a different Wal-Mart representative said his employer was evaluating the Lewiston market to see if a super center would enhance service.

Rumors about a Wal-Mart super center in Lewiston have been circulating for more than a year.

Opened in 1993, Wal-Mart's Lewiston store has 117,000 square feet and is what the company calls a "discount" store.

"It is a very well performing store," Fallow said. "It does very well for its size."

An average super center has 186,000 square feet and carries groceries in addition to other items sold at the discount store such as toys, clothing, toiletries and electronics.

Lewiston isn't the only place in north central Idaho and south central Washington that Wal-Mart has eyed for possible expansion.

Wal-Mart has interest in super centers in Moscow, Pullman and Lewiston because they are distinct markets, Fallow said.

Plans for a 223,000-square-foot super center on 28 acres between Bishop Boulevard and a cemetery in Pullman have been appealed by Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development, an anti-Wal-Mart group.

The next hearing in that case is Oct. 18 in Whitman County Superior Court

Wal-Mart also examined opening a super center in Moscow where it already has a discount store. But Wal-Mart put that idea on the backburner because it found the city's process for a proposed site too cumbersome.

The Moscow site that didn't work for Wal-Mart was on the southeast corner of Mountain View Road and Highway 8, near Eastside Marketplace.

Wal-Mart is continuing to look for other locations in Moscow.
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