Monday, December 12, 2005

I Went to the New Wal-Mart Supercenter on South Elm-Eugene

And I liked it.

The drive down there was nice, too, as GDOT has done some great work on S. Elm-Eugene through the Woodlea neighborhood, installing grassy medians and sidewalks on both sides of the street. It looks like there's a lot of middle-income housing being built in the area, so people will be able to walk to the Wal-Mart.

The store itself is set back from the road and has some landscaping between the road and the parking lot that make it seem less Wal-Mart-y. A brand new Lowe's hardware store is about to open up in the same complex.

I checked the grocery offerings carefully to see whether it carries the stuff we have to have. Good, fresh produce: check. Yoplait key lime yogurt: check. Bertolli bags o' frozen Italian stuff for teenagers who won't eat home-prepared Italian food: check. The only thing it lacked was the LaBrea breads that Harris Teeter carries. Claudia is a good-bread junkie. But we can always pick up a fresh loaf from Simple Kneads instead, since it's on the way home for us and we're friends with the owners.

Wal-Mart's wine selection is limited, but I was surprised to see that it carries North Carolina vintages: Hatteras Red (made from scuppernong grapes) and wine from the Biltmore Estate.

Maybe it's just because it's new, but this Wal-Mart seems nicer, brighter, and cleaner than Wal-Marts I remember. It also sports a dyed, polished concrete floor like the TajmaTeeter on Friendly Ave. used to have. I thought that floor was very cool, and was disappointed when it was covered over with vinyl tile.

Harris Teeter may have just lost a customer.


Fecund Stench said...

The H-T on Randleman Road has already announced its closing.

Urban Review - St. Louis said...

David, I don't if this is the case for your new Wal-Mart but the Wal-Mart & Lowe's project we just got in our St. Louis suburbs (after many homes & businesses were razed) looks deceptively nice.

It too has all the lush green grass and landscaping and you see the sidewalks here and there. But in our case when you actually try to walk from the Wal-Mart to the Lowe's to the Applebee's to the Red Lobster it is a mess. Sidewalks and crossings come and go. Not everything is connected as it should be. Large retaining walls, lack of street trees between curb and sidewalk and fast right turn lanes really make walking to/from and within the project an unpleasant task -- no matter how green the grass.

Take a look at your new project again and try walking through all of the elements to see how it feels compared to your downtown.

David Wharton said...

URSL, you're right that it's about impossible to walk from Lowe's to W-M, though the parking is "distributed" somewhat, as they way. Nor is the landscaping up to Olmsted standards!

That said, G'boro is moving in the right direction on these things, and the landscape design is much better than what would have been done 10 years ago.