The church of Wal-Mart, Calvary, Peddlers, and … SPAM??

February 26, 2009

One of the most hotly contested subjects in the county is the debate over whether or not to bring a Wal-Mart to Ventura. The company has had plans to bring its megastore to a former K-Mart, and it’s drawn rejection mostly from a group called Livable Ventura, who opposes the big-box retailer from coming anywhere near the Victoria Avenue plaza.

The group is surely unhappy to learn news yesterday that Wal-Mart has unveiled its official methodology for opening a 130,000-square foot store space: clustering the vacant K-Mart and a series of adjacent, equally vacant buildings together.

So, since the opposition would rather see anything but a Wal-Mart here, I thought I’d offer up some alternatives that have worked elsewhere across the country. In this case, I found examples of Wal-Marts and other big box franchises which have closed down for some better, more “accepted” fare.

This is what our empty K-Mart looks like now:
walmart

But for an alternative option that would suit the thrift-store loving, independent retail pride of Ventura, how about emulating the Peddlers Mall? Denizens of Nicholasville, Kentucky are sure happier with these flea market digs than they were with a Wal-Mart:

walmart3

Ventura’s oft-used nickname “Ventucky” doesn’t hide for one second our city’s affinity with the grand ol’ deep south. Kentucky? Ventucky? Peddlers? Coincidence? I think not.

Nicknames with conservative implications aside, we’re also pretty religiously bent in this right-leaning town, too. How about a church instead of a Wal-Mart?

In Pinellas, Florida, a Calvary Chapel had been previously congregating in a Winn Dixie, but finding its devout congregation growing too large for its holy britches, relocated to a newly-shuttered Wal-Mart. It’s been eight years since the move and, by the Grace of God, nobody could be happier:

walmart1

If I were to implore our local city council (as a private citizen, of course), this last alternative would be my choice because it’s the most appropriate fit for our Kentucky-loving town. In Southern California, “ethnic” cuisine is generally a choice between Mexican and Japanese. But let’s not forget Hawaiian food, and its primary usage of that canned good stuff we know as SPAM!

walmart21

That’s right, folks, in Austin, Minnesota, people are in SPAM heaven since the town’s K-Mart was made over into the national SPAM Museum, pictured above.

Just don’t blame me if the town’s new moniker ever becomes “SPAMtucky.”

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