On Friday, the first of . The city had been abuzz about this ever since it was announced that Walmart was coming to town.
The , located at 15063 Main St, Bellevue, sells only groceries and is open for business 24 hours a day. The second Walmart will open in the first half of 2013 at , on Factoria Boulevard, according to a company spokesperson.
Surrounding storeowners and customers at Kelsey Creek shopping center were generally upbeat about Walmart.
Maria Prokopchuk of the in Kelsey Creek Center, says, “It’s going to be good for all businesses, and more customers will come.”
Kochie Chinn, a Seattleite and employee of , agrees with Prokopchuk and says that the new, neighboring Walmart will be “pretty good for businesses and customers.”
However, those at the Market Place in Factoria, also known as the Factoria mall, have not been in favor of the new plans.
Vanessa Kammeyer, who lives in Kent and owns Boba T in the Factoria mall, says: “This was not a good business plan. You have to stop and think about surrounding areas. Newcastle and Bellevue people are in the middle to high class range, and this is a group that doesn’t shop in Walmart.”
Noting that residents around Factoria “look for healthier foods and better products compared to what Walmart sells,” Kammeyer thinks that this is a “bad location for this community and they could put something better in that spot.”
Daniela Moss, an employee at and resident of Bellevue, said that “it’s going to be very difficult to park my car with all these Walmarts coming in.”
The customers and residents at Kelsey Creek and Factoria also are split about the the stores' arrival.
Coming out of LA Fitness, right next door to the Kelsey Creek Walmart, friends Karen Sung and Angela Wirig, both from Bellevue, shared their views.
Wirig says that she is “excited to see it and it’s a good idea.”
Sung adds, “It’s interesting that it’s just a grocery.”
Hilda Michael, who lives near Interlake High School, commented after her workout at LA Fitness, “I’m kind of excited. It’s nice to see it alive around here again.”
She feels that the only real impact will be on the parking, yet she is optimistic about the whole thing.
However, in Factoria, Shana Bowen, a Somerset Elementary School teacher who lives in the neighborhood, strongly opposes the Walmart that is coming into the Market Place.
“I’m against it politically,” says Bowen. “I just feel like they do underhanded strategies. I worry about their quality control. They don’t take care of their workers and they’re not union.”
Bowen also does not like the fact that you can’t buy anything local from the Walmart stores.
Non-Bellevue residents are excited to see a Walmart closer to their homes. Heather Anderson of Woodinville says she is glad that they’re in here in the north end of King County. And from Seattle, Mychal Traywick says that it is a great idea and he loves it.
(ALICE HANH is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.)
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