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Meandering with Mark Matthews: Brooklawn Kmart Down, but Wal-Mart Continues its Growth

By Mark Matthews

By this time everyone knows the Brooklawn K-Mart is closing. The store is PACKED with  A_Tired_Man_Talking_on_a_Headset_and_on_the_Computer_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_090921-224816-956009 shoppers. My wife was there on a Friday night and said every register was open! I was tempted to drive over to witness it! If all it took was to knock 20% off of everything to pack the store, why didn’t they do it years ago? J

Walmart continues to grow and in my opinion definitely squeezed the life out of our K-Mart (or K-mart continues to let things slip to a level that consumers choose to drive a little further for other shopping options).

But Walmart is not done. Opening this fall is ANOTHER Walmart for our area, at the Somerdale Plaza. Most of us know the center simply for its Cinemark Movie Theater and a bunch of failed and empty stores. Walmart has been planning and building this location for a long time. It was delayed several years waiting for the state to simply approve the installation of a traffic light. The core of the old Shopping Center will remain, and the Walmart is in a new building which will be facing the shopping center in what were previously woods behind the Pizza Hut on the pike.

While the developer’s website says opening in October, a friend who works in another

Walmart location says it is scheduled to open the week of “Black Friday” in November.

How long will the very close Sears Essential store in Lawnside survive?

We are now completely surrounded by Walmarts which are in reasonable driving distance for our area.

1. Deptford 42 (old RCA Factory location near the mall. Actually closer for me than Audubon)

2. Audubon (the old Black Horse Pike Shopping Center)

3. Deptford 47 (Brunswick Lanes, and the former location of several state offices, Ames and Fields discount stores)

4. South Philadelphia (It’s closer than you think)

5. Cherry Hill

6. Turnersville (not shown)

7. Somerdale (Green Dot)

8. And… There is a third Deptford Walmart on the drawing board (purple dot) but it has been on hold for a few years as the economy has slowed. It is planned for Rt 47 near 5-Points Diner and the landfill.

I am not knocking Walmart. I fully understand people complaining about them putting smaller stores out of business, but I think the public makes their decision known by shopping at the stores.

I spent many years in the office products industry working for Yorkship Business Supply, and remember all too well when the first area Staples opened up on Rt 70 in Marlton. It did initially devastate the local office products companies, but despite there now being Office Depot and Office Max, the independent office products industry does seem to be making a comeback.

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Yeah yeah… we know there are a lot of Walmarts, so what?

Walmart’s draw other smaller businesses to build around them, and while there are still many large retailers who may want to move into the Brooklawn location, I wonder about how all the area development (Walmart’s and other) will impact the long- awaited Bellmawr Waterfront project? But more on that in a future column.

Somerdale Walmart Links:
Developer Property Page: http://www.nrdc.com/property.php?pid=751

Property PDF (requires Adobe Reader): http://www.nrdc.com/pdf/property-factsheet.php?pid=751
Article on new store hiring: http://www.nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2010/08/walmart_looking_to_hire_550_fo.html

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