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Wal-Mart considers opening store in Burbank

July 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Every time Wal-Mart considers putting one of its mega stores in another community, there's controversy and questions. It's no different in Burbank, where the chain has bought a big chunk of property at the site where Great Indoors will soon close.

Everything must go at Great Indoors at Burbank's Empire Center to make room possibly for Wal-Mart's first store in the area.

"I've never been in the Wal-Mart," said Burbank resident Seabo Karapentian.

The world's largest retailer bought the property and is trying to determine whether to open a store at the location. If they do, it could be a super store, selling things like groceries, alcohol and even haircuts.

"It will serve so many people and it will employ so many people in this economy. I think that would be a good idea," said Melina Younaian of La Crescenta.

Wal-Mart said in a statement, "While we are still determining our options in Burbank, our experience at other Los Angeles stores tell us that city residents need more options for quality jobs and affordable groceries. We look forward to soon engaging with the surrounding community to listen, answer questions."

"Personally, I like the super store, but that's just me. I know a lot of people don't agree with that," said Syd Defratis of Burbank.

There's a Facebook campaign of Burbank residents and business owners opposing Wal-Mart. One man posted, "Wal-Mart, don't you have enough?"

"They should give a chance to other stores that have different commodities and products," said Wilma Mobegi of Burbank.

Some complain there are already too many big box stores in the area like Costco and want City Hall to prevent more from opening.

"There's really not much that the city can do as far as preventing Wal-Mart from possibly locating a store here," said Burbank city spokesman Keith Sterling.

Even though a final decision on the store could be months away, city leaders are already hearing from residents.

"It's been a mixed bag at this point from the feedback that we've received from our citizens. Some saying they'd be very supportive of the store coming in, others saying they have concerned about it locating here," Sterling said.

Wal-Mart would not say what comes next in the process, but if they follow the pattern of similar store openings, there would be a series of community meetings, where Burbank residents can express exactly what they want to see.


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