Wal-Mart a good thing? Yes, say Dunedin merchants

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Can a Wal-Mart grocery actually be good for business? Yes, say some merchants on State Road 580 in Dunedin.

Small business owners near the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Coastal Plaza say they are “doing better” with the 24-hour grocery store as its neighbor, according to a story in Dunedin Patch. Residents have now embraced the mega-chain during the two years since it opened.

Even some sharing the plaza say they couldn’t be happier.

“I’ll have people come in that don’t know me who were going to Wal-Mart, saw my sign and stopped in. Now I’ve got a new customer,” Maria Maltese, owner of Maria’s Alterations, told Patch.

That wasn’t always the case.  In October 2011, before the store opened its doors, residents were not happy—as many are when they hear a Wal-Mart is entering their neighborhood. The same discussions are currently underway for Causeway Plaza, where a new Wal-Mart market is planned for the gateway to Honeymoon Island State Park.

As for the small businesses in Coastal Plaza, having a Wal-Mart as an anchor has been a terrific thing. It is significantly better than the alternative—the place remaining empty as it had been for four years before.

“We do a little better, and there’s more traffic since it has been here” owner Dae Lim said of his Coastal Cleaners dry cleaning business. They have been in Coastal Plaza for nearly 13 years. 

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.