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Poll results: What is your most hated big box store?

Voters
26. You may not vote on this poll
  • Home Depot

    1 3.85%
  • Lowe's

    0 0%
  • CVS

    1 3.85%
  • Rite Aid

    0 0%
  • Walgreen

    3 11.54%
  • Wal Mart

    18 69.23%
  • Kroger

    0 0%
  • Other: Specify

    3 11.54%
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Thread: Your Most Hated Big Box Store

  1. #1

    Your Most Hated Big Box Store

    My most hated big box chain at the moment is Walgreen's. I hate them for demolishing my beloved Kahiki Inn in Columbus, a building that was on the National Register of Historic Places. Walgreen's violated their own policy of not demolishing historic properties by tearing down this wonderful building.

    Rite Aid was my most hated chain, but their stock has dropped signficantly and the wind has been taken out of their sails, I am happy to report . Here's to them going belly up!

    So what is your most despised chain.

  2. #2
          Downtown's avatar
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    It was a close race between Home Depot and Walmart for me, but considering that I have to go out to Walmart at least once a month for some sort of violation (ie: forbidden outdoor diplay or storage), I gave them my vote, based purely on aggravation factor.

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    It's Wal-Mart for me. I didn't have the code enforcement issues with Wal-Mart when I worked in communities where they were located, but I do have a problem with their lowest-common-denominator design. The new Wal-Mart in Las Cruces, New Mexico, approved and built long after I left that city, definitely sets the standard for bad design -- the back end of the store, with loading docks and dumpsters, faces the arterial street where the store is located, while the front is in the back, where it can be seen from I-25.

    Home Depot is a PITA when it comes to code enforcement (outdoor display), but they're a bit more willing than Wal-Mart to work with their host communities to ensure compliance with their site planning and design regulations -- if they have 'em. Otherwise, it's the orange box. (Personally, I prefer Lowe's. Home Depot has a dog-friendly policy nationally, but the managers of the stores in the Orlando area have declared their boxes off-limits to pooches. At Lowe's, they know my dog by name.)

    I wonder why Target is seldom the ... uhhh, target of NIMBYs. Could there be more tolerance for the chain's predominantly middle-class clientele?

    The drugstores ... grrrrr ... CVS tends to respect local character, but with the others, "corporate identity" and "signature design" is a mantra.

    The town I plan for limits individual retailers to 60,000 square feet of gross floor area.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  4. #4

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    CVS is my most hated at the moment because they got nice and friendly with the City I used to work at and we could not defeat them - not in a historic district, quiet neighborhood, downtown. They insist on having at least 2 rows of parking in the front and if the planning department told them no, they would run to the mayors office and we would be told to allow them to do it.

  5. #5

    60,000 square feet requirement

    Dan, you wrote:
    "The town I plan for limits individual retailers to 60,000 square feet of gross floor area."

    How do you deal with the addition of stores roughly at the same site? Or a gigantic 120,000 sq ft store split into two stores operated by two different retailers? Or, how about, applications to expand existing stores above the 60k limit?

    Germany has similar legislation (actually they are much stricter with about 12,000 sq ft -- after which special permission is required), but the above strategies by developers and municipalities scared of not building before their neighbors do it first, have made the results of this legislation disappointing.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Walgreens, hands down. They thrive on putting locally owned stores out of business. I have known more than one outstanding National Register building they have torn down to replace with 12-14,000 square feet, 50 parking stalls and a drive-thru.

  7. #7

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    Locally owned stores? I didn't know there were any of those around anymore, Michael. I will have to check out Whitewater sometime.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Aside from Wal-Mart we have two local drug stores, both with a very different selection of "front end" merchandise. Sure, the independents are going away, but it is nice to have them. Individuality is a great thing.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian poncho's avatar
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    Walgreens

    Walgreens is building the Southwest Distribution Center here i my town at 650,000 sq.ft. It has taken over the countryside.

  10. #10
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Re: 60,000 square feet requirement

    Originally posted by Euro Planner

    How do you deal with the addition of stores roughly at the same site? Or a gigantic 120,000 sq ft store split into two stores operated by two different retailers? Or, how about, applications to expand existing stores above the 60k limit?
    So far, I haven't had to deal with it. I work for a very small town where there is almost no retail development, and the population here and the surrounding municipalities is growing to a point where the retail will soon be drawn to the rooftops.

    The town I work for has very strict architecture, signage, landscaping and site planning regulations. A freestanding big box is usually built by the retailer, while "power centers" of large specialty retail chains (the 2x6000m^2 store example you gave, for instance) are usually built by local or regional developers. It's much easier to work with the developers, who are less concerned about "corporate identity" or "trade dress," than the retailers. Thus, you're more likely to get a higher quality project.

    Germany has similar legislation (actually they are much stricter with about 12,000 sq ft -- after which special permission is required), but the above strategies by developers and municipalities scared of not building before their neighbors do it first, have made the results of this legislation disappointing.
    I've read that many French and American big box retailers and hypermarkets have made inroads in the former East Germany, because local development regulations aren't as sophisticated as those in the West, and the local governments are a bit more desperate for the property tax revenue. What Europeans call "out of town develolpment" is supposedly quite common in the former East Germany. Is this true?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  11. #11
    You Wrote: I've read that many French and American big box retailers and hypermarkets have made inroads in the former East Germany, because local development regulations aren't as sophisticated, and the local governments are a bit more desperate for the property tax revenue. What Europeans call "out of town develolpment" is supposedly quite common in the former East Germany. Is this true?

    This is very true for the first half of the 1990s. The reason for this is that West German planning law had to be incorporated into East Germany following the fall of the Wall. This left a small window open to aggressive developers who sometimes built without permissions (sometimes this was just retailers setting up makeshift tents and trading from there) in lieu of formal planning policy. Within a few years, the retail landscape in the New States came to resemble the U.S. more than it did West Europe. Now that West German planning has been institutionalized with its restrictive stance on large-scale outlets, this has slowed considerably. Today, most NorthWestern European nations seem to be tightening their restrictions on out of town retail (except the Netherlands, but that's another story).

  12. #12

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    Would anyone consider PetsMart and PetCo big box retailers? I suppose they are. Took my dog there last night - she loves the place, it is so cool that they but the bulk dog treat buns right at ground level.

  13. #13
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    The folks at the local PetSmart (remember, I live in the 'burbs now, and it's only about a kilometer away) all know Bailey (the avatar you see to the left) by name.

    I'd call 'em big boxes, or at least "category killers," but they tend to locate in shopping centers, not freestanding buildings. I'm not familiar with PetSmart or Petco corporate architecture, if there is such a thing.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    A million reasons a single store - that's Meijers

    Meijers is a big box grocery and department store under one roof. In addition to groceries you can get your hair done, shoes shined, buy perennials and a bedroom set and shop for spark plugs all in one place!

    They have expanded through out the midwest. But this particular big box had very humble beginnings in Greenville Michigan and soon they are to be the only grocery store in Greenville(one struggling local family store remains). But the founder Fred Meijer still visits the place and some of their employess have worked there for decades.

    However Meijers is HQ'd in WMich and that is good for our economy and the Meijer family foundation is also responsible for beautiful Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids

  15. #15
          Downtown's avatar
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    We've both a PetSmart and a PetCo, and both are just as big as the Staples or Office Max. But we're taking our dogs to PetSmart for training and they love it. Is it just me or are planners more likely to be dog people?

  16. #16
    Member Mary's avatar
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    Box Stores

    My least favorite are probably the drug stores. I swear we've got more Walgreens and Rite aids than I've ever seen anywhere. They even get across the street from one another. Then they build new and bigger stores when they find the best location and dump the old one to become a vacant building.

    PS. I love Cats not Dogs.... does this make me a bad planner???????

  17. #17
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Re: Box Stores

    Originally posted by Mary
    PS. I love Cats not Dogs.... does this make me a bad planner???????
    Yes.


















    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I'll have to agree with Dan.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    ...same here...

    I used to put Walmart at the top of my list, but any pharmacy big-box is at the top right now...

    I have a small and older CVS in my 'hood which was always nice, but now it's an overcrowded mess...b/c the chain keeps expanding thier product line...no one knows when to say when and limit thier stock...greed, oy!
    Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after and only after the design is complete. (Often called the 'Now They Tell Us' Law) - Fyfe's First Law of Revision

    We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans. -- George W. Bush , Scranton, PA -- 09/06/2000

  20. #20
          Downtown's avatar
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    Ooh, I have to agree with GeogPlanner. Maybe it is just here in the Capital District, but I'm so crabby at CVS. They tore down a beloved independant bike shop here in order to locate their newest store, maybe 1000 feet from another one of their stores in a mall.

    But then, I don't know, the two closest Walmarts here are so gross and dirty and every employee is just beyond surly. And Home Depot is just so bad in terms of enforcement. sigh.

    They all suck.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    personal vendetta

    Super walmart in east peoria is dirty, dingy, and sucks.

    they are building one in peora. I vow the exterior will be as cleanly kept as possible... for a walmart. i can't help that they are ugly buildings with no inspiration and a sea of parking that is a waste of space. Walgreens is getting bad, however, their exterior is not as bad as home depot or walmart.

    btw, anyone ever see pictures of the home depot in Boulder,CO? it's actually very nice, on the exterior.

  22. #22

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    Walgreens all of the way

    We have Walgreens stores all over the place around here. They have huge parking lots, yet, I don't think I've ever seen the them more than 5% full. All of the pigeons hang out on the roof of those ugly, banal buildings.

  23. #23
    I have a tie for the two: Home Depot and Meijers

    Home Depot because the entrance to their parking lot has a nice S curve that NOBODY can navigate correctly (except me, of course!). Then you get inside and it takes two hours to buy a box of nails- 2 minutes to walk to the aisle and find the right box, 1:58 to get through the checkout line.

    Meijers becuase their parking lot is so big that it is dangerous to drive through- too many people in SUVs with cell phones driving across the parking spaces. The rest of the store experience is just like Home Depot: 2 minutes to walk in and select the one or two things you want, and 1:58 to check out.

    /rohneas

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