After 30 years of business in Gainesville, the Wal-Mart at 2649 NW 13th St. will close Thursday and a Wal-Mart Supercenter will open at 5700 NW 23rd St. on Friday.
Community members have mixed feelings about the relocation. Domonique Sherman, of Gainesville, said she will be at the new store at 8 a.m.
“I’m very excited because it’s close to where I live and it’s very convenient,” Sherman said. “I think the community needs that for the people who don’t have the transportation to travel farther to grocery shop and do household shopping. It will be a good asset to the community.”
Dedicated Wal-Mart shopper Shakera Skerett said the closing of the 13th Street location will hurt because she prefers staying close to home to do her shopping. She said she loves Wal-Mart but would rather not travel across town to visit the new store.
Skerett, who has been shopping at Wal-Mart for about eight years, said she chooses the large retail chain over Publix or Winn-Dixie. The distance will not stop her from shopping at the new one, she said.
By moving to a bigger store, Skerett believes more people will be shopping there.
The Walmart upgrade doesn’t excite everyone. Jan Bird doesn’t shop at Wal-Mart very often. He said he tries to support small, privately-owned, local businesses where the money spent stays in the community rather than being sent to large corporations like Wal-Mart.
“Small businesses tend to be more accountable to their customers and more responsive,” Bird said. “I feel like I have less say in what products Wal-Mart is going to carry, how they do business and where they source their products.”
Bird said closing the 13th Street Wal-Mart will not affect the surrounding community.
“Most people will probably just go to the new Wal-Mart,” he said.
Rebekah Geier wrote this story for online.