Loss of Wal-Mart cheers some, angers others in Atascadero

Atascadero residents reacted Friday with a mix of happiness, relief and disappointment after learning that Wal-Mart’s plans to build a store in the city had been scrapped.

With a Wal-Mart just up the road in Paso Robles, many residents said the store seemed unnecessary. Others said they’d been concerned about the impact the retailer could have had on small businesses in Atascadero.

“It’s amazing,” said Maria Minichiello, co-owner of Brú Coffeehouse on El Camino Real. “All the other stores will survive.”

Delinda Redding said she had never been in favor of the Wal-Mart project and was glad it would not be around to disrupt Kmart and other local stores she enjoys.

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“I think if Wal-Mart comes, it’s going to take out some of the businesses that have been so faithful to us locals,” she said.

Jude Klearman said she lives near the Del Rio Road and El Camino Real intersection, and she is pleased there won’t be as much traffic in the area.

“It’s not a store I ever shop at,” she said. “I like to support local businesses.”

Comments on The Tribune’s Facebook page included a few residents who were disappointed Wal-Mart will not be coming to town.

“Bummer,” Cindy Galvan wrote. “I was looking forward to Wal-Mart in Atascadero.”

“This would’ve brought jobs and tax money,” Alison Edwards wrote. “Stupid move, Atascadero!!”

Some comments also mentioned that Wal-Mart might not have been a good fit for the city and that other stores may prove to be better options.

“Good!” Jessica Darling wrote. “We need a Costco anyway, and this gives small businesses more of an opportunity to be present in the community. No more corrupt corporate in our communities.”

“Atascadero has several new hotels, all fairly expensive,” Lauren Brown wrote. “Do you believe the people staying in those places would spend their money at Wal-Mart? We need businesses in Atascadero that attract the people that stay in those hotels, that draw people from Paso and below the Grade, and pull people off the freeway as they pass through.”

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27

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