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Home » Opinion » Walmart and Price Chopper Deals Symbolic of...

Walmart and Price Chopper Deals Symbolic of Bigger Problem

 Walmart and Price Chopper Deals Symbolic of Bigger Problem

February 15, 2013


Chris Moreno



Several years ago, a close family friend drove home from Walmart in Lee’s Summit, parked in her garage and proceeded to unload her groceries. As she turned around, armed robbers came in with guns pointed at her and her family; which included her daughter and newborn grandchild. She filed a report and learned the men had followed her home from Walmart. The problem: Walmart’s cameras were so poor they couldn’t get a clear picture of the plate number or robbers that followed her out of the store.

Thursday, February 7th a large group of homeowners filled the room in opposition to the proposed Walmart project near Raintree. Armed with statistics on crime rate increases and property value decreases around Walmart developments, the grassroots group took their message to the council and the internet. Those supporting the measure argued that Walmart doesn’t attract crime. In the end, the “Say No to Walmart in Raintree” group narrowly swayed the council against the measure. However, the council reserved the right to bring up the Walmart measure in the future.

Across town, a week before, another neighborhood was steaming over a $20 million dollar giveaway to build a new Price Chopper in the backyards of Silkwood, two short minutes down from the existing Price Chopper. Again, the council was split but Mayor Rhoads cast the deciding vote to move the project forward.

Lee’s Summit residents are trying to send a strong message that these projects represent a larger problem facing our community. For some reason, half of our council simply doesn’t care.

Residents want to see their community progress, but they want it done classy, responsibly, creatively and respectfully. These projects fail this test on every level.

Residents are not against development. They are against this type of development. If we are going to add more grocery stores why not add upscale, unique stores such as Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market, which are proven anchors that attract higher end economic development? We need not look any further than Ward Parkway Mall’s turn around or 119th Street in Overland Park to see their positive impact.

If we are going to spend millions on giveaways it should be on top quality restaurants, retail and stores unique to the area and region. Our town does not need more fast food, low end grocery or cheap dollar stores. Our precious development land and TIF dollars should not fall victim to strip malls filled with more banks, gas stations, insurance agencies, pay day loan shops and “We Buy Gold” stores. We have plenty, thanks.

Our community is at a crossroads. Lee’s Summit deserves better than the product displayed in projects like these. It’s time our leaders stop pretending high quality restaurants and stores won’t come to our town. Our city boasts one of the top school districts, income levels and property values in the state. If these businesses won’t come to Lee’s Summit, it is either because the people selling them on the concept are doing a poor job or they aren’t selling them at all? Either way, there is a problem.

Chris Moreno is a researcher, resident and graduate of Lee’s Summit schools. He writes for a national site for Dad’s, PlaygroundDad.com. Previously he served as Legislative Liaison under Governor Jay Nixon, on the Governor’s Transition Team and as Political Director for the Missouri Democratic Party. He has a Bachelor’s of Science from the Univ. of Central Missouri.



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Comments

  1. Steve Dailey says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 12:34
    YES! Like the majority of politicians, those of Lee's Summit are leading only themselves and no longer consider the people they "represent". And while I agree with Mr. Moreno, I would add that if our "leaders" have forgotten us, let's replace them NOW with someone able to think and reason outside of coffee shop politics!
  2. August says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 14:57
    Well said my friend : )
  3. Leesummiter says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 15:47
    While I can appreciate people not wanting a Walmart, the reasons given here are not the correct ones and only used to needlessly generate fear. We are better than that, but lately n this country, especially politicians, we use fear to bring others to our way of thinking. Sorry for the victim in the story above, but I know a woman who was recently robbed and pistol whipped in the parking lot of the Trader Joes on ward parkway. Also, my step dad left his wallet at the register at the brand new Walmart in RAYTOWN. The cameras are so good at that Walmart, the customer behind him is seen putting the wallet in his pocket, then the cameras follow him to his car, are able to zoom in on the license plate, and the wallet is recovered and returned in an hour, before my stepdad is able to get all his credit cards canceled. My point is there are tons of reasons to not want a new Walmart, trying to scare people with a one in a million occurrence is not the proper way to do it, but it's what are media, and sadly many politicians lazily use to convince citizens to follow them.
  4. A Pack says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 16:21
    Couldn't have said it better!! Great article
  5. Lisa Miceli says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 16:31
    I couldn't agree more. I leave Lees Summit weekly to shop in other areas because the more upscale and unique shopping isn't available here. Raintree would be a perfect place for a Trader Joes or Whole Foods.
  6. Darla says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 16:40
    Where is Silkwood in LS? Not familiar with that neighborhood.
  7. Tony says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 17:05
    I do not believe he is needlessly generating fear. The numbers speak for themselves. I saw this online and couldn't be more appalled so I have copied it. "Last year there were 549 incidents around Wal-Mart and 250 in Wal-Mart's store or parking lot. 75 of them were more serious than shoplifting and 15 of which were deemed "violent robbery, assault or sex offenses. That means Raintree could be facing "1,250 crimes, 375 more serious than shoplifting and 75 violent over the span of 5 years."
    This doesn't happen anywhere but Wal-Mart! Thank you Mr. Moreno for standing up and speaking truth.
  8. Jane says:
    February 16th, 2013 at 00:30
    Very well said regarding the type of development Lees Summit needs. I drive to KS and Ward Pkwy, Martin City to do my shopping and eating out as do most my neighbors.
  9. Anna says:
    February 19th, 2013 at 18:46
    I know this will look funny as someone who is not in or from lee's summit (although my sister and her kids live there-- I found this link through twitter and was intrigued), and i am a resident of the south part of Kansas City. But you are absolutely dead on the money with your insight. South Kansas City was one of walmart's early pet projects in the form of hypermart, an early experimental form of super Walmart, which opened in 1987. All of the specialty stores in the area got decimated when business went to Walmart instead. Other stores couldn't compete with their pricing, so other businesses sagged. And Walmarts have always been crime magnets for some reason-- I am not really sure why except that there is a wide open store, wide open parking lot, and a bunch of people running about unsupervised. And too, a lot of people sold themselves short on security in the area. Regardless of urban drift, changing demographics, or any other scapegoat people can dream up to use as excuses, this type of development was and still is a recipe for disaster. As for the price choppers in close proximity to each other, we too have had an example of that, between the price chopper in Truman corners in grandview and the price chopper on blue ridge and bannister. When the 2nd price chopper showed up, business suffered because then the customers were split between both price choppers. "Our town does not need more fast food, low end grocery or cheap dollar stores. Our precious development land and TIF dollars should not fall victim to strip malls filled with more banks, gas stations, insurance agencies, pay day loan shops and “We Buy Gold” stores." -- that's us (south kc) alright. The reason other parts of town are thriving is because they have distinct small businesses to draw people in-- local restaurants, local shops, and it's not all hinged on businesses that don't go anywhere (everything i pasted that you listed above) or big box businesses that suck the money out of it and take the local economy with it when the big box stores go belly up after they vampire on the little ones,the same little local stores that actually bother to put money back into the local economy. This is why I will happily stand up against these big developments like Walmart, I don't want any other parts of town to go through what we've been through.
  10. Gayle Lang says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 16:06
    Have lived in LSMO over 40 years. Have worked in OPKS and Lees Summit. They have NMBYs in Johnson Co, KS. We could use a few
    "Not In My Back Yard" activists here. I'm ready. For many our homes are our most valuable asset. Lets all work together to keep LSMO a great place to live. Are you listening City Council?
  11. Marie says:
    March 15th, 2013 at 03:53
    So much of what you said is true, but I would also like to add onto that list that Lee’s Summit doesn’t need more antique shops and tanning salons. It is true statistically that places such as Wal-Mart attract a clientele that attracts or brings crime with it. For this reason alone, people should worry when they see a “Checks Cashed Fast” in their local neighborhood. My husband has warned me that all Lee’s Summit needs is a “Go Chicken Go” when he decides it’s time to go. As far as the New Ball’s Price Chopper store—we need it. You acknowledged the other Price Chopper up the road, but you may not realize that Balls plans on closing that one. It desperately needs to be closed. It’s a nasty store that does not stock up on product well. Our family affectionately calls it the “Ghetto Price Chopper”. Regarding Trader Joes, I teeter back and forth with that idea, part of me would like it, but part of me feels that it’s a fad store that yields high prices on the whole/ organic foods concept. It’s basically a pompous store for those with deep pockets to proclaim that they can purchase the sort of foods they believe will ensure them a healthy lifestyle. What we need are more options for a diverse group of stores. I’m tired of Hy-Vee or Price Chopper as the only 2 choices. And like most who have commented on here, I too will go elsewhere for another choice maybe Apple Market or Sun Fresh (sometimes they have better deals), or if the mood sets in—a pleasant shopping experience in a nicer new store. I personally would like to have a www.Meijer.com store here. They are better than Wal-Mart in the fact that they treat their employees better, and have everything you need under one roof.

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