A Wal-Mart team member picks an order for pickup in this Wal-Mart corporate photo. Such services negate the need for a second Porterville location, according to a spokesperson.
Written by David Castellon
Porterville came awfully close to having a second Wal-Mart in the city, but after 15 years of effort, the retail giant has scrubbed the plans.
But while the proposed super center — which would have had a combined department store and supermarket, compared to the standard Wal-Mart that currently exists across town without the supermarket component — certainly stirred up conflict over the years.
Opponents of the plan to develop the new store in what became a couple of possible sites along Jaye Street off Highway 190, objected mostly over noise, traffic, the store’s potential effects on other businesses and wages for the company’s employees.
But none of that made Wal-Mart change its mind. Rather it was a matter of how shopping has changed over the past decade-and-a-half, said Tiffany Wilson, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart, which also operates a distribution center in Porterville.
A Wal-Mart official informed Porterville’s city manager of the change of plans Aug. 9.
Wilson said the last approval recently had come from the city to allow construction of the store. But at about the same time, Wal-Mart had taken another look at the project, balancing the pros and cons of having a second, larger store in Porterville against the company’s efforts to promote more online sales and offering services — including curbside pickup of online orders.
“And we decided not to continue with the development process,” said Wilson, adding that, “Now we’re focused on new ways to serve people in stores and online and improving stores and adding services like online grocery shopping and pickup and grocery delivery.”
She noted the other Porterville Wal-Mart at 1250 W. Henderson Ave. continues to offer a bricks-and-mortar shopping experience for customers who prefer or need it, and it was remodeled recently to include some of the chain’s latest shopping innovations.
As such, Wilson explained, “we have more options for our customers, so we don’t need another physical store so close to our other location.”