An Open Letter to Watertown, MA – Please do not bring Walmart here.

Update: Mike Mandel is spelled with only one L on the end. Also, when writing him in, you must include his address of 124 Maplewood Street.

Please indulge me today as I get into local politics for a minute. Wal-Mart is trying to expand in the Boston area, and the town I live in is one of the considered location. While I am not going to lie and say I NEVER go to Wal-Mart (it’s the only place to get the plastic bins I like), I will outright say I do not want one near me. A small, local economy like Watertown’s will never survive if crushed by this box store giant. Keep Wal-Mart in Framingham, which has built itself as a big store shopping destination.

Below is my open letter to the town urging them to not go down this rabbit hole. At the end of the letter are some actions you can take if you are a resident of Watertown, MA.

Dear The Powers that Be in Watertown, MA,

I am writing to express my disappointment in the consideration of bringing Wal-Mart to Watertown. We first moved to Watertown six and a half years ago. Coming from Florida, I was thrilled to land in an area that had small town charm, but was still minutes from the city. It was the best of both worlds.

But then I looked even deeper into Watertown, and discovered that it is more than small town charm, it is a foodies paradise! With small local shops like Crown Cafe, Maximo’s, Demo’s, The Aegean, Matilda’s, Fordee’s, Arax Market, International Natural Bakery, Russo’s and so many more, it is so nice to know that I can get almost everything I need from a local vendor. And for the times when these shops can’t provide what I need, we have Target and the Arsenal Mall to take care of that.

So please tell me, why on earth do we need a Wal-Mart? What can this big box store possibly provide us that we don’t already have, and couldn’t have from a local shop?

The future of Watertown should be in our uniquely local, small business economy. Why do more people not know about our shops and eateries? Let’s spend our efforts in getting that word out there, not in bringing in a conglomerate that is so divisive. The movement in New England is to know exactly where your goods come from, and Watertown has been ahead of that movement for years, so lets let everyone know about it! We don’t need Wal-Mart to come in to our town and kill our most valued asset, that would be heartbreaking.

Please take note of our voice as citizens of Watertown. We have signed this petition (if you would like to gather signatures, please email info@sustainablewatertown.com), we will be writing in Mike Mandel for Town Councilor at Large based on his anti-Walmart platform on November 8th, and we have come together in opposition of even the thought of Wal-Mart in our town. Please do not let our cries fall on deaf ears.

Thank you for your time, and here’s hoping you do the right thing,

Renee Hirschberg, Watertown, MA.

If you are interested in following these issues, please visit http://sustainablewatertown.com.

What do you love the most about the town you live in?

8 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Watertown, MA – Please do not bring Walmart here.

    • I know. The only thing helping on that front is that they shaped an entire mall around that Target, and nothing can thrive there. So it is pretty much a testiment of what the big box store can do. It is also right on the edge of the town, and the Walmart would be pretty much right IN town. I will keep you posted :)

      • oh, i see. that’s good that you’ll have data to pull from about the impact on business post Target and that mall. i agree, a Walmart set in town could be even tougher on your small businesses which is part of what makes your part of the US so charming. you’re definitely not alone. good luck!

  1. Oh sister, I hear you. I live in Brookline, and one of the things I love about it is that it is all about helping small businesses, and that it doesn’t give into big box stores by zoning the aesthetic out of the town. There are so many of these battles going on (Wal-Mart in Watertown, the Whole Foods in JP and any number of issues in Somerville); it’s important for we “townies” to stand up for what we want to happen where we live.

  2. Ahhh this is such a toughie. Because on one hand, when a new Target moves into my area I will admit I get very excited. I’d love one a lot closer than where my local target is right now. I felt the same way when the new Trader Joe’s opened in my hood. So it’s hard because for me, I can’t say that I’m anti all big box stores. I love having ones like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods close and in fact, when I was condo shopping one condo seemed like a dream precisely because it was a block from Whole Foods.

    I hear you on the Walmart because I don’t shop there, and it doesn’t AT ALL match with my values, but I recognize that for a lot of people it’s their shop of choice. So as much as I’d prefer one not in my community, there is part of me that doesn’t want to impose my preferences on others and would rather just make my voice known by where I shop. But where I shop, admittedly, does include some big box retailers because I will admit I LOVE Whole Foods and Target and while I still very much make purchases at my local (amazing) farmer’s market and will drive out of my way for independent shops, sometimes I appreciate the convenience, value, and breadth of offerings that big box stores offer.

    • Your point is well taken Kel. And I guess it is not the box store as much as it is Wal-Mart that presents a problem. All of the data shows that when Wal-Mart appears, crime increases, the local economy suffers, and wages are driven into the ground taken a toll on the standard of living in the area. I don’t think Target, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods cause reactions like that.

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