Should Boulder, Colorado welcome a changed Wal-Mart into our community?

Via elephant journal
on Jul 21, 2009
get elephant's newsletter


wal mart green

Should Boulder, Colorado welcome a reformed Wal-Mart into its Green-minded community?

Update: it’s coming…looks like. See (just a few) comments, below.

…And, can pigs fly? Is hell freezing over?

Now, Boulderites drive 20 miles to shop at WMT or Costco—bad for local sales tax (which help pay for our famous, treasured Open Space), which has declined steeply—and bad for our environment, which absorbs that much more pollution thanks to the extra driving miles. And given that Wal-Mart has gone from Death Star Evil to On-the-Verge of Eco-Responsible, overall—in part thanks to the efforts of one of my heroes, Adam Werbach, who I saw recently at LOHAS—it might make sense to welcome Wal Mart or Costco into our flailing 29th St. Mall or another shopping center, and help our poorer citizens have a more affordable shopping option.

Click here for more than this excerpt:

…Yet now this activist who’d set foot in a Wal-Mart store exactly once in his first 30 years is bleeding Wal-Mart blue. “I wholeheartedly believe in what Wal-Mart’s doing, which astounds me,” he says. “Wal-Mart is expert at solving problems.”

His new vision: to do nothing less than make Wal-Mart as well known for environmental sustainability as Target is for everyman design. And to do that in a way that’s good for the business. “Our goal,” he says, flopping into a retro orange chair in his Act Now office, “is to have Wall Street look at Wal-Mart’s green performance, and say, ‘Wow, do more of that.'”…

Sure, I still hate that, the employees don’t make a living wage (though some aspects have improved over last few years); much of the stuff is crap, cheaply made under poorly-supervised conditions, shipped halfway across the world, made in China…but from promoting CFLs over conventional light-bulbs a few years back to iniatiting history’s biggest (and yet unproven) Sustainability Index on alllll its products, Wal Mart seems to have realized that if you can’t beat ’em (us), join ’em.

What do you think? Lemme guess. You hate the idea.


Update: the Walmart issue is back.

Boulder: Looks like Walmart is moving to town. They don’t pay taxes on a lot of what they carry, I hear, but it would mean less driving for those in Boulder who already shop at Costco (which treats their employees far better). It’ll mean deadly competition for McGucks and other locally-owned shops that keep their money in Boulder. And lots more Made in China plastic crap! What do people think, pros and cons?


Vicky: Ugh to Walmart.


Mike H Oh no.


Jeremy E Building and supply chain sustainability is something they’ve put a lot of positive effort into, with probably more positive global effects on reducing emissions and toxins than any legislation could bring about. That said, i still don’t , and won’t shop there.


Denise S Yuk. We don’t need it.


Alexis de Can we do anything about it? That is terrible… It goes against Boulder


Radha  No pros to wal mart in my book.


Darren R Cons…

Domo G If wese gotta’, youse gotta’!


Ryan Van Duzer There’s a rally against it today, jump in!


Joel Serface I think all of these issues need to be expressed to Boulder’s city council. If they are to move here, lets make sure they do so in the most sustainable way that reflects the community’s values. This could be a new model for Wal-Mart that causes them to continue upgrading. They already work with local company Rocky Mountain Institute on improving their buildings, energy use, packaging, and transportation. Let’s see how effective we can be in moving Wal-Mart and the rest of their stores throughout the nation more towards a Boulder model. Or just not let them in 🙂

Waylon Lewis I’ve never shopped at one, and wouldn’t. Am mostly concerned about the tax issue–if it doesn’t even benefit Boulder taxes much, then why would we do it? Also, they usually want subsidies from towns they move into, any word on that?

I’d love to see Sears or Costco in Boulder…or something that reduced the driving and loss of taxes that’s going on right now. As C Fenno Hoffman said, Boulder may be green, but all the driving in and out isn’t. We’re not just a bubble, we’re interconnected. cc Adam Werbach


Chad W · 9 mutual friends



Walter L I would rather have a Trader Joes… oh yeah that was not part of the discussion. 🙂 We will get lots more RV parking with a Walmart… izzat a good thing?


Sara B Are they still paying women less than men? Potential pro: it will bring jobs to those who may not otherwise find employment in Boulder (even Target predominately hires students in undergrad). That said, there are other outlets that would bring jobs as well that don’t have the corrupt history that Walmart does. I’m surprised Boulder went for this…what is council saying are the pros?

Tom F Isn’t Wal-Mart still on the “top 10 anti-gay companies rights” list?
“This company went under fire last fall for its association with the Charity Giveback Group, formerly called the Christian Values Network, which allows a cut money gained through e commerce to go to anti-gay religious organizations. Meanwhile, Jim Walton, the youngest son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, donated $75,000 to the Family Council Action Committee’s 2008 campaign to prevent gay couples from adopting in the state of Arkansas.”

Cayte B ugh

Waylon Lewis Sara, I don’t think it’s up to the Council, or us really…they can just do it if they want to.

Eric Abramson Its a free market but I hope Wal-Mart fails dramatically.

Sara Furey We all know Walmart is terrible for all the obvious reasons. But let’s face it, who can actually afford to always shop at McGuckins, Alfalfas, Whole Foods etc. all the time? I do wish supporting the local economy and sustainable goods was easier

Sara B: @Way, yes, but figured they have some response or discourse? I like Joel’s thoughts…I have heard recent commentary about Walmart trying to renovate their approach/value system/etc., but I am skeptical. Again, we could’ve gone with another organization to meet employment/economic interests of the city that wouldn’t be so controversial.

Alex Marsh King Churches Dont Pay Taxes Either

Joey Padden · Friends with Laura Ruby and 16 others

Sadly it is next to my house. I plan to never spend a dollar at it.


Sam Gastro Iris & 30th?


Joey Padden · Friends with Laura Ruby and 16 others



Danse Etoile Ballet I hate them.

G: Boulder can’t stop this from happening?

Ryan B If no one shops there they will be forced to leave. If people support them they will stay. Let people decide where to spend their money. I hear they are going green by selling legalized marijuana.

Joey: Had a public comment period months ago. Didn’t do anything. Construction is under way. Sadly, it is indeed happening.

Waylon Lewis Sara, there’s nothing cheaper about cheap. I say that as someone who’s had 500 in my account, give or take, my whole life until this year (pulling myself up by my bootstraps, though it takes a village). Cheap China goods kill good jobs, and take money out of the local economy, and kill local shoppes.

Joey P: No, true, you’re right, perhaps I’m overly pessimistic. But the lack of signage or any indication of what is coming after ~2 months of construction… Doesn’t bode well in my head. Anyone none Walmart would want to shout to the world their arrival to such a huge space.

Sam G: I guess my main question is, was letting Walmart into Boulder something that was approved by Boulder, or was it something where they were free to enter anytime they wanted?

Sophie M: Way, could elephant start an online petition of local Boulderites who don’t want Walmart in their neighborhood and wont shop there?…get people thinking/talking about it, give some feedback to those who are actually making the decision…


Sara B: @Ryan – yep. Don’t shop. Educate those who do. It will be gone in less than a year. I will literally cry to see the local shops (so much the foundation of Boulder and its community of entrepreneurial, Eco-minded leaders), be run out of town in the name of Walmart.

Waylon Lewis Sam, anyone can come in.

Joey P: Oh also, if it is Walmart, I bet they do a huge business. A handful of us won’t ever go there, but many more will.

Aren’t building permits public records?

Waylon Lewis Yes but it’s not filed yet, Joey, so it’s speculation based on some pretty good hints.

Jim A: booo!


Waylon Lewis Obviously, huge public stink if it makes national media would make them rethink. Not sure we want that. Looking for guidance on this from informed greenies and social activists like Joel, Adam Werbach, others?

Liz S So if we can’t stop it, let’s boycott it. Waylon wanna get elephant on that ; )


Joey P: How do build a dirt ramp to get bobcats inside, raise a floor 3 feet, pour 10,000 sq ft of concrete without a permit?


Waylon Lewis Liz, I’m featuring this issue on elephant today–we’ll make noise one way or other. I’m inclined to support it coming in, and boycott it personally.

Matthew T A new one was opened in Chinatown here in LA. The resistance efforts were clever and inspiring, despite losing, they won a lot of consessions from Walmart. Good luck.


Waylon Lewis Let’s win concessions! And make sure we get fair wages and local taxes, lots of ’em!

Sara B @Way, why support it coming in? Not being argumentative – wanting to hear your thoughts on the benefit? I guess that while I see potential benefits (mostly financial for Boulder b/c Walmart is a powerhouse and likely paid a gigantic sum to get this ball rolling), I don’t see how our local shops won’t be greatly impacted (e.g. losses will result regardless, with it’s arrival alone).


Wendy D: I have never in my life been in the inside of a Walmart. I also have never owned a television. I don’t plan on breaking that streak. More importantly, the more people become aware, aligned and awake, the more they make conscious choices. It is the people’s choice on where they shop so I support educating people on what goes in their food, how it made and what goes into big business. There are all important topics and knowledge can help people make mindful decisions. That’s my 2cents. Thanks for making a stink about this!


Sara F The shopping plaza at 30th and Iris has been an eyesore since it was a failing Albertson’s, then a closed Pet Smart, Ross, and a 24 Hour Fitness, if I am correct. The only reason Boulderites (outside of those locals who frequent Vic’s and that good hippie fro-yo place { Ali May Geiser } go into that decrepit parking lot is to go to the DMV. That entire intersection needs a remodel, I’m not saying it should be Walmart, but what are better options for that huge piece of land?


Eartha K  I’ll I have to say is boooo!


Sarah R Not for it!!

This is not the Boulder I grew up in..! I’m very disappointed!


Kelly S ugh!


Francine S I thought we had already dealt with this and kept Walmart out, but I guess the steamroller keeps moving forward. I’m not happy. The only positive I can find is that the increased tax revenue may help to fix the pothole on my street.


Joey P

I wonder if the current work is being done by a permit pulled by the property owner, to mask the future tenant. Sort of a “we’ll improve the space, if you promise to come” sorta deal.


Kimberly P Not good. I Think we should promote McGuckins like crazy, like weekly, like starting now! I think we should ask people to make a pledge not to shop there and put it in writing and to support local independent businesses and businesses with good practices. Not pleased.


Waylon Lewis Sara B: Walmart doesn’t pay to come in, usually towns pay them! And if they’re not paying local taxes, according to a source, on most of there goods (because they find a loophole where they technically don’t “own” what they’re selling), that’s horrible. These are my concerns. As for allowing them to come in, I’m concerned about affect on local shops.

But: I’m an informed adult, and can choose to become more informed, and no one will force me to shop there. It’s up to us to act like adults and decide to go or not, and support them with our dollar or not. I won’t, most likely. I haven’t got coffee more than once or twice, literally, at Starbucks in 20 years. But they’ve reformed in some ways, too. Not enough, but if the giants change (Walmart is number one solar user in the US), the world changes.

So I won’t shop there, most likely, esp not if they’re not helping my local community—but I don’t see why we should boycott, either, esp if it means that those who don’t care about local will drive less out into the suburbs and L towns to spend their money elsewhere, and pollute on the way out and back.


Waylon Lewis Sara B: Walmart doesn’t pay to come in, usually towns pay them! And if they’re not paying local taxes, according to a source, on most of there goods (because they find a loophole where they technically don’t “own” what they’re selling), that’s horrible. These are my concerns. As for allowing them to come in, I’m concerned about affect on local shops.


But: I’m an informed adult, and can choose to become more informed, and no one will force me to shop there. It’s up to us to act like adults and decide to go or not, and support them with our dollar or not. I won’t, most likely. I haven’t got coffee more than once or twice, literally, at Starbucks in 20 years. But they’ve reformed in some ways, too. Not enough, but if the giants change (Walmart is number one solar user in the US), the world changes.


So I won’t shop there, most likely, esp not if they’re not helping my local community—but I don’t see why we should boycott, either, esp if it means that those who don’t care about local will drive less out into the suburbs and L towns to spend their money elsewhere, and pollute on the way out and back.

3 minutes ago · Like

Joey Padden · Friends with Laura Ruby and 16 others

I pledge, no problem.

3 minutes ago · Like

Ali Groff Booooooo. A store that epitomizes the ugly side of consumer America. Yuck yuck yuck.

2 minutes ago via mobile · Like

Kirsten Christ If we don’t shop it, it will close down.

2 minutes ago via mobile · Unlike · 2

Kirsten Christ Although it will make it easier for me to compile my ‘people of Walmart’ series.

about a minute ago via mobile · Like · 1

Waylon Lewis Ali, that’s not quite true anymore…they’ve improved. Read my article above for a bit on that. They still need to improve more.


Joey P:

I just wish it weren’t so close to my house. But to Sara’s point above, that shopping center has been a bit neglected for some time. I advocate for a Northern Sun restaurant every time I go to Mtn. Sun, but so far no dice.


Valerie E: Ewww Walmart in Boulder sounds awful!


Aminda R I hate wall mart…i say no no no

Waylon Lewis As Obama says, don’t boo, vote. In this case with your dollar. Facebook comments are easy. Let’s protest and if this is gonna happen, share articles, make noise, let’s win concessions as Matthew said above: get good local taxes, not pay subsidies for them to come in, get them to build a green store, etc.

Joey P · Friends with Laura Ruby and 16 others

Fair points Waylon. I’m still never shopping there.


Waylon Lewis PS: if you care about this issue, join Elephant Boulder. and Conscious Consumerism, where we’ll be making noise and sharing articles. If you want to write about this, email us: …the time to make noise and dialogue is (now)



I don’t shop at Walmart. Period.


Valerie E It seems Walmarts have a correlation with huge parking lots. That’s one issue that needs to be considered if they are coming to Boulder. Make pedestrian/bike options more prevalent that car traffic.


Sanjay R No difference between Walmart Costco Sam’s Club. They are all about low cost. So for peeps who value that over anything else, they will go shop there. Changing demand side would drive the supply side (these mega big box) to change their tune. Walmart btw, has the largest initiative in retail to green their supply chain.

Waylon Lewis Not true. Costco is very different, in terms of how they pay employees, and what they donate money to. It’s not all the same. That said, Sam’s Club was on my panel at LOHAS this year, they’re doing some fair-trade, and will keep doing so as long as folks buy. So there’s the argument that we could change them from the inside by shopping there, but not buying Made in China crap.

Sara F The people who have already been driving to Longmont or Broomsticks to seek out Walmart are the same ones who will now drive all the way to North Boulder to shop there. Devout Target fans will not likely convert to the big blue… And the clientele who get their prescriptions and beauty projects from Pharmaca aren’t going to suddenly decide they’d rather buy Suave shampoo and Walmart brand junk. The evil stigma attached to Walmart is already alive and kicking in the minds of people content to pay the exorbitant high taxes and rent to live in the Boulder Bubble.


Sara B @Way — seriously?!?! (*she says with a sigh, both arms slightly lifted and palms of hands turned upward questioningly*) I thought Walmart paid for the real estate? Misinformed Bollman over here. Eeek…doing some research today in response to all of this fantastic commentary. Post Script: what I would’ve liked to see there instead and to other Sara’s point…a town center, different from 29th street mall, a park, an Udi’s cafe, a bike shop, an art gallery, a wellness clinic, or to Waylon’s point: a Costco, a Sears. Anything other than Walmart? 😉 :-/


Sanjay R Sorry but true Walmart has the largest greening the supply chain initiative that is changing how their suppliers operate. Their impact in terms of sustainability is larger than that of Sam’s Club or Costco. They are using their industry power to drive change.

Waylon Lewis Amen. Then you’re saying yourself they’re not all the “same”?

Sara, they’d pay rent, certainly. But they usually win big subsidies from towns desperate for them. There was a doc on them a few years back.

Waylon Lewis Sara F, that’s a pretty harsh way of talking about Boulder.


Jamie S I don’t shop Walmart, I personally shop local. I am just pointing out there is a demographic who can’t afford it and will shop there. i’m actually agreeing with you Way.

Mike Henderson I don’t like how Walmart treats its employees.

Maggie L: Waylon, you’re right. But let’s say you desperately need a hammer, for example, and you’ve got $5. You’re not gonna save up for a high-quality hammer that will last for years, because you don’t have the income to be that far-thinking and you need the hammer right now.. So you go where you can buy a $5 hammer (ignoring the option of borrowing one for the moment). I totally dislike shopping at chains and buying cheap crap and supporting their crappy policies. AND Boulder local retail prices are amazingly high–way higher than the similar college town from which I hail in the midwest. My belief is that if Boulder wants to fight off big box chain stores, the retailers and restaurateurs need to find a way to make shopping more accessible for all income levels, not just the upper tier. Which means landlords need to start charging reasonable rent so business owners can do so. Which means property taxes and other expenses would have to come down. Which is complicated and probably undoable. I am a low to moderate-income entrepreneur who adores Boulder and believes in supporting local businesses and buying quality products made under supportive conditions for its workers. But my $5 remains $5. I practice all of the above within my ability to do so (I am partially disabled and can’t walk far or ride a bike). Do people like me not “belong” in Boulder?




Monika Wittig Its the consumers that decide… and the local maker culture… is only just (re)beginning… so get excited… it’s going to be big 😉 The silver lining of rising gas prices…




Amy Ippoliti Keep Walmart out! I get physically sick when ever I walk into one of them – which is why I NEVER DO.




Valerie B


Watch this video…




Heather B I Boycott Walmart and always have and always will – they abuse the labor force in China (which is why their prices are low), they take local jobs away because of their lower prices, i feel strongly about paying a tiny bit more to benefit local merchants, and in turn lower the energy footprint (for distance shipping) for the entire planet. If we all did this they would not keep growing– but our local merchants might. This is how one changes the world.




Linda Sparrowe I’ve actually never been in a Walmart, but I seriously cannot believe that Boulder would succumb to the pressure to bring a walmart to town. What is the city thinking? How can it abandon institutions like McGuckins, not to mention the type of products that are bad for the environment and bad for the health of the folks who purchase them ARGH. What has happened to the Boulder I love and miss?




Emily B


Boooo walmart. It makes me sad b/c it used to be a great company, but that was years ago and they treat their employees pretty bad anymore. I could tell you a story that a friend and former manager told me that would make you say “They did WHAT?”




Chrystos: Didn’t we kill a Safeway superstore from ‘gracing’ north Broadway? And isn’t north Broadway now a friendly, flourishing, aesthetically pleasing, people friendly place, with residential & commercial interests artfully mixed? Have we learned anything from this? One would hope so. Investing in WalMart seems to me like investing in big oil. Maybe a good investment in the short view, but an appalling one in the long run.




Roz Lynn Dorf I never have shopped at Walmart and never will.




Linda Sparrowe Waylon…is it already a done deal?




Erica O


I hope this is one of those places where Wal-Mart won’t last…#SLGTBoulder (Support Local Grow Together).




Jeff Roth Where are they trying to put the store? Post a link?




Jayme Peta I hear people say that it is wrong to ban places like walmart becuase only the poorer folks will suffer by having to drive longer. But, I’m not sure an extra 10 or so miles really constitutes a hardship for people who really need to be able to buy things more cheaply. I, for one, say that Walmart hurts a town more than it helps. It MAKES people poor rather then helps people get goods more cheaply.


Whoops, John Fischer just displayed an unfortunately classist Boulderite view. “We shouldn’t have Walmart because poor, fat people will go there.” Wow, great argument. You’re just a job and a thyroid condition from being fat and poor yourself, mr fancy white guy.




Scott Smith You used the word * and therefore contributed to global warming




Eve W


There are no pros – Walmart destroys local business and sells cheap crap made everywhere but the U.S. The majority of the store’s employees will work less then 40hrs/wk so they will not qualify for benefits.




Sarah Lowe NO. 🙁 ick




David H


Despite what people say, you can tell what they really think by which shop they will spend their money in




Niki Rademaekers are we such a big town that we need another huge store?




Beth Anne Sanchez are there pros in this equation?




Amy Elizabeth Tremper Boo!




It’s official, we’re just like every other town in America. We need more pissed off Hippies to help keep Boulder progressive. Let’s start a revolution!




Laurie Ann Larimer · Friends with Amy Elizabeth Tremper


Walmart is the demise of society. Low pay. Shitty products.






People need a tax break not Walmart. I for one want a refund on all my taxes. If Apple doesn’t pay why should I?




Lars P


Don’t like Walmart? Don’t shop there. But please be sure to be equal in your war cries and not spend money at Target, Safeway, Kroger, Petsmart, CompUSA or, dare I say it, Wholefoods. Please don’t cheapen the progressive movement with what really feels and sounds elitist.




Andy Acker That’s terrible news. I brag about Boulder keeping Wal-Mart at bay. It’s just unnecessary, and the repercussions will affect the whole community. The (late in the game) protest should start now.




Betty K


I don’t shop Walmart, they aren’t much cheaper than other stores, but claim they will match any store price.




I dislike everything that Walmart represents.




Tal Nimrodi big booooo!!




Katie A entirely a con…part of the reason boulder wasn’t hit as bad by the recession is locally owned, operated and stocked stores…which boosts LOCAL ECONOMY. This mean’s multiple tiers of people not being paid properly or treated properly and we will all suffer.




Megan Hebbe Just as I support our President on account of his support of the LGBT community and Planned Parenthood (among other things), I refuse to patronize a chain known to treat employees poorly and whose founder is known to have expressed the opinion that women are not fit for managerial positions. I don’t rake in the big bucks, but I buy local (hey Aspen Moon farm!) because while yes the initial investment is higher, in the long term it’s cheaper because I am healthier and happier, which means lower med bills. Let’s form a FB group to help organize and rally!




Sanjay Katie reason Boulder is recession proof is because most employers are NCAR/NOAA/CU/NIST etc. not because of locally owned. I run SLOWCOLOR based out of Boulder and very few local stores wanted to carry our Fair Trade Handmade naturally dyed scarves/throws.




Adam R


I agree with a lot Maggie said. It’s great to vote with your dollars to support local and tasteful busineses. And we don’t want to support ANY criminally unjust companies. But any retailer of goods in common has to be somewhere in the ballpark competit…See More




Scott K ·


Yay!! Awesome!! Finally, a store in Boulder that REALLY cares about its employees and the community that sustains it! Virtually none of its employees will receive competitive pay or benefits, you can count on plenty of discrimination against women and minorities, they’re dead set against unions and they’ll probably receive plenty of subsidies from local government and put friendly neighborhood stores that for decades have employed Boulder citizens out of business in the process. Yea, too many pros to count. I haven’t shopped at Wal-Mart for eight years now and will NEVER spend another penny there




Amy H I have no reason to go into Walmart… ever.




Sylvia: It’s just wrong. Supporting big box chains is like taking the gun out and shooting yourself in the foot. You might be saving a few dollars now but you will ultimately pay for it higher local taxes to offset the lost revenues from your dollars going towards out-of-state corporate coffers. And just as importantly – WalMart has such HUGE buying power they force vendors to cut their prices soooo much that even companies like Smuckers and Kraft Mac n Cheese have problems with such low margins. This makes it virtually impossible for any “small” vendor to get their products in WalMart. Looks like a lose/lose situation to me. The only upside is maybe they will hire students. Buy your toilet paper from Vitamin Cottage – at least it is a Colorado company!

Waylon Lewis Sylvia, just coincidentally (before seeing your above comment) reshared your Best of elephant journal article re local business dollars on

Kate: Walmart sucks. I know, a person close to me worked for corporate Walmart. It’s terrible how they treat even the employees at the top not to mention all the other ways they help destroy our environment and profit. NOT a good addition to Boulder.


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


22 Responses to “Should Boulder, Colorado welcome a changed Wal-Mart into our community?”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Via FB:
    Natalie: Hell No. Thats half of why i ♥ Boulder. Keep that shiat outta here!!
    9 minutes ago · Delete

    7 minutes ago

    Peltier: Even if I give them lots of Green Cred, the reality is that the stuff they sell is still crap, it breaks, and fills our landfills with trash. A $5 waffle iron that breaks in 6 mo is a false economy when compared to a $20 waffle iron that lasts 10 years.
    5 minutes ago

    Waylon Hart Lewis: Of course, of course. I've been a huge non-fan of Wal Mart for years, as has anyone who's seen the Natalie-mentioned movie above. Thing is: half of Boulder shops outside of Boulder, whether we like it or not. Wouldn't it be more eco to get them to shop in Boulder, drive less? The sales tax would help save us from having to close libraries…economy has been tough in Boulder for businesses—we're talkinga bout having to close library branch, services, and trim 5-7% of our budget— while Broomfield, Superior are booming.

  2. Better grammer than "shitty," methinks? Seriously, you're right. What would be better term? I myself am "poorer" than most in Boulder—no savings, ride a bike 24/7 so save on gas…and don't mind the "label." But feel free to suggest better term!

  3. Via @lsizzle: Absolutely not- we already have a Target as an eyesore. support local business 🙂

    my reply via @elephantjournal: I avoid Walmart, Costco, Home Depot…I'm religious re local biz 1st. But that doesn't mean folks don't shop elsewhere!

  4. via Twit:

    [email protected] i get what you're saying of bringing the stores to us to be more local…but I don't think its a good idea

    @XposeIt But why? If wld reduce driving, up our sales tax, & many Boulderites r shopping Costco/Walmrt elsewhr anyway, why not bring 'em in?

  5. via FB:
    Robert: Waylon, you're right. Like it or not, Walmart exists, and people shop there–even Boulder people. You can't hide your head and wish they'd go away, so it's better for Boulder to capture those sales tax dollars that are leaking out of the community. And yes, of course, it would be best if everyone shopped at locally owned businesses, but we have to live in the real world. You may as well derive whatever positive result you can from the "evil giant".

    Mark: no, no, no. No matter what image their marketing team is trying to manipulate (which is most likely a cover-up for worse things going on), Wal-Mart is the anti-America company. Ironically, most Americans shop there, but then wonder why they can't find a job. They practically use slave labor to get the products on their shelves. I hate to give judgement, but I'm very disappointed that half the Boulder-ites shop there. I feel the hypocrisy all the time. Those are often the ones who speak the loudest for human rights and environmental concerns. I know this… they're my friends.

    Mark: Sorry, Robert, but Wal-Mart isn't necessarily the real world. This bubble that Boulder apparently has is really people creating an better reality. People think Boulder should get more real, but if you look back, Boulder is the place that has over and over again pioneered progression that suburbanites and big cities are just now calling reality.

    Amy: No! One of my favorite things about Boulder is that we have managed to remain Wal-Mart free. I don't care how "green" you appear to be these days, gray giant. You should have thought of that in the first place.

    Leslie: Sorry, Robert – I agree with Mark – and I really do hope that WalMart is NOT the real world.

    Trevor: just after starbucks unrolled it's big eco-conscious marketing campaign they made some large contributions to george w bush's political campaign. let's not fool ourselves here, this could just be plain and simple green-washing. plus, the impact of the amount of cars driving in and out of boulder to shop elsewhere could never be offset by locating an economic and environmental disaster like wal-mart in our community. (see above)

    Robert: I am no supporter of Walmart–it's been years since i've been in one–and i do everything i can to support local businesses who keep dollars in the local community. But where do you draw the line? Starbucks, Target, Home Depot, Office Depot, Barnes & Noble, KFC and a host of chain/fast food restaurants that are already in Boulder? I spend a lot of time trying to educate people on the benefits of local independent business, and the damage done by big box stores and the "chain" mentality. We're all better off with a strong local economy, and i think it's counter-productive to ban any one source of revenue that could have a major impact on the services that help make Boulder such a desirable place to live. Heck, i'd even be in favor of an added sales tax on any big box purchases to dissuade people from shopping there. But to me, not having a walmart in boulder just means a large percentage of the population has to go out of town to shop, and i don't see how that helps anything.

    Nyima: Large corporations are not economically sustainable EVEN if they are ecologically sustainable.

    Ehron: No matter how green they say they are, they make it impossible for small, local businesses to compete and survive. Stay out of Boulder. If you need your cheap crap from a big box store fix, we already have a Target.

  6. Natalie: Robert is right~we already have too many chains here. And thats what makes towns just alike~and what makes Boulder different. You can eat/shop at Cheesecake factory,CPK,Applebees/Target,Dick's,HomeDepot,PetSmart…. in ANYtown America. Only in Boulder can you eat/shop at BerryBest Smoothies, Juanita's, Sunflower/McGuckin, Neptune, PC Pantry, Buffalo Exchange….The reality is that Wal-Mart will run these amazing, unique, small businesses OUT OF BUSINESS. Which is what makes Boulder-Boulder. Pearl St small biz's are already hurting to pay rent. 29th st. mall turned out to be a joke. A bunch of concrete and shit you can get anywhere else. There are TWO Wal-marts in Longmont and wal-mart wanted a 3rd. Despicable. Longmont looks like chain store-hell right now.

    Kyna: then why o why l did Boulder let any of them in to begin with,…was hypocricy at it's finest from the green city.

    Ehron: Kyna: This is what happens when one person (Stephen Tebo) owns the majority of property in the town. It wasn't "Boulder's" choice to force small, local businesses off of Pearl St. It was their landlord who raised the rents to amounts only affordable by nationwide chains. Same thing has happened all over town, because most of it is all in the hands of one or two landlords/developers.

    Kyna: i figured such, what a republican no doubt.

    Kyna: he, not you Ehron 🙂

    Natalie: not so fond of TEBO. he raised rent x3 on someone i know that was at a biz location for 20 years. They ended up better off because of it-but still. And when i was looking for a place for my biz-i was told to stay away from him. Monopolies are no good.
    58 minutes ago · Delete

    Kyna: like David O Russell says repeatedly, we should have listened to Carter in 79. There are those who ask questions and those who are afraid to..
    56 minutes ago · Delete

    Kyna: disagree with whomever said "the real world" OH HELL NO. this is the world we've created and allowed to be by letting these corporate greedy companies sell us plastic crap.

    Kyna: consumerism is a dying religion.

    Mark: On the contrary, Robert, go look at the destruction of the many small towns as Wal-Mart opened their doors. THIS is the biggest point. If Wal-Mart arrived it would kill local businesses. This is their strategy. It is intentional. It's not technically called a monopoly and there's no government intervention, but monopoly it is. It destroys local business and they have the worst human ethics on the planet (as a corp, that is).

    Sorry, you tapped into an issue of mine. 🙂

    Kyna: not only DO NOT LET THEM IN, but do not frequent the ones there already. Boulder is now like every suburb in us of a, chilis, target..shame to see, a shame to see. Even WHOLEPAYCHECK, sunflower etc, ask them , WHERE IS THE LOCAL FOOD?? My peeve a tomato from mexico ?? what? demand change.

    Robert: Mark & Kyna- I agree wholeheartedly with you…it's an issue of mine as well. My point is, you can't ignore them, or keep them out…you have to educate the consumer why they're bad, so that the local businesses CAN compete. There are other ways to compete, aside from price. McGuckin's manages to hold its own vs. Home Depot. And if consumers really understood the cost of "cheap" at places like walmart, it would make a big difference. But you can't change people's buying patterns simply by having the big boxes a couple of miles down the road. I say, let them in, and take their sales tax revenue to use for the good of the community…and promote like hell why they're evil and represent everything that's wrong with our economy today. I think now, more than ever, people are starting to realize that this current economic nightmare might have been prevented if we weren't at the mercy of businesses that were "too big to fail".

    Toby: Whole Foods. Wal Mart. Amazon. Same sh*t, different class wars.
    6 minutes ago · Delete

    Waylon Hart Lewis Trevor! Good to hear from you. I hope you would assume that elephant, which writes on greenwashing bullshiite all the time, wouldn't fall for such bullshiite from such a source as Wal-Mart, who is as I say in the article above the Death Star of conscious consumerism. That said, Adam Werbach and others have been working with them—and Wal-Mart does get it can
    1. save money by greening its operations
    2. win customer loyalty and avoid documentaries and community hatred such as the link Natalie mentioned
    if they improve their operations. I opposed Home Depot moving in years ago, I'm a loyal indie McGuckins' shopper, and whatever Toby says, this ain't about class wars merely, this is about protecting and nurturing a strong, diverse community—which is more than important, it's spiritually-vital work.

  7. via FB:

    Kyna: HOWEVER, Waylon, here's the thing …
    these companies who now suddenly want to do right Because the consumer demands it make me ill. i.e. now dry cleaners are going natural, now food companies are reducing corn syrup, now trans fat isn't so cool.. THESE companies knew the damage years ago, and their lack of ethics allowed them to continue to harm our children UNTIL we demand change.. well i choose to support those who ALWAYS did the right thing because it was right. shut down the giants who only care for the dollar.

    Robert: Kyna- agreed, support the ones who've always done it. But the big companies are only changing because of consumer demand–i think that's great. That's the only way things will change–it's the power of the consumer. It's our spending that forces the change….and even if it's taken years, it's progess. The more we educate more consumers, the more change we'll see in more places. I'll still choose to support the local independents before shopping there, but i'd rather have them taking some steps than not.

    Toby: Not class war merely, no.

    Kyna: i guess that is the best attitude, but as we know there are 2 kinds of people those who question and those who do not. the ones who do not, the conservative right, were happy as clams to eat that trans fat out of that plastic forever…because they trust anything the television tells them :)buy buy buy dept debt debt…
    13 minutes ago · Delete

    Toby: It's better actually to pass laws. Consumer power is a fiction. Think about China.
    8 minutes ago · Delete

    Kyna: well when the law passers are in bed with the big stores and the oil and food industries… only revolution might suffice :)i'd better go meditate…this topic fires me up so much..

    Waylon Hart LewisAmen, Tobyman!
    2 seconds ago · Delete

    Waylon Hart LewisKyna—you got that right—Wal Mart, Starbucks, others don't care about doing the right thing, anyone who's watched the Corporation knows what they care about first and foremost: the bottomline. That's why you can trust some of what they're doing "green," now, bc they finally realize there's money to be made thanks to folks like you being ardent, passionate, troublemaking conscious consumers all these years! Viva la Grassroots Revolucion!

  8. ecospecifier – – have followed the issue of CFL down the rabbit hole, and there is no doubt that they come out on top

    as for 'sustainable wages' – there is no doubt this is an issue, however, it does take some time to change how large firms operate, and a great deal of kudos needs to go to Wal Mart for just how much they have changed in such a short space of time

  9. Robert says:

    but the beauty of it is, no matter what the reason that the corporations shift gears, the fact that they're talking about it and promoting it will awaken some of the mindless souls that are shopping there now…and at least get it on their radar screen. some may shift themself, and someday become more conscious consumers. the steps might be … Read Morepoorly motivated, and baby steps at that…but they ARE steps…until we figure out a way to enlighten society as a whole all at once, i'll take any progress i can get.

  10. Carl R. Castro says:

    I think whether or not Walmart has really, truly gone green and can be trusted to continue to do so or to do so fully is not the primary issue as to whether or not to allow them into a local economy. Regardless of greenness, Walmart's business model remains the same: big box, pressure on manufacturers and distributors to discount and to wholesale exclusively to Walmart, and resulting pressure on local businesses at all points in the supply chain – not to mention lower wages for workers.
    Walmart has not changed and really, to survive, cannot change, this business model, and it is this model that is proven to cause damage to communities.
    Selling green to some for Walmart also supports selling crap to others.
    However, I must admit that, a few years ago, I was jazzed to purchase loads of t-shirts and underwear for an incredibly cheap price at the Laramie, Wyoming Walmart before checking into SMC for a month. Didn't have to worry about sneaking in to use the washers. 😉

  11. Carl, my man! Love hearing from you. Right–if Boulder were to let a Costco or WalMart in, figuring to gain in sales tax that supports Open Space and figuring that a good deal of Boulder, including our "poorer" citizens, would appreciate not driving/polluting their way to Superior Broomfield in order to do so…we'd have to demand Wal Mart add or Costco LEED-certify their building, put some solar on there, pay their employees properly, compost, provide bike racks, community benefits…they'd die to get into Boulder. And I'd die to see Boulder stop driving off to Flatirons mall etc., and shop in Boulder more!

  12. Great question. But on your earlier points: their green initiatives, and whether they're real and with integrity, do matter—they're huge and if their Sustainability Index really is for real, it'll force thousands of manufacturers to publicize and reinvent their distribution chains.

    On your other point, going to Longmont or Broomfield is precisely what is turning Boulder, once a regional economic hub, into just another town fighting for sales tax dollars. Sales tax pays for Open Space.

    And, besides, saving our citizens from driving would save gas, pollution, and as I mentioned be good for our sales tax revenues–which'll save us from having to close library branch, cut services etc.

  13. Great question. But on your earlier points: their green initiatives, and whether they're real and with integrity, do matter—they're huge and if their Sustainability Index really is for real, it'll force thousands of manufacturers to publicize and reinvent their distribution chains.

    On your other point, going to Longmont or Broomfield is precisely what is turning Boulder, once a regional economic hub, into just another town fighting for sales tax dollars. Sales tax pays for Open Space.

    And, besides, saving our citizens from driving would save gas, pollution, and as I mentioned be good for our sales tax revenues–which'll save us from having to close library branch, cut services etc.

  14. via FB:

    Robert: but the beauty of it is, no matter what the reason that the corporations shift gears, the fact that they're talking about it and promoting it will awaken some of the mindless souls that are shopping there now…and at least get it on their radar screen. some may shift themself, and someday become more conscious consumers. the steps might be poorly motivated, and baby steps at that…but they ARE steps…until we figure out a way to enlighten society as a whole all at once, i'll take any progress i can get.
    6 hours ago · Delete

    Mark: Robert, your approach to this is very noble and responsible in theory. But, keep in mind that we're not talking about any ol' company here. You'll look back on this and say what was I thinking when you and I have failed to "educate the consumers" well enough. If the jar of cookies are within reach, you forget about whether or not something's bad for you… or the planet for this matter.

    Here's another point to be made. What is it that makes Boulder unique? Who here smiles when you see the "Keep Boulder Weird" sticker? Do you ever go on road trips and all the little towns have the same shops, to the point that you're not sure if you're having deja vu or went back the wrong way? That cannot happen to Boulder.
    2 hours ago · Delete

    Robert: Mark- my point is, the jar of cookies IS within reach…in almost any direction. A Walmart, Costco, or equivalent can be found in nearly every surrounding community. It's just that Boulder isn't reaping any benefit from it. If this debate were "should Boulder County bring in the first Walmart", it would be different, for all the reasons pointed out here. But they're there. Boulder residents are taking their money out of town to buy there. And look around Boulder…there are plenty of those "same shops" as everywhere else already there. It may be symbolic to keep Walmart out…but it's not in Boulder's best interest to miss out on the potential revenue. There's lots that makes Boulder unique, and the fact that there's such passion about keeping it unique and not supporting the chains is a big part of it. But if sales tax revenues don't support the services that make Boulder's lifestyle what it is, the schools as strong, etc..will boulder remain unique? it's a tough tradeoff.

  15. Travis says:

    There's a "SuperWallMart" nearby, it takes up half of Westminister & Arvada. If they really wanted to be "green", they would consolidate that one, and turn half of their parkinglot into being a wildlife refuge.

  16. Sounds like a killer business plan.

  17. […] remember reading that “You can’t have a sustainable world without a sustainable Wal-Mart”. Now I’m not saying Wal-Mart is the poster child for sustainability. Not in the least. But are […]

  18. Cod6 is about to be comming out the Nov 11 I just can't freaking wait for it to come out. Add me on Xbox Live my gamertag is Globalthreat

  19. Bonnie says:

    Have you considered that those who live in Boulder work outside of Boulder and shop during their lunch hour or on the way home? Taxpayers pay to build the Walmart and to subisdize their employees for medicaid, food stamps, housing, transportation, education ect… Walmart pays crap wages in addition to selling merchandise that has been made by 6-13 year olds who work 17 hours a day. Do some research. Walmart is the devil!

  20. You really make it appear really easy together with your presentation but I to find this matter to be really one thing which I think I would by no means understand. It seems too complicated and extremely wide for me. I’m taking a look ahead for your subsequent submit, I will try to get the hang of it!

  21. Vision_Quest2 says:

    New York City has always hated Wal-Mart, despite having a high cost of living and many, many, MANY residents who might appreciate lowered prices, and always would.

    Because Wal-Mart is a way to displace the lowered cost of selling goods on the backs of the taxpayer, who has to subsidize their workers' food stamps, Medicaid, WIC and housing subsidies-not to mention the spate of labor lawsuits brought about by overtime abuses.