Local Connection: Downtown Walmart - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: Downtown Walmart

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By: Rick Blangiardi

The news that Walmart may be taking over the old downtown Macy's spot at King and Fort Street Mall has its good points and bad.

It's great for the burgeoning population downtown that need a grocery and retail choice and might enliven the area that is pretty much a ghost town after 5 pm.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that Chinatown merchants will take a hit from a big-box retailer that can pretty much undersell everyone within miles of its location.

It doesn't take long to find news stories in cities from Los Angeles to Sarasota to find there is real opposition to Walmart moving into areas that threaten long-established mom-and-pop operations.

Walmart has been successful on Keeamoku Street in an area with massive Ala Moana Center nearby and the shops and restaurants on those areas do not seem to have suffered.

Maybe the crowds that are attracted to Bethel, King, Hotel and Bishop streets will actually lead to great growth at nearby Chinatown and everyone will thrive.

It is our fervent hope that after much study and discussion, Walmart or some large retailer can bring foot traffic back to downtown and that all businesses can benefit.

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