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Walmart proposes second store in Victoria


June 20, 2012 at 1:20 a.m.
Updated June 21, 2012 at 1:21 a.m.

A second Walmart store will soon call Victoria home.

The retail giant submitted a site plan to the city with specifications for a 155,939-square-foot supercenter at 4101 Houston Highway, said Monica Leal, development coordinator for the city of Victoria.

The plans call for 607 parking spaces, and the location includes another lot yet to be developed.

The site also has two driveways, Leal said, including one that lines up with Teakwood Drive. There, Walmart proposed a traffic light for the intersection.

Leal said the next step is a 10-day internal review process, where various departments evaluate the plan for compliance with city codes. From there, the city either approves the plan or returns it to Walmart with notes for revisions, and the process can move forward.

A representative with Victoria's existing Walmart who declined to give her name confirmed the store was coming and said the company expected to break ground in early 2013.

Ray Shannon, manager of Lentz True Value Hardware, said the second location would likely take away some of his business, but shouldn't cause a pinch.

"With what we offer as far as our customer service, we kind of have our niche," he said, noting the store also offers products the larger retailers don't. "Our customer service is what has kept us going through the years."

During its nearly 60 years in business, Shannon said, Lentz survived Lowe's, Home Depot, the first Walmart and other box stores' arrivals.

"That's got to say something," he said. "I don't think this will affect us that much."

Fran Yeary, who co-owns Bill's Bikes, said she was surprised to hear of the second Walmart, but, like Shannon, didn't expect the move to hurt her shop. Although both the chain store and Bill's Bikes offer bicycles, she said, her business offers a higher quality.

"Some people prefer the less expensive, but some people prefer more quality in their bikes," Yeary said. "People who are going to buy the Walmart bike are going to buy it, even if they have to go across town."

Charles Stevens owns Grump-Pa's Collectibles, an antique store just down the road from the proposed second Walmart site, said he thought the new addition meant good things for those nearby. The store will increase traffic along the road, he said, noting he hoped customer traffic would pick up, too.

He said he also expected land values to increase.

"It's getting exciting around here," Stevens said.

Others saw different benefits to the added retail option.

Jake Padilla and Jesse Huron, juniors at Victoria East High School, said the new store means added convenience for people in the area.

Jake lives on Westwood Street, just blocks from the incoming Walmart, and said his family ventured to the existing store often.

"This is better than having to go all the way up there, and dealing with the traffic," he said.

Linda LaGrega agreed.

The Maplewood Drive resident said she enjoyed going to Walmart, but didn't do it often.

"It's just too far, and there are crazy drivers out there," she said while gardening outside her home. "This will be great. It's good news."

Attempts to contact Walmart's corporate office were unsuccessful.



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