Despite resistance from locals, the Latham Circle Walmart has opened it's doors, yesterday was the grand opening of the 'Super Store' that will make or break Latham, NY.


In a past blog I joked about how the Latham Circle Walmart has accidentally reset Latham back to it's roots, with Walmart's free overnight parking for RVs and campers policy, because Latham, NY was founded by landowners who turned the crossroads between Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady and Troy, into a rest stop for travelers.

Local business owners and their supporters find nothing funny about arrival of the Latham Circle Walmart, I did not completely understand why until I decided to visit the new Walmart last night.

I used the Lowe's entrance because I was not about to deal with any new traffic arrangements, as I approached the new Walmart parking lot I felt a little excited, because life had returned to what was once a sad reminder of the failure of the Latham Circle Mall.

What was once a grim deteriorating parking lot, barely buzzing with consumers, was now a polished nerve center of consumerism.

The parking lot is bigger then what it used to be during the Latham Circle Mall Days and it were half full, but full enough to account for the entire Hannaford or Price Chopper parking lot. I could of thought that it was only because the place was so new and that the novelty will wear off eventually, but this is Walmart.

I parked way in the back of the parking lot, something I always do just so I can remember where I parked my car. The long walk to the entrance felt weird, because I kept thinking "I never thought I would be walking toward a Walmart in this parking lot."

My nostalgic state of mind distracted me from the size of this place, but once I walked through the doors I saw just how big the new Walmart is, 180,000 sq ft, making it the second biggest supermarket in the Capital Region.

My shopping list was short, I needed soap, body wash, allergy relief, juice and chocolate milk, the sections I would need to visit in order to complete my shopping were on the complete opposite sides of the store.

After some confusion in finding a basket to put my things in I got the soap, body wash and allergy relief, then proceeded to walk across the entire store.

As I walked through an old feeling crept up on me, walking down the aisle I felt like I was back in the Latham Circle Mall for some reason. The feeling did not last long though, because eventually I noticed that there were a lot of people here and I had not even reached the grocery section yet.

As I looked around I thought "This place has everything."

I started imaging how someone could furnish, decorate, accessorize and stock their home full of food, just by shopping here.

I was not sold yet, there would be one defining factor, that would determine my acceptance of this 'Super Store' and that would be the chocolate milk, I only drink one brand of chocolate milk and it comes in three sizes, if this new Walmart did not have it, I would never return.

As I approached the grocery section, I noticed more and more customers, but the strange part was, it seemed as if these people had been shopping all their lives at this store that just opened at 7:00am.

Then I entered what can only be described as a grocery wonder land, isles of food for as far as the eye could see. I became giddy and mesmerized at the site of all the different things I could buy and put into my face. I roamed aimlessly, taking in all the different food products I could buy, then I got lost and forgot where I was and what I was doing beneath the florescent lights.

I eventually remembered what I was doing, I picked up some fruit punch and headed for the dairy cooler, as I approached it I thought "This is the moment of truth."

They had my chocolate milk, all three sizes, neatly arranged in their own glowing row of liquid, chocolate glory, I could not help but grin and think "I am home."

I picked up my chocolate milk and headed back to the front, glancing at all the goodies I wanted. I was impressed with the beer isle and the price on cereal and crackers, I had to force myself to walk away.

Then I found myself baffled again, their self-checkout machines had their own boxed in section with what looked like over a dozen machines. As I checked myself out, I started to feel guilty, because it was then that it dawned on me, local businesses don't stand a chance.

I walked back to my car, which I had no trouble finding, I began to think of how I may never have to go to Hannaford or Price Chopper ever again, and I had only really checked out three of the many different sections of the store.

Driving home, I felt guilty for how impressed I was, I even forgot about the good old Latham Circle Mall at that point, all I could think about was Walmart.

Now I find the possible unfortunate future ironic, because the Latham Circle Walmart could turn the rest of Latham into the ghost town that the Latham Circle Mall was.

I have lived in Latham my entire life and now I am returning to places I once knew and forgetting where I am.

Is the local resistance right? Will Walmart destroy our town? Or is this as Town Supervisor, Paula Mahan said "A new beginning?"




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