City Council Discusses Walmart's Possible Return
Economic Development Director: No confirmation on retailer's plans for Woonsocket site.
There's no official word from Walmart on whether it's planning to open up its Woonsocket location again, according to Economic Development Director Matt Wojcik.
Councilman Marc Dubois asked Wojcik for an update on the property and WalMart's plans during Monday night's City Council meeting, but Wojcik didn't have any concrete news.
The WalMart building at 1919 Diamond Hill Road has been vacant since the store moved over the line into North Smithfield in Sept. 2011. At the time, Walmart officials sad they would study the situation and possibly return to Diamond Hill Road.
Dubois referenced rumors of the retailer's return, and asked if Wojcik had any information on their plans.
"We have no confirmation," Wojcik said, but, "I see activity building that's fairly significant."
The site was quiet Thursday morning. The property remained closed and vacant.
I certainly hope it comes," Wojcik said. We've made the case all along that WalMart has two distinct market baskets in this area, one from Dowling (North Smithfield), one from Diamond Hill.
Dubois asked what Wojcik had done to try to influence their decsion. Wojcik said he had provided them with as much market data as possible to support a move back to the city for Walmart.
"It would be nice to get that traffic back on Diamond Hill Road," Dubois said.
"All the market data that says that you shouldn't have a Starbucks in Woonsocket say that you should have a Walmart," Wojcik said, however, "There are some fences that need to be mended with the customer base here." Wojcik said he hoped that necessity would prove more important to local shoppers than their ire with Walmart for leaving.
Mayor Leo Fontaine said Walmart had indicated they would be studying the situation with the possibility of moving back into Woonsocket at a later date. "This does seem to indicate that they are following along with what they said they were going to be doing at the beginning." Fontaine said.
A request for information on the site sent to Walmart's corporate office was not returned.