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Second coming of Walmart

Major retail outlet set to open next week.

The second coming of Walmart in Guelph is nigh.

Workers at the site this week said Thursday, Aug. 4 is opening day for the Stone Road location. The company did not respond to requests for information about the opening. 

Crews were putting the finishing touches on the outside of the building this week. The signs are up, the colour blue has completely replaced the red and beige that were the colours of the short-lived Target store at the same location.

It didn’t take long for the store to get ready for opening. About 11 months ago, Walmart announced it would turn the former Target into its second location in the city.

The announcement came after a national announcement in May 2015 that Walmart had inked a deal to acquire 13 of the defunct Target stores across Canada.

After great fanfare, anticipation and expenditure, Target expanded into Canada in 2013, purchasing Zeller’s stores and mapping out a strategy to renovate 100 to 150 of them. The strategy failed miserably. The Guelph store, the first Target to soft-launch in Canada, lasted less than two years. The entire Canadian chain collapsed.

The first Walmart in Guelph, located in the north end, faced significant community opposition when the company first signaled its intent to set up here.

The city voted against the plan, which lead to an Ontario Municipal Board challenge by the company. The OMB overturned Guelph’s decision, but Walmart’s plans were stalled for another decade by intense opposition, both through city council votes and legal actions by opponents. It finally opened in 2006.

There has been no hint of opposition to the new location.   


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Rob O'Flanagan

About the Author: Rob O'Flanagan

Rob O’Flanagan has been a newspaper reporter, photojournalist and columnist for over twenty years. He has won numerous Ontario Newspaper Awards and a National Newspaper Award.
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