Corporate giant may enter Quaker Village

Save money. Live better. Walmart?

Rumors of a new Walmart Neighborhood Market invading Quaker Village have been buzzing around Guilford College in recent weeks.

In November, News & Record posted a short article concerning the rumor, stating that city officials have not received official plans for changes to the property around Quaker Village.

According to the rumors, however, the Walmart would probably occupy the parking lot space behind where the old Fresh Market was located.

The Fresh Market property has been empty since 2007, when the grocery relocated. Since then, Quaker Village has lacked an anchor business.

Janet Wright, faculty secretary and formerly on the zoning commission, said that during the rezoning for Trader Joe’s on West Friendly Avenue, some advocated for the grocery store to be built into Quaker Village.

“People were saying, ‘No, that property isn’t fit for a grocery store anymore,’” said Wright. “That’s why Fresh Market left. So, my first thought was, ‘If it wasn’t good enough for Trader Joe’s, how is it going to be for Walmart Neighborhood Market?’”

Aston Properties, the owners of Quaker Village, declined to comment on the recent rumors.

Associate Professor of English Diya Abdo heard about the new Walmart before the holidays when she and her husband picked up food at Chinese Kitchen Restaurant.

“The owner (of Chinese Kitchen) told my husband their lease was not renewed because the owners of Quaker Village planned to tear it down and build a Walmart,” said Abdo in an email interview. “Right now, (the Village) is a decent, if not perfect, set up for a small liberal arts college where folks can walk over and grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee.”

For Bryan Dooley ’13, some of his best memories of Guilford occurred in Quaker Village.

“When I first heard the rumor, I laughed,” said Dooley. “Walmart does not fit the Village. The Village feels small and intimate now. I like the Village as it is.”

Guilford has a heated history with Walmart. About eight years ago, The Guilfordian published an advertisement for Walmart and Benjamin Dedman ‘09, then editor-in-chief, was punched because of it.

“I do remember someone getting angry because they thought we were selling out our small, community paper to an evil corporation,” said Dedman in an email interview. “I’m sure it’s the same now … Guilford emotions always run hot.”

Associate Professor of History Damon Akins disapproves of the idea of Walmart coming to Quaker Village, saying increased traffic flow would be a hindrance rather than a boom for the community.

“When you have a four-lane road that is designed to move cars quickly, it makes it harder for the pedestrians to move into the street,” said Akins in a phone interview. “It becomes more of a car space and less of a pedestrian space.”

Michael Delson ’13 was hit twice crossing Friendly to Quaker Village in his wheelchair. And that was without the potential traffic the Walmart Neighborhood Market could bring.

Love it or hate, Walmart Neighborhood Market may be here to stay.

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