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Compromise over drinks---How Wal-Mart and its neighbors made peace over new El Con store

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Compromise over drinks---How Wal-Mart and its neighbors made peace over new El Con store

By Craig Smith. CREATED Sep 10, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A fight between a new Wal-Mart and a neighborhood is ending with a truce with a company sometimes called one of America's most determined to get what it wants.

You open a big store, you want long hours to bring in big business.  You live next to the store you want to keep things quiet and peaceful.  Wal-Mart and its neighbors worked out a way to get part of what they wanted.

Wal-Mart says it's been trying for about 15 years to open a store at El Con Mall.
Neighbors opposed the store, worried it would bring trouble and traffic.  They focused on alcohol sales and convinced the Arizona liquor board to deny a liquor license. 
Now neighborhood associations are dropping opposition to beer and wine sales, as long as Wal-Mart drops a 24 hour schedule and closes at eleven pm.
Neighbors like Robert Castillo would rather have no deal and no Wal-Mart.

"You're gonna have people coming in and buying all sorts of liquor and raising hell all over the place, so they shouldn't even be there."
But Wal-Mart says it's bringing about three hundred full and part time jobs, and bringing a new source of groceries and retail to mid-town.
Councilmember Steve Kozachik urged neighbors, and Wal-Mart to compromise for a greater good.

"Everybody gives a little, everybody gets a little so yeah. I'm a little surprised but I'm glad they did it."

Neighborhoods sometimes fight incoming Wal-Marts, and Wal-Mart has the clout to fight.

The company says worldwide it serves more than 245 million customers each week.
It has 1.3 million workers in the U-S.  That's almost two and a half times Tucson's population.
But a senior spokesperson says when Wal-Mart saw a chance to reach an agreement, it did.

Delia Garcia says, "That achieves our overarching goal which is to serve our customers in midtown and to move forward in a positive way with the community and with our customers."

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press