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Walmart plans to hire 300 for new Clare store

9-5-14 walmart

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

Walmart is planning to open a 158,000 square foot Super Center in Clare in early 2016, according to information released earlier by Clare City Manager Ken Hibl.

In a telephone interview late last week, Bill Wertz, Media Communications Director, said the new Walmart complex will be located on the corner of Old U.S. 27 and Colonville Road on property recently annexed by the City and now zoned commercial.

The City is developing a 60-acre industrial park further east on Colonville Road. Road improvements are planned and Construction on the park and a new city water tower is expected to begin this month.

Walmart has a purchase agreement for 18 acres of the former Bicknell property on Colonville Road, according to property owner Ron Kunse of the Clare Northern Group. Kunse said he does not have a date yet for the closing on the property.

Hibl said, “They indicated they wish to commence construction in 2015 with a tentative store opening date of early 2016.”

Wertz said there is no site plan yet for the complex. “It takes about one year to build,” he said. The Clare Walmart will include a fuel station, pharmacy, garden center and a tire and lube express.

He said the new store will employ about 300 “associates,” most full time. “More than half will be full time,” he said.

Applications are available online or at existing Walmart stores. “In about six months we will be setting up a hiring station locally,” Wertz added. He said he didn’t know what the local pay scale will be, but added that the average wage in Michigan is $12.93 per hour and that benefits are available to both full and part-time employees.

There has been some opposition to a Walmart in Clare.

At the Clare City meeting Tuesday evening, former City Mayor Al Demarest quoted excerpts from a column by Review Editor Mike Wilcox August 15, (Downtown Clare is flourishing) including one, “I truly believe Walmart and the many offshoots have ruined many downtowns…”

Demarest listed times that Walmart has shown interest in locating a store in Clare. “In the 1990s they first looked at Clare. There was a lot of opposition at a town hall meeting. In 2007, they took out a permit to build a store on Colonville Road, but didn’t use it.” He added, “Look what happened in Bad Axe. When they located there, half of the downtown closed.”

On the other side of the controversy was an email received at the city from resident Patricia Snyder which read, “As a resident of Clare for most of my 60 years, [I] just want to express my opinion about the possibility of a Walmart. I haven’t seen much change in this city. We still don’t have anything for our teens to do; we don’t have jobs for them other than fast food. This city has always catered to the few that have businesses on main street and kept the city focus on growing their own businesses and keeping the poor in their own section of the town. This extremely white retirement community needs a Walmart for so many reasons! What we have been doing for the growth of our city is NOT working.”

She signed the email, “Tired of driving to Mt. Pleasant just to buy everyday necessities and employment.”

City resident Al Iacco, former Clare Mayor and former Mt. Pleasant business owner, said there was the same type of controversy when Meijer came to Mt. Pleasant. “Only two small businesses closed,” he said. “I think they panicked. Other stores, including mine, saw their business double or even triple because of more people coming to town. Now even with several ‘big box stores,’ the city is thriving.”

Hibl said Walmart representatives have planned a public open house in Clare outlining the project in late September or early October and will be presenting a site plan to the Clare Planning Commission in October.

11 Responses to Walmart plans to hire 300 for new Clare store

  1. Eliza Tuttle Reply

    September 5, 2014 at 5:58 am

    I believe this will be great for our town. It will bring so many jobs to clare county, which is one of the poorest counties in Mich. Many businesses have closed or changed hours drastically in the past couple of years. With having people from lake, Harrison, Lake George among others will bring new faces to our town for shopping.

  2. gail Reply

    September 5, 2014 at 6:15 am

    Walmart is a parasite on our backs. Remember the women and children who died in the illegally built factory overseas? They worked for Walmart. AND, if you’re lucky (?) enough to get a 40 hour work week at minimum wage, you are still UNDER poverty level, and thus WE THE CITIZENS SUPPORT YOU through welfare, food stamps, etc. AND THE CORPORATES WANT YOU TO BLAME THE GOVERNMENT? While they create offshore accounts and go through INVERSION (look it up) to avoid paying taxes? TAXES THAT SUPPORT OUR CLEAN AIR/WATER ACTS, OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, OUR PUBLIC SERVICES, RE: POLICE, FIREMEN, ETC? And still, people believe their shit and blame the GOVERNMENT. Who the heck brought you anti child-labor laws, a 40 hour work week, OSHA, etc etc etc WAKE UP AMERICA…YOU’RE BEING TAKEN OVER BY OLIGARCHY….YOU KNOW….A FORM OF FACISM?

  3. Christine Reply

    September 5, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Opening a Wal-Mart in town will provide temporary jobs to people in the area – HOWEVER it will over the course of the next few years shut down most of our small businesses and negate the proposed job gain. Witbecks will suffer terribly I imagine, a good family-run business that has supported our community for ages. Also our flower shops, hardware, salons and dollar stores will lose LOTS of business. Why do we need this mega-store that’s against every mom & pop business in Clare when there’s one only 15 minutes away? There are plenty of options for buying your goods in Clare. I can get everything I need here. It may cost a few dollars more at a local business, but these businesses invest in our schools and in our community. If you’re terribly upset about the $6 increase on your grocery bill, you can drive down the road to Mt. Pleasant to the Wal-mart there. Clare has a lovely thriving downtown area, something that has died in most Michigan towns due to these “developments”. I like our small town – I like knowing the folks at the stores I shop at and the families that own them. And I am not a business owner pushing my own cause. Wal-Mart is a China supporting company, not an American one. Go to any Wal-Mart in America and they are understaffed and work their employees JUST under the legal limit so they don’t have to provide benefits. If you want to see half of our eccentric Irish town shut down, then by all means continue. There will in the end, be no job gain or economic improvement. The whole idea of mega-stores has ruined our country of small businesses and I for one don’t want to see it here.

  4. JaJa Binks Reply

    September 5, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I’ve lived here most of my 32 years. I can’t wait for some of the over priced, snobbish downtown businesses to close down. If you don’t like it, then support ALL of your local businesses 100% of the time. Clare provides nothing for it’is youth other than promoting them to get drunk. Maybe now some of the so called leaders in our community will back off and let someone with a heart for all people and not just crooks, help out this declining area. Sorry… Cops and Donuts is not making us “thrive”. It gross to us that know the facts.

  5. Jason Luna Reply

    September 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    While Wal-Mart does offer discounted prices on most of their items, this is easily accessed at their stores in Mt. Pleasant, Houghton Lake, or Midland. Clare residents have plenty of options if Wal-Mart is the only store which carries what you need.

    In my opinion, the addition of a Wal-Mart to our little town would not double or triple business due to increased traffic, but rather put many of the smaller, independent stores like Witbecks, some of the women’s clothing stores, and possible the office supply store out of business.

    Our little town too small to support the addition of a Wal-Mart that is the same size of the new Supercenter in Mt. Pleasant. I was employed by Wal-Mart at one time and witnessed some of the things the company does just to save a buck. Keeping employees just below the legal hours worked so they can not have benefits offered to them is just one of the many ways they cut corners, and short change their employees just to make an extra buck.

    If you are opposed to the store coming to Clare, don’t let the city’s oligarchy make the decision for you. The behemoth big box store can be stopped! In his autobiography, the late Wal-Mart CEO Sam Walton said that Wal-Mart would never go to a town that didn’t want it. From Vermont to Florida, South Carolina to California, Idaho to Iowa, 86 communities across America have stopped big box retailers – Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and the like – from locating in their towns. It can be done, and concern should be voiced louder than support if it’s construction is something that concerns you!

  6. Sarah C. Mann Reply

    September 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I have lived in the Clare/Farwell area for 34 years and have traveled to Mt. Pleasant, Midland or Saginaw to shop because downtown Clare has never had that much to offer. I have shopped downtown Clare stores on occasions but have found the prices much higher than you can find at bigger stores in other cities. I am looking forward to having a Wal Mart in Clare. The businesses that really care about this community will flourish and those that don’t may go under because of their own greed. This time I hope the caring people of the community win and the greedy ones will be awakened to the need for progress.

  7. Sandra Gillen Reply

    September 5, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I feel that having a Walmart store would be great for Clare. I feel that Witbecks will still bring in there loyal customers they have good prices you can deal with ,but bring in the other store would help the town thrive people from towns close by would come to the Walmart and may even stop at the other business and look around.It will help people get jobs.

  8. Jane Reply

    September 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I would think Family Dollar and Shop-ko have the most to lose. Otherwise, my personal belief is that the money currently spent at big box stores in Mt Pleasant and Midland will stay a bit closer to home. And now everyone headed “up north” will have another reason to stop in Clare – doughnuts, Jays, hamburger hill and whatever they forgot to bring from downstate. Most people know the quality of Wal-mart’s produce, meat and dairy. I don’t think Witbecks has much to worry about.

  9. Jacob Hamilton Reply

    September 5, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I think it’s a great step for this area. I would like a a position for either a sales manager or laborer.

  10. Clark K. Reply

    September 6, 2014 at 9:03 am

    the folks who talk about how bad walmart will be for the county and city of Clare will be the first ones in line when the doors open for business.
    the businesses of clare will now have to learn to compete for their customers or go futsch….

  11. Cindy Reply

    September 7, 2014 at 1:23 am

    I have worked for Walmart for 18 years. I have not had a problem with them in all the time there. My Daughter and son in law work there to they don’t have a problem making a living any more than I do. You can move up to make more money if you want they encourage you to move into management to do better for yourself. I am so tired of people running Walmart done. Look who was still working when so many people were loosing jobs. If you don’t like Walmart then stay away. Don’t try to get a job there. So people who need a job can work. What difference does it make if you work at Walmart or McDonald’s it is still the same pay. Only you can get some benefits from Walmart you wouldn’t from McDonald’s. People suck it up this town needs this. I don’t shop in Clare because they are to expansive.

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