Home Depot, Wal-Mart roll out smaller stores

Wed May 2, 2007 12:25PM EDT

By Karen Jacobs

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The biggest of the big-box retailers are looking to get a lot smaller as they try to bring in more customers in areas where mega-buildings are neither practical nor affordable.

Discounter Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, the world's largest retailer, and home improvement industry leader Home Depot Inc. (HD.N: Quote, Profile, Research are rolling out stores that are much smaller as their bigger warehouse stores near a saturation point in the United States.

This year, Wal-Mart said it was changing the layout of its Neighborhood Market stores, which are typically about 39,000 square feet, to add more frozen food and bakery items and make over the health and beauty departments.

"We are tailoring specific Neighborhood Markets to provide the type of product mix that will be customized," Wal-Mart spokesman Dave Tovar said.

Wal-Mart, which opened its first Neighborhood Market in 1998, now has about 112 of these smaller stores and plans to open 15 to 20 of them over the next year. Wal-Mart supercenters average 187,000 square feet.

"The need to continue to grow the company and open up stores in places where they're not is what's driving this," said George Whalin, president of Retail Management Consultants.

Last month, Home Depot opened stores that measure 28,600 to 50,000 square feet, smaller than its average 105,000-square- foot format, in California, spokesman Anthony Wilbert said.

The home improvement chain will also roll out small-market stores in Tennessee in July, and plans to open a 235,000- square-foot super store in New Jersey next year.

Whalin said smaller stores make sense for Home Depot but pose challenges for Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart "is so used to having a bigger palate to paint on and a bigger space to do things in that I think (a smaller format) is difficult," Whalin said.

He said stores in the 40,000-square-foot range require retailers to slim down their offerings. "I don't know that (Wal-Mart) is convinced they can do it right," Whalin said.

But he added that Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart might put more emphasis on smaller stores now that Britain's Tesco Plc (TSCO.L: Quote, Profile, Research plans to launch U.S. grocery stores.

Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, will open small grocery stores in the United States this year to focus on ready-to-eat meals and fresh and environmentally friendly products.

At Home Depot, Whalin said smaller stores can work in urban areas, particularly if they are served by independent hardware stores that can't offer the Atlanta chain's pricing and selection.

"There's a part of America that needs the kind of a hardware store and home center that Home Depot operates," Whalin said.

The New York Post on Monday reported that analysts say Wal-Mart is mulling stores as small as 20,000 square feet. When asked whether Wal-Mart was planning even smaller versions, Tovar said the chain was currently focused on its 40,000-square-foot format.

Whalin said he would be "real surprised" if Wal-Mart set up a 20,000 square-foot store.

Home Depot shares were up 38 cents to $38.81 in noon trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, while Wal-Mart gained 33 cents to $48.66.


April 10, 2007

Roundtable on Mountain Architecture
What: Our Future Summit discussion
When: Thursday at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Summit County Community and Senior Center near Frisco
Moderator: Thomas Davidson, Summit County commissioner

SUMMIT COUNTY — A community roundtable discussing mountain architecture is scheduled for Thursday at the Summit County Community and Senior Center near Frisco.

The talk, organized by Our Future Summit, will detail how buildings influence our sense of place and community, as well as how buildings influence local water resources. One of the objectives of the talks are to help encourage a more sustainable future with development. According to Our Future Summit, this can be achieved by raising awareness, encouraging greater community involvement, and providing more sustainable design opportunities.

Participants in the roundtable will include:

Thomas Davidson, Summit County commissioner
Prior to his vacancy appointment to the Board of County Commissioners in January, Thomas spent four years as Vail Resorts Development Company’s director of development responsible for management, planning, budgeting, entitlements, community relations, envisioning as well as selection of consultants and contractors.

Previously, he served as manager of planning for Keystone Real Estate Developments and manager of recreation and commercial leasing for Keystone Resorts.

Mr. Davidson is co-chair of Summit County Early Childhood Options, a board member of Keystone Neighbourhood Company and an advisory board member for both the Keystone Science School and the Snake River Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Thomas’s first job in Summit County was as a liftie at Arapahoe Basin, intending to stay only for the ski season. Like many of us, he never left.

Marty Zeller, Conservation Partners
Marty Zeller is President of Conservation Partners, Inc., a land conservation and rural planning firm specializing in community-based strategies that protect lands with high conservation or natural resource values. Conservation Partners works with landowners and land trusts throughout the Rocky Mountain West to develop conservation plans and strategies tailored to financial, family, tax and conservation objectives. CP has assisted many communities and counties throughout the West in developing open land plans and implementation programs to protect special community resources in ways that constructively engage landowners. A number of these plans have received regional and national awards. In addition, Conservation Partners works with half a dozen charitable foundations to develop programs that improve the capacity of land saving organizations and promote more effective land stewardship.

In 2003, Marty also established Colorado Conservation Connection, a tax credit exchange company that matches sellers and buyers of conservation easement tax credits under Colorado’s innovative tax incentive program. Prior to starting Conservation Partners, Marty was a principal at Design Workshop, a large land planning and landscape architecture firm. He also spent ten years as vice president of two statewide land trusts, Colorado Open Lands and the Vermont Land Trust. He is frequently asked to speak on conservation and land use issues in the West.

Townsend Anderson, City of Steamboat Springs
After nearly 35 years of involvement with historic preservation and community development, Townsend Anderson has jumped into political life as a City Councilor in Steamboat Springs. Before pursuing elected office, he was associated with the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Leadership Forum. Prior to becoming involved in leadership development, he developed programs for broader citizen engagement in community decision-making at The Orton Family Foundation and with his own company, Tipping Point Productions.

While at The Orton Family Foundation, where he was hired in October of 1998 to open the western office in Steamboat Springs, Mr. Anderson began his exploration into the relationships among leadership development, civic infrastructure, social capital, civic engagement and community building, and the role of information systems and policy support tools in facilitated, collaborative public processes and local decision-making. Underlying all else in communities that function at above average levels and embrace innovation and creativity from all sectors and perspectives, is the common element called leadership.

It is this humble concept that led to the formation of Tipping Point Productions in 2003, and it continues to drive Mr. Anderson’s work which now involves character- or heart & soul-based planning and using computer-assisted policy support tools to forecast probable consequences of local decisions.

At The Orton Family Foundation, “Towny” was responsible for initiating several programs, including the western initiatives for the Community Mapping Program and Community Video, the Citizens Resource Center and Community Information System which has become a successful web-based and citizen driven service, the Community Agricultural Alliance, and the development of the Beta and Limited Release programs for CommunityViz™, the Foundation’s planning and land use software. From 2001 – 2003, he was Director of Development for The Orton Family Foundation. In this position, Mr. Anderson built operating and funding partnerships with key organizations to help reach communities throughout the country.

Before joining the Foundation, Mr. Anderson served Governor Howard Dean’s Administration for three years as the first full-time appointed Vermont State Historic Preservation Officer. Mr. Anderson was one of the principal authors of Vermont’s Downtown Legislation, the first of its kind in the country, addressing economic and regulatory incentives for rehabilitation and redevelopment in Vermont’s small cities and towns. He initiated the heritage tourism program and implemented a ten-year development plan for the State-owned Historic Sites. During his tenure, Mr. Anderson successfully promoted full integration of Vermont’s historic resources into the business of community development, changing the culture (and perception) of the Division from regulatory to resource promotion.

Prior to his work with the Dean administration, Mr. Anderson redeveloped historic properties, owning restoration contracting, redevelopment and downtown revitalization consulting firms over a 20 year period. Two of his redevelopment projects won National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Awards. He has written and lectured on historic preservation and its role in community building.

Mr. Anderson served as a Director of the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and Chair of the Vermont Historic Preservation Advisory Council. He has also served on the National Board of the American Leadership Forum. He was an independent scholar, cum laude graduate of Middlebury College.

He is a graduate of both the Preservation Leadership program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Leadership Forum.

He lives in Steamboat Springs, CO with his wife, Jodee and their two children. Jodee owns The Fiber Exchange located in downtown Steamboat Springs. Towny was elected to the City Council in November, 2005, serves on the Board of Main Street Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Economic Development Council, and co-chairs the Vision 2030 Steering Committee which will attempt to capture the heart & soul elements that so strongly tie people to this place called the Yampa Valley.

Marc Hogan, Summit Combined Housing Authority board
Marc joined Baker + Hogan + Houx in 1979 and shortly thereafter became a Principal of the firm. Prior to joining the firm, Marc was a general contractor for large custom homes in Austin, Texas. His construction experience allows him to work closely with owners and contractors during the construction phases.

Mr. Hogan has been project planner and architect on many projects in the Rocky Mountain area including master planned land developments, large condominium hotels, custom homes, affordable housing, and various recreational facilities such as health clubs, ski area structures and golf course support facilities.

Marc serves on the Summit County Housing Authority as a citizen representative, the Summit County Board of Review as its chairman and the Silverthorne Economic Development Task force as a member. He is a former director of the Breckenridge Resort Chamber and member of the Summit County Housing Working Group.

Mr. Hogan is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree with high honors.


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                                                                                                Comments and questions can be directed to:

                                                                                                                         Howard Hallman, PO Box 209, Frisco, CO 80443

                                                                                                970-468-9134 or hhallman@ourfuturesummit.org






Comments and questions can be directed to:

 Howard Hallman, PO Box 209, Frisco, CO 80443

970-468-9134 or hhallman@ourfuturesummit.org