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Walmart Submits Plans; Approval Process Begins

Construction could feasibly begin in August. However, the project will force three businesses in the in shopping center to relocate.

The approval process for the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Main Street was set into motion this week when developers submitted their plans for the project to the village. If each domino falls as planned, construction could feasibly begin in August.

However, three Menomonee Falls businesses in the shopping center would become casualties of the wrecking ball if the project becomes a done deal. Minuteman Press and A Cut A Head, both 20-year-old tenants in the shopping center, along with Sounds Car Audio would need to find new homes.

Both Friends of Nature and Otto’s Beverage Center plan to stay put when Walmart moves in. According to the submitted plans, their storefronts will be renovated along with the new construction.

Gatlin Development Co. plans to build a 40,000-square-foot supermarket and pharmacy in the vacancy-laden Pilgrim Village shopping center at Main Street and Pilgrim Road. As part of the plan, the Piggly Wiggly, which has sat empty since 2007, and the adjacent mall would be demolished. Gatlin submitted their plans on Wednesday.

For years, this section along Main Street has ranked near the top of the village’s list of places to revamp. However, the original plan for improving the shopping center was unsuccessful, and the village was forced to change course recently after several years. Planning Technician Matthre Dorner said Gatlin’s proposal would likely bring needed traffic to the area, and have a catalytic effect on future development along the Main Street corridor.

“It’s in the best interests of the village to fill those vacancies in that shopping center,” Dorner said.

For every action, an opposite or equal reaction

For some, the Walmart Neighborhood Market represents a new beginning and new life for Main Street. But for those business owners being pushed out, the development signals the end of the line. 

It was hard for the owners of A Cut A Head and Minuteman Press to put into words their anger, sadness, and confusion regarding the fate of their businesses. They feel there’s been no support from the village or developers to keep their established businesses in Menomonee Falls. Rather, they feel like they’re simply getting the boot and being ignored.

“Out of all the things that I thought could happen to our business in 20 years, I never imagined that we would be forgotten and just thrown to a wrecking ball,” said Judy Haasch, a stylist with A Cut Ahead.

A Cut A Head includes a group of 13 stylists who essentially run their own hair styling and massage businesses under one roof. Haasch said they are searching for a new site in the village, but without success. Gatlin has offered the salon owners a 2,000-square-foot space in the renovated facility, but Haasch said the price offered by Gatlin is far too high.

“I’m too old to do this again and start over,” said Haasch, who’s been a stylist for 47 years. “We’re trying to fight for all of us, because we’re all a family here. Big business will not bully us apart. I’m just so angry, tired and defeated.”

Around the corner at Minuteman Press, the tenor from management is much the same. Owner Barry Landowski said it would cost him between $30,000 and $50,000 to move all the equipment with his business, not accounting for closure time and lost customers. He’s working with a commercial real estate agent to find a prospective new site.

He said he’d like to stay in Menomonee Falls, but he’s considering Germantown and Milwaukee as possible locations. Landowski said the hardest thing for him is that the fate of his business in the shopping center is uncertain; yet he has not heard details from developers, the village or his landlord as to what he should prepare for.

“I’ve been here 20 years and no one has contacted me from the village or the developer. We haven’t heard from anybody yet, and we’re relying on rumors,” Landowski said.

Office Manager Brian Landowski, Barry’s son, said he’s been a part of his father’s business for his entire life. He said it’s discouraging that the village hasn’t stepped up to help an established business like theirs.

“Does anybody want to help the little guy anymore?” Brain Landowski said. “Or is it all about corporate America today?”

The realities of real estate

Pilgrim Village Shopping Center owner Richard P. Conley said the Walmart development has placed him in an awkward position as a landlord. Although his tenants want answers about their future, he’s hesitant to say anything until the project is a done deal.

“It’s challenging as a landlord because the tenants are calling me and I don’t what to tell them,” Conley said. “If I could give them something definitive I would. All I can tell them is that they are going through an approval process.”

Conley said his years of experience in the real estate business have taught him that nothing is certain until the deal is closed. Therefore, he said he will not tell his tenants they can stay or go until the project is a sure thing.

Conley said he understands his tenants’ frustration with their current situation, but added that their worries are a byproduct of renting a storefront on a month-to-month basis.

“From a tenant’s perspective, if they wanted to secure their future they had the opportunity to do so when a long-term lease was offered to them. If you are on a month-to-month deal you are vulnerable,” Conley said. ““If they wanted protection they could have made a long-term lease.”

Conley said if a buyer, such as Gatlin, purchases the center they must honor any lease of a tenant. As a result, they are either included in the new construction or their lease is bought out.

Both Otto’s and Friends of Nature have in long-term lease agreements and will likely stay where they are. Lynn Wilde, owner of Friends of Nature, said she anticipates rents will rise, but she doesn’t know how much at this point.

“We’ve been here 20 years and we don’t plan on moving,” Wilde said.

Although the fate of some businesses in the center isn’t the brightest, Conley said there are plenty of other places within Menomonee Falls to locate. He said in a tough recessionary period, a project like Walmart’s is a welcome improvement for the corner.

“That corner is going to look much different it’s going to increase values and bring more tax revenue to the village. It’s a nice looking project,” Conley said. “I think it’s a good project for Menomonee Falls, and there is a very high probability that it will go through. But it’s not over until the fat lady sings.”

Pam May 29, 2011 at 03:20 PM
Joe and Michael...you hit it 100% correct. We can WISH to attract higher end grocery stores but it will NEVER happen. Do you honestly think they would want to be located there? Let's all take an honest look and realize as Michael said we are not River Hills. Trader Joes & Whole Foods have a different clientele than that area would attact. Reality is we have a very mixed group of people living here. Financially there is a large range of incomes. Why do you think no one has jumped at going into that location? It amazes me people want higher end stores but continue to support Pick N Save more than Sentry. With 35 yrs. in the industry under my belt I will tell you people say they want all this till they secretly shop at what they perceive as a lower priced store. Sentry does it right and always has. We all are trying to live within our budgets. People that bash Walmart shop there. That's a fact. With all my knowledge I have attained in the grocery business I back Walmart foods coming in 100%. It will not affect Sentry to much but it will awaken Pick N Save and give it further competition. Why do you think they are no longer the LOW price leaders as they used to call themselves? They have slowly raised their prices right under your nose. We need the jobs, the empty busildings filled and the competition.
lu May 29, 2011 at 04:28 PM
Woodman, Walmart or Pick N Save all the same. Prices are the same as anywhere. Shopped at each place once and didn't show much of anything. I'll stick with having to drive to Trader Joe in WFB and Sendik's in Germantown. Prices no different. You have a Walmart already. What Village has two Walmart's and that close to each other. The empty buildings along 74 exit and the new Radisson needs a new image to this poor managed Village.
Pam May 29, 2011 at 05:38 PM
Lu...your comment about the pricing was at least good for a laugh. You shopped each once? Ok well I have you by 35 years and NO they are not even remotely priced the same. I do agree with you about driving if you want a high end store. You apparently have the income to pay more for your food and spend the extra on gas. Many folks in the Falls do not. We have 2 Pick N Saves....you didn't mention that I see. There is enough business to support both just like there will be for Walmart Foods. I also feel the Village is managed poor but we are also dealing with reality here. The location we are all talking about is not the greatest. The whole area needs to be revamped unfortunately no one...unless you have some ties..wants to go in the area. The new Radisson is wonderful. Curious how many times you have been to RBG (Red Bar & Grill) since you want to support such a place. I frequent it regularly because I feel it's important to do so. I have the feeling your answer might be never.
Nate May 29, 2011 at 07:26 PM
The prices are far from the same . I too have shopped all three and my findings are I get at least 30% more for my money at Woodmans and Walmart over PicknSave. By the way, an irrelevant note - PicknSave ripped off Woodman's floor arrangement. I've been to Oak Creek before the Falls location was built and then when the new PicknSave opened I thought I walked in a Woodmans. I'd like to try RBG; always looking for new restaurants as is everyone else. Surprises me that none others want to come to Main Street but that industry is traditionally volatile.
No Name May 29, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Rich Connely is a complete liar. Those tenants tried to get long term leases after their original leases ( and renewals) ran out. Rich Connelly would not allow them to sign another lease thus creating it easier for him to find someone else to buy the Center. It is a lot easier to find a buyer if half of your tenants are on month-to-month leases and the new owner does not have to honor lower paying rents of former landlords. Just thought the public should know the truth!!!!!!!!
Nancy H May 29, 2011 at 07:38 PM
I shop Sentry weekly and go to Aldi's (Germantown) for the best produce prices. Also Sendik's( Germantown or Brookfield) at least once a month for those items I need and can not find elsewhere. Wal-mart will not be getting my business. I have had the experience of visiting Wal-Mart grocery stores both in Tampa, FL and Germantown, WI, sorry their prices are high and they stock the shelves with "their own"brands. If they weren't hurting for business they would not be allowing you to bring in other store ads with lower prices on name brands for comparable pricing. Yes, we will see what happens,in the long run! Good luck all.
Nate May 29, 2011 at 08:34 PM
@No Name, Not only interesting, but makes sense.
Pam May 30, 2011 at 12:59 AM
"According to Fortune magazine Walmart sold $421,849,000,000 worth of stuff last year. The largest purchase most of us will ever make is our house. If all Walmart sold was new homes, which averaged $298,600 in April, that would be almost 1.59 million homes" .......No Walmart isn't even remotely hurting for business.
Pam May 30, 2011 at 01:02 AM
"According to Fortune magazine Walmart sold $421,849,000,000 worth of stuff last year. The largest purchase most of us will ever make is our house. If all Walmart sold was new homes, which averaged $298,600 in April, that would be almost 1.59 million homes" . No Walmart isn't even remotely hurting for business.
kyle May 31, 2011 at 04:03 AM
Bottom line is, we really don't need another grocery store in the area. If I wanted to shop for groceries at Wal-mart I can step over the stupidly drawn Menomonee Falls / Germantown boundary line and buy them without having sell my soul for gas. Sure you can argue that the area needs jobs. But this will also affect hours, sales and that means JOBS of several other companies in the area INCLUDING the Wal-mart... But did you think about that? Probably not. The only good thing that I can think of to support these plans is that their is a police station close by. What I would like to see myself is more variety and diversity of businesses. Hell, even a real mall would work. A real one? It could even have a grocery store within it. Thats a lot of jobs, a lot of businesses and a lot of variety. The roads and intersections near this area also are highly unattractive and I avoid driving that way because of it.
Cx2plusE@aol.com May 31, 2011 at 10:23 AM
Pewaukee is building a cosco. Is anybody going to drive out there and shop?
Nate May 31, 2011 at 10:38 AM
Good point on the roads. Please don't tar and feather them like the neighborhoods. The loose gravel ruins paint jobs.
Nate May 31, 2011 at 10:39 AM
Doesn't Sussex have one as well? Grafton does I know.
Tara Nooyen May 31, 2011 at 02:21 PM
I don't understand why another Walmart is under consideration. We already have one within a reasonable distance to the village. Why not consider an Outpost Foods, Trader Joe's, or another grocery store? Why a grocery store for that matter? I think there is more to this story than being told.
Daisy May 31, 2011 at 02:22 PM
We don't want Wal-Mart - Bring Sendiks or Trader Joe's.
Daisy May 31, 2011 at 02:23 PM
And get rid of those NASTY apartments next to the new Radission...what a view those people will get when looking out of their windows...
walk the talk May 31, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Rich Conley is only looking out for himself. In retaliation to his lying remark about having month to month leases he wouldn't give them a long term leasse when they repeatedly asked for one. His comment was "Don't worry, I am taking care of it You don't have to worry" If he had any real interest in improving the Falls he would have taken care of his shopping center and his tenants so as to insure them a secure future instead of throwing them to the wolves. These tenants have been here longer than he has owned the shopping center and he just threw them under the bus. These same tenants kept him afloat for all these years that he neglicted not only the outside of the shopping center but did a half ass job on the necessary repairs need in the rental spaces. Roof leaks and heating failures were just some of the problems. The tenants also used their own money to repair his signs that were falling down and dangerous and fixed the brick posts that his snow plow guys hit and just left. Both of these businesses have a very substancial investment in their places so relocating is not only costly but very time consuming. Both have a lucritive business and it's a crime to see the community not rally together in their support and just stand idily by while big business swallows up the little gut without so much as a blink of an eye.
Nate May 31, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Sounds like the village feels helpless and will take anything that comes along. This is like a business expecting sales without advertising. What incentives or attractions can they offer to get more opportunities? I can't believe businesses are just passing over this area as if it's condemned.
Pam May 31, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Nate ...Great points! You hit it right on the head that most of these comments just aren't getting. What incentives are we giving any of these businesses that everyone would like to have Trader Joes etc. to come to any idea such as this? It's run down. People avoid going into the area. This isn't just about one business, it's about the general area. The real kicker is while we are all talking about how we want better companies here we are letting Kohl's get away. The community isn't even rallying around keeping this huge company. Other communities are just shaking their heads at us and laughing. Can you honestly blame them?
Pam May 31, 2011 at 03:44 PM
What do you suggest we do to "bring" them here? No one is bringing anything to the table to do just that.
Daisy May 31, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Well Green Briar Village across from Rotary is starting to look like West Lawn so what do you expect...
Pam May 31, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Daisy....then why did you think we could honestly attract the Trader Joes or Sendix like YOU suggested? What did you expect?
Nate May 31, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Fill us in
Nate May 31, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Is that a reference to the housing project on Silver Spring in Milwaukee?
Nate May 31, 2011 at 09:18 PM
I love how Muskego is going to steal Kohls away.
Kelly June 04, 2011 at 02:04 AM
Pewaukee is building one NEXT DOOR to their Walmart. Rediculous. And right down the roadie Sussex is a Shopko, Kohls, and Pick N Save.
Unions_NO June 04, 2011 at 10:29 PM
I am ALL in favor of Wal Mart...but isnt' there already one less than 2-3 miles away in Germantown. STUPID>>>STUPID>>>STUPID. Residents in Meno Falls have been asking for UNIQUE business/restaurants on that stretch of Main Street for nearly 10 years. Now that they have finally got off their hands, we get a copy-cat of another store right up the road? Am I soon to expect another Fleet Farm or a Steins? PS "Nate" - Muskego is not "stealing" Kohls: In case you are not aware, there is already a store on Appleton Ave (retail) and their corporate offices are on the south end of the village off Silver Spring. With all the posts you have time to reply to...you look like someone with a LOT of time on his hands.
Pam June 04, 2011 at 10:48 PM
People keep commenting about there being 2 Walmarts close together...Hmmm...no one commented when they were going to have 2 Pick N Saves that close together. It's been more like residents in Meno Falls have been WISHING for unique business/restaurants. I am not sure who they "have been asking". Nothing is done to entice them here. If you have some miracle plan I am sure we would all love to hear it. This is a public forum. Nate is a concerned citizen who is just sharing his viewpoint just like the rest of us. There is no need for nasty comments when we are hopefully trying to discuss this intelligently. He got his comment about Muskego stealing Kohls from an article here on the Patch. Maybe you should take the time to read it.
Nate June 04, 2011 at 11:39 PM
Hey Unions_NO, I'm sure you know what you get when you assume. In case you don't, an ASS out of U and ME, therefor, ASS, let me clarify a few things. Muskego is trying to lure the corporate headquarters away as Pam put forth above this comment. Both the Falls and Muskego have retail locations, so what. As far as Walmart, it's going to be a grocery-only store, which is pointless with all the other variables relative to that issue which I actually have no time to go through with you. Out of curiosity, what's with your name? Are you against Unions? If so, I fear we're on the same side, thus I don't know what your beef is with me. But now, I'm going to assume and say you're not.
Nate June 05, 2011 at 05:49 PM
http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/06/03/walton-family-faces-a-tough-decision-about-walmarts-ceo/?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl2|sec1_lnk3|68334

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