Thirteenth Street Walmart Moves Small Businesses Hope Big Chain Comes
GAINESVILLE - Walmart on Northwest 13th Street is shutting down its doors at the end of the month to move to a bigger location on 34th Street.
The businesses on the Northwest 13th Street corridor are empty.
"We've seen businesses come and go," BJ Gavin, Owner of Brasington's Adventure Outfitters said.
For Gavin, it hits close to home since his store is right next to where the Albertson's Grocery Store used to be.
"This corridor has changed while we've been here and more recently with Albertson's leaving," Gavin said.
Walmart is leaving on Thursday.
"We would rather have businesses around us than being the last man standing," Gavin said.
Experts say because Walmart has relocated to the 34th Street its not the end for small mom and pop shops on 13th Street. They say this is a new chance for other businesses to move in.
Steve Kirn the Executive Director of the David Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research at UF said it would also provide a chance for redevelopment.
"A lot of the facilities are pretty tired and they need some sprucing up," Kirn said.
"I'm hopeful that the owners of the Walmart Center will take advnatage of the this opportunity and bring their shopping center up to snuff," Betsy Whitaker, Manager of the Gainesville Mall said.
Whitaker said even though they are disappointed Walmart is gone, this could be time to rejuvenate the 13th Street corridor.
"We see there is an opporutnity for residents to come into the 13th street corridor," Whitaker said.
There are talks the discount store Big Lots could move in where Albertson's used to be.
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