In Panorama City, a much different reaction to Walmart

A planned Walmart grocery store in Panorama City is getting a much different reception than the upcoming retail store in Burbank, where critics contend mom-and-pop shops will be zapped into oblivion by the company's relentless focus on lower-than-your-rivals pricing.

Residents of the northeast San Fernando Valley have watched as the recession turned once-thriving commercial hubs into vacant storefronts. The Vannord Center, a 90,000-square-foot-center at the corner of busy Van Nuys Boulevard and Nordhoff Street, has been hit particularly hard with more than half of its 30 tenants closing their doors, according to a recent L.A. Times report.

So any concerns that a Walmart store might push out mom-and-pop shops, or threaten union jobs, is being outweighed by the benefits that the national retailer will bring to the struggling center, manager Suzanne Ponder told The Times. Valley Food Warehouse, which anchored the mall, closed five years ago and the building has been vacant.

Proponents of the Walmart moving into Burbank have echoed similar sentiments about the giant retailer taking over the vacant Great Indoors building adjacent to the Empire Center.

For how another San Fernando Valley city is reacting to a new Walmart store, read The Times' story here.

-- Jason Wells, Times Community News

Twitter: @JasonBretWells

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