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tamias6

The Big Box Store pyramid

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To the Soccer Mom driving a minivan and teeny boppers with cell phones glued to ears, they are retail heaven, the pinnacle of capitalism, the cathedrals of consumerism. To the typical environmentalist, and any one who has rejected consumerism for a simpler life style, they are the embodiment of mankind's follies. Non the less, planeteers, Big Box stores are the center of controversy and much debate. Love them or hate them, I submit for your review a size comparison of an assortment of big box stores.

Beginning from the top is an average three bedroom house, measuring 1800 sq. ft. in size while at the bottom is the largest big box store I could find on Google Earth, a gargantuan 225,000 sq. ft. Meijer store located in a suburb 15 miles north of Indianapolis. The speck at the bottom of the picture is a properly scaled stock person from Sketchup's people library.

bigboxstorepyramidbv4.jpg

After placing that poor little stock person into this sketchup file, I could not help but face the following questions that came to mind.

Do we really need stores as big as multiple football fields? Is the convenience of one stop shopping and everyday low prices worth losing an entire farm stead to a development of big boxes?

I'm not looking for "Boo! Big Boxes Suck! I Hate them" answers. Also this is not a Wal-Mart Bashing thread ether as there are places a plenty on UP for Wally World ranting.. We all can agree that like them or not Big Boxes are here to stay. What I am looking for is what can be done to ether make the best of Big Box stores or ways of replacing them outright by a better way of shopping?

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very interesting comparison. Thanks for illustrating that.

Do we really need stores as big as multiple football fields?

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^ I think your suggestions are very valid. The part about Big Boxes being unable to sustain themselves is just starting to creep into the picture. Its nothing now. But recently there have been cases of Wal-Mart replacing there super centers with smaller versions. An example happened last year in North Carolina when Wal-Mart closed a 275,000 sq. foot behemoth and replaced it with one weighing in at only 195,000 sq. ft. That's a substantial drop in square footage. Officials sighted that the cost of operations was too high to maintain the old building. Also look at Meijer's new Rockwell designed stores. At 207,000 sq. ft, they are smaller than places like the 225,000 sq. ft. Knapp Corner store. This is due to smaller and more efficiently operated back rooms. But one of Meijer's intents with their latest store format is to trim fat to lower the operating cost of the store.

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Interesting how store sizes for those same companies has changed over the past 30 years. My old D&W, now Family Fare, I believe is only around 32,000 square feet. Half that of what is on your diagram (probably one of the newer or remodeled stores).

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If they'd just build them all stacked up like that maybe they'd be OK. Maybe with the Calder in front in the parking lot.

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The first steps would to at least start building them on multiple levels.

Here is a thread about the new(ish) 2 story Home Depot in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

I think this would be a beginning. it certainly makes sense in a dense urban context, but would also make sense in greenfield location.

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The D&W shown in my sketchup file is the River town Crossings store located on 44th st. and Wilson Ave. It's by far the largest grocery store I've ever been to.

Interesting how store sizes for those same companies has changed over the past 30 years. My old D&W, now Family Fare, I believe is only around 32,000 square feet. Half that of what is on your diagram (probably one of the newer or remodeled stores).

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Where would the rumored Cabela's fit on this? I tried finding the sq footage online but didn't have any luck.

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The D&W shown in my sketchup file is the River town Crossings store located on 44th st. and Wilson Ave. It's by far the largest grocery store I've ever been to.

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Where would the rumored Cabela's fit on this? I tried finding the sq footage online but didn't have any luck.

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Normally, a Cabella's is roughly 200,000 sq, ft. in size.

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That's what I was finding online but it seemed wrong. All this fuss about a building that's that small (relatively speaking)? Thanks for the info.

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Look at the parking in Dundee, though. (I left the scale of feet on that aerial.)

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At 207,000 sq. ft., Meijer's latest generation of stores, are about the same size as a Cabala's. But judging by that aerial, I'd say the amount of space devoted to parking needs looks to be nearly doubled that of a Meijer store's parking needs. It even looks like the vast parking lot found at a Wal-Mart super center can't touch Cabala's vast asphalt sea. Granted, a Cabala's sees allot more traffic that any super center. But still Calaba's parking lot is a bit overwhelming to stomach. I know there are countless US towns and cities that require a minimum number of parking slot for a building of a given size. But are there any cities that limit the amount of parking a building can have? Also to address many a city ordnances requiring a minimum amount of parking, are there any cities that have placed a cap on the size of big boxes?

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Zoom in on Dundee. Those white boxes clustered in the one lot are motor homes. Not too many drive theirs to Fred unless it's a vacation stocking trip.

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Despite my own dislikes of Wal-Mart, I intentionally excluded its super center from my sketchup file fearing that including it would turn this thread into yet another "Boo! Wal-Mart Sucks!" rant feast. The goal here is to discuss ways to improve Big Boxes to make them a better fit into the urban fabric or to replace them with better means of shopping.

Did I miss something? Where's Wal-Mart?

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What's the average square footage? I don't know, I think leaving it out just because is controversial doesn't do the topic justice. I'm really interested to see how it stacks up.

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Please don't tell me that said motor homes belong to folks staying multiple days at this Cabella's. If that's so expect me to collapse onto the floor in laughter :rofl: as I can't believe that a retailer could be that much of a destination to warrant such action.

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Lmichigan, your curiosity shall be satisfied.

Wally Worlds are basically all over the charts when it comes to size. Their discount retail stores (no groceries) can range from anywhere from 60,000 sq. ft. to about 100,000 sq. ft. Where as their super centers will raise the level to any where from 150,000 sq. ft. all the way up to an extreme of 300,000 sq. ft. However Wall-Mart is starting to find the larger end of the super center spectrum a bit too much to sustain so newer super centers are hovering from 195,000 sq. ft. to 210,000 sq. ft.

One bit of info I learned about a year ago is that Wal-Mart is (or was) experimenting on a more compact variation on their super center format designed to be built into denser parts of a metro area. Known simply by its prototype code, "Sub-99" I believe its called, it pares down the product offerings of a full sized super center to the bare essentials bringing the size of the store down to a more manageable 99,000 sq. ft.

Also a few years ago Wal-Mart created a small but growing line of supermarkets weighing in at around 45,000- 50,000 sq. ft.

Hear is a revised version of my Big Box Store Pyramid which includes a 225,000 sq. ft. Wal-Mart super center, located at the south side of Muskegon on Henry St. and W Norton Ave., just off of US-31. Ironically, a Meijer is located directly across the street. With extensions and appendages bristling from the building, this Wal-Mart beats out the Rockwell format Meijer store by nearly 20,000 sq. ft. But the main body of the store, containing the sale-floor, is about the same size as the Rockwell format Meijer. But the Pre-Rockwell format Meijer, at the bottom of the Pyramid, edges out the Wal-Mart by 3,000 sq ft.

bigboxstorepyramidwithwoe6.jpg

What's the average square footage? I don't know, I think leaving it out just because is controversial doesn't do the topic justice. I'm really interested to see how it stacks up.

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Thank you! My only point was that leaving out Wal-Mart when discussing Big Boxes would be like leaving out Jupiter when talking about the solar system, regardless of any controversy. Thanks, again.

BTW, do you have any average stats on the now almost gone K-Mart?

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Thank you! My only point was that leaving out Wal-Mart when discussing Big Boxes would be like leaving out Jupiter when talking about the solar system, regardless of any controversy. Thanks, again.

BTW, do you have any average stats on the now almost gone K-Mart?

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Recently K-mart Holdings purchased and merged with Sears to create company known as Sears Holdings which currently operate all Sears stores and all K-Mart stores. Though the focus of this new company seems unclear. Their intentions are to de-mall the Sears Brand by creating a stand-alone versions of the Sears store. One attempt was creating a massive super center format known as "Sears Grand" which featured all the product offerings fond at a normal Sears store with Groceries housed in a single level Big Box. A 200,000+ sq. ft. example of this concept can be found in Las Vegas. However it was found out that the concept was too big to handle and would also place Sears Holdings directly in the line of fire of Wal-Mart's heavy guns. So, the concept was pared down a bit and refined shrinking the required space needed to house the store. Since then, Sears Holdings is leaning towards the idea of converting existing K-Mart stores into this smaller but refined iteration of Sears Grand. If or when executed, this plan would spell the end of the K-Mart moniker forever. Size wise, since it would be existing K-Mart stores would be converted, expect a big box ranging from 90,000 sq. ft. to around 150,000 sq. ft. Though large like any other big box, Sears Grand stores are very well designed and are among the finer looking of all the big boxes. However the interior design is very well done.

Hears a couple of image shots of Various Sears Grand stores I rummaged from the 'net.

SearsGrand_exterior_lo.jpg

clip_image002_019.jpg

Shot of the "Convenience Food section"

022306_SearsGrande.jpg

Link to Chicago Business article showing an interior rendering

Link

Link to Chicago Tribune Slide show featuring photos of a Sears Grand store's interior.

Link

Thank you! My only point was that leaving out Wal-Mart when discussing Big Boxes would be like leaving out Jupiter when talking about the solar system, regardless of any controversy. Thanks, again.

BTW, do you have any average stats on the now almost gone K-Mart?

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