New Walmart To Be Built In The Coachella Valley?

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - Plans are in the works for a new Walmart here in the Coachella Valley. The big box retailer hopes to build a Walmart Superstore on 19 acres of property it owns in South Desert Hot Springs.

Patricia Lambert does a lot of shopping, but not at Walmart.

The closest Walmart is 9 miles away, so she sticks to Stater Brothers. It's her only option because she rides the bus.

"It's much closer, it's expensive, but if they were to put in a supercenter that would be great we could do our grocery shopping there also," said Lambert.

The closest Walmart to Desert Hot Springs is in Palm Springs, located at Gene Autry and Ramon Road.

It takes 20 minutes to drive to it from Desert Hot Springs. If you ride the bus, it'll take you an hour and a half each way.

"Time is money so if it saves time it saves money so I'm for that," said Marvin Welton.

That might all change. In the next year and a half Walmart wants to build a 120,000 square-foot Super Walmart north of Dillon and west of Palm Drive.

The big-box retailer would have all the bells and whistles. It would have groceries, general retail, a pharmacy drive-thru, photo center, a bank and the list goes on and on.

Not everyone is happy about the proposed plan.

"It's not going to affect a lot of my business because we specialize," said Abdul Hadi who's owned Carol's Hair & Beauty Supply in Desert Hot Springs for 8 years. He specializes in wigs, hair extensions and special hair care products. His store is just blocks north of the proposed site.

"They just come to small towns and take all of the small businesses out," said Hadi.

Desert Hot Springs officials estimate the city loses two-thirds of its sales taxes to other cities. K-Mart, Vons and Stater Brothers are the only big retailers that bring in money for the city. A new Walmart would employ about 150 people.

Pastor Raymond Smith says he would rather support the mom and pop shops.

"For the people that are trying to make it in Desert Hot Springs and serve DHS, I try to support them," said Smith

Walmart and Desert Hot Springs city leaders will present their plan to the community at the Henry Vellore Lozano Community Center 12-800 W. Arroyo Drive in Tedesco Park at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Both sides want feedback from the community on whether or not the city actually needs and wants a Walmart.

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