Walmart set to take second shot at Zionsville store


After years of fighting, a central Indiana town may soon be welcoming Walmart.

For the second time in a decade, Walmart is proposing a Zionsville location, built just north of 106th Street at Michigan Road, at the Hamilton-Boone County line. Residents and business owners have fought off a new Walmart in the store in the past, but this time, the argument may be changing some people's minds.

"At the end of the day, it's still a Walmart," said Brian McCall.

McCall calls Walmart a "small town killer." He says he and other Main Street business owners are ready to fight a second attempt to open a Walmart in Zionsville.

"When you've got something that is drawing people west instead of east, they're going to find a reason to shop out there, they're going to have less reason to come to Old Town Zionsville to do their shopping," McCall said.

Even though Walmart wouldn't compete directly with many of Old Town's speciality shops, its discount pricing could hurt shops like Akard's, the family-run hardware store.

"Sure, you know, we sell the same things they sell. A lot of times when they're buying, they're buying for the entire nation and, sometimes, their pricing is a little different than ours," said LeighAnn Akard.

Still, she says, Akard's still has the edge when it comes to things like high-end equipment, rentals, special orders and servicing what they sell. This time around, though, Walmart's opposition may not be such a united front. Artist Rae Marie Crisel is among those that have had a change of heart.

"I feel like the tax revenue coming in would be very helpful. Most of what we have are apartments in the area and that puts a burden on our school system, but probably not enough tax revenue to support it," she said.

The tax argument may stick with a lot of people. Zionsville already faces plenty of "big box" competition, including four Walmarts within 10 miles. Factor in Target, Meijer and Kmart, and there are 10 big box stores in that range.

Rosie Handley, for one, would love to see a Walmart in Zionsville.

"It's a one-stop place. You go in, you get what you need, and out you go," she said.

The proposal, which includes a different store design from the previous attempt by Walmart, will be considered at a meeting on October 15.