As a new Atwater Village resident, I notice some people here don't like Home Depot. I get emails. I've seen petitions. There are meetings. And a web site.
East LA groups have banded together to oppose a new Home Depot store near San Fernando and Fletcher. (They call it Glassell Park, just across the tracks from Atwater Village.)
They oppose the store for the usual neighborhood development problems - parking, traffic, crime. But the major rallying cry seems to be: "Four Home Depots within eight miles are too many!"
Huh? How can any group, no matter what they know about the art & science of retailing, decide what density of locations is best for a chain store?
Have they checked satellite maps of Starbucks lately? Is distance between stores the only consideration for their coffee shops? Or could there be more to it. Could there be more than meets the odometer.
I've been to the existing Home Depot in Glendale. It's a pit. The employees are heinous.
I've been to the existing Home Depot in Cypress Park. It's nicer. The employees are better. But it's practically under a freeway interchange. And it's not exactly close to home.
I've driven past the intersection of San Fernando & Fletcher. It's much closer to Atwater Village. It's haphazardly developed. It could use something, if not a Home Depot.
This ruckus reminds me a lot of my old hometown's anti-Walmart and anti-McDonald's activists.
Maybe they're all just old-fashioned NIMBYs or BANANAs. But I always felt there was something else lurking behind. In the anti-McDonald's protests I'd see well-to-do white faces marching around a food joint that served and employed mostly brown faces.
Might there be a similar tint to LA's anti-Home Depot sentiment? Do they oppose this particular retailer because they don't frequent it? (Even though the guys fixing their bathrooms and decks do.)
I have a hunch these same groups might not come out as strongly against another retailer, say Costco, at San Fernando & Fletcher. They probably actually have been into Costco. Then again, they might be readying an 11-page missive headlined, "Two Costcos within two miles are too many!"