Say No to Walmart


"No Walmart, No More Big Boxes" Lawn Signs Now Available

We've printed up some "No Walmart, No More Big Boxes" lawn signs.   We will be using these same signs (without their metal legs) during our Election Day standouts.   Signs can be picked up, or we'll deliver them right to your door (or lawn).

If you need a sign, please contact with your name and address to make arrangements.

A Letter from Local Business Owner, Barry Steinberg

I own Direct Tire and Auto Service and have been a Watertown business since 1974. I am involved with the folks at Sustainable Watertown and I am very concerned with the potential of a Walmart coming to Watertown on Arsenal Street. I have a number of issues.

The traffic issue in Watertown, both at the Square and the roads leading to the Square, is already close to an unbearable situation. Over the years I have had countless clients mention the traffic as a deterrent to coming back to my store. Many of them have chosen either to go to one of my other locations or not come back at all.

I look at a Walmart like a casino. They attract many people who go there, do no other business in that town, disrupt the traffic, put additional burdens on the police and fire departments and eventually cause many other businesses to go out of business.

They are a "Main Street killer" in many cities and towns across the country and they can do it to us.

Watertown is a great town to not only to do business in but the residents love this town. It's peaceful, clean and a great place to bring up a family.

Let's not change that please.

Barry Steinberg
Owner, Direct Tire and Auto Service, 126 Galen Street

Oct 24th Meeting on Walmart

Save the Date!  Monday, October 24th at 7 p.m.
Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main Street

Sustainable Watertown will be holding a forum to discuss the community response to a proposed Walmart store near the intersection of Arsenal and Irving Streets. The Forum will be held on Monday, October 24, at 7PM, at the Watertown Free Public Library. Join labor activists, town councilors and fellow Watertown residents as we discuss the potential impact of a new superstore on our community.

WALMART wants to open in Watertown.

What kind of a neighbor is WALMART?

  • Walmart’s low wages and prices undercut local businesses and put people out of work. Walmart is not a very FRIENDLY neighbor.
  • Walmart lowers wages for all retail jobs and shifts the costs of providing worker benefits onto local taxpayers. Walmart is not a very CARING neighbor.
  • Walmart has faced millions of dollars in law suits for poor labor practices. Walmart is not a very FAIR neighbor.
  • Walmart contributes to traffic problems and pollution. Walmart is not a very GREEN neighbor.

Do we really want WALMART in Watertown?


Watertown supports development that improves our quality of life.

Walmart is NOT right for Watertown.

Walmart’s low prices come at a high cost.


Go to this page for supporting facts about the October 24th meeting announcement and flyer.

Letter to Tab: Economic expansion has high costs

Members of Watertown Coalition for Sustainable Development were pleased to read the recent report commissioned by the Town Council, the Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development. Based on multiple public meetings and prodigious research, the report makes clear what Watertown residents want for their town: a thoughtful blending of building, preservation, and redevelopment that will enhance our tax revenues and our quality of life. We appreciate the foresight of the council in commissioning the report in the first place, so that future planning proceeds according to these guiding principles.  
At the most recent meeting of the Town Council, residents were nearly unanimous in their praise for the report as it is now written. We were disappointed, then, that at that meeting, the councilors, as elected representatives of the public, voted to send the report to a committee on which only three councilors sit.  Several councilors voiced their reservations over the report’s warning that, without a strategic approach to development, Watertown would become “vulnerable … to encroachment by new big box retail outlets” and that this would “tip the character” of our area towards a regional shopping destination. Though such expansion would clearly come with high costs for our town, Council Vice President Steve Corbett stated that “private development” itself should be allowed to determine the proper uses of town space. His comment went against the spirit of the Council’s commissioning of the report—and against the spirit of public/private partnerships that rely on the guiding hand of town government.
WCSD stands behind the research of scholars—economists, historians, sociologists, and city planners—who document the detrimental effect of big box stores like Walmart on the towns and cities where they are built. Walmart in particular has been mentioned as a possible retail developer on the Arsenal Street corridor. First, we note that in the past, when a Walmart has opened in a community, it has had a negative effect on the town’s quality of life:  violating environmental laws, contributing to crime, traffic, and air pollution. Walmart is also well known for its abuse of labor laws, and is facing law suits connected to its poor treatment of women and immigrant workers.
Second, Walmart will offer us a net loss in tax revenue after we consider 1) the cost of its downward pressure on local wages; 2)  the loss of revenue from local businesses, who will be undercut by Walmart’s prices; and 3) the shifting of the costs of workers’ benefits to local taxpayers.
Composed of residents from all Watertown neighborhoods who care deeply about our future, WCSD supports the findings and the recommendations of the current Strategic Economic Development Report.  We urge our Councilors to heed their constituents’ concerns and interests:  use the insights of this publicly supported, independent report to guide our town toward a sustainable, profitable future. 
Marjorie N. Feld
Frank Street
On behalf of Watertown Coalition for Sustainable Development
Read original letter at:

Views from a Watertown Resident and Business Owner:

The prospect of Walmart in Watertown is disturbing on many levels. I appreciate the need for low-priced goods, but the price tag for those exceeds the so-called savings the consumers might experience. Watertown is STILL a walkable community. My office used to be on Mt. Auburn Street and I was constantly amazed at the number of pedestrians on the street (and Mt. Auburn Street itself is not particularly pedestrian-friendly). The best elements of a walkable community can be found in Watertown's smaller commercial areas (Coolidge Square, Watertown Square to name a few) and its very local neighborhood centers.

The spectre of Walmart that offers virtually everything that each of these smaller retail establishments offer will do serious harm to their sustainability as businesses.
Further, Walmarts by their very nature are not pedestrian-friendly. Large parking lots, entrances located far from the street edge and public transportation, huge frontages without the rich mix of uses necessary for a good pedestrian environment.

Finally, the huge investment in infrastructure improvements necessary to get these behemoth establishments going are frightening. Proposed new access will do irreparable harm to residential neighborhoods and storm water runoff from the immense paving areas is a major issue in that low-lying part of town which already has issues with storms. (Just so you know, most big box establishments require an equal amount of land area for parking and for truck loading as they do for the store itself; a 80,000 sf store, for example, also needs about 80,000 sf for parking and and additional 80,000 sf for the truck loading area. That would be 240,000 sf of land, not counting access improvements, storm water detention basins, requisite buffer areas which are all similarly large).
In light of the present economy, the temptation to improve the Town's tax base is alluring, I know, but given the hidden costs to the Town, I urge you to fight this proposal.


Randall Imai, homeowner
17 Dartmouth Street
Watertown, MA
and Principal at
Imai Keller Moore Architects
70 Phillips Street
Watertown, MA


Resources and Links

Watertown Tab: 200 Watertown residents decry Walmart at meeting

Around 200 people attended our October 24th meeting about Walmart in Watertown. We'll have more about the meeting soon.  Until then, you can read the article in The Tab >>
There's also an article in the Watertown Patch >>

NYT: Wal-Mart Cuts Some Health Care Benefits

The New York Times reports that Walmart will eliminate health care coverage for those working less than 24 hours per week.  Those working less than 33 hours won't be able to cover their spouses.  Read the Article >>

Watertown Tab:Walmart could bring incentives along with outrage to Watertown

The Tab points out that Walmart offered concessions in Saugus on Route 1, where they paid for part of a new pumping station and a police cruiser.  Read the Article >>

Study Says Wal-Mart Often Fights Local Taxes

This article from the New York Times cites a study showing that Walmart challenged property taxes at 35 percent of locations opened since 2005, and saved an average of $40,000 a store where it filed such a challenge.  When towns resisted, lawers appeard.  Read the Article >>
Note: We're not yet sure if this applies to Watertown, since The Cresset Group is the actual owner of the property and is leasing it to Walmart.

Walmart's Own Watertown Page

See what Walmart has to say about their proposed Watertown location. Visit their site.


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