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Sam's Club, the membership/warehouse operation of Wal-Mart, is closing its Vista store, the parent company announced on its website today (Jan. 11). Nine other Sam's Club locations will be shut down in the U.S., including La Quinta and Irvine and one store in the Sacramento market. The ten are "financially underperforming," says Sam's Club president Brian Cornell. The stores "continued to lose money." The decision is not expected to have a material impact on Wal-Mart's fourth quarter earnings.

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Comments

Visduh Jan. 11, 2010 @ 1:13 p.m.

This is VERY interesting. That warehouse did a fairly light business for the first five years or so, but recently seems to have been doing better. However, its volume has been small compared to the Vista Costco, which is always mobbed with people spending their money.

This Sam's is right next to a Walmart that is supposedly going to be upgraded to a Supercenter. There is already space for the Walmart to add more building. Right now that is on hold due to a lawsuit, but we're told that it will only cause some delay, not stop the expansion. Moreover, when Wally first came to Vista, a provision in the lease allowed them to expand the store and add food. The city OK'd that when the use permit was issued.

The bottom line appears to be that Vista will get a Walmart Supercenter store, and lose its Sam's Club. Does one right hand of the Walmart corporation know what the left hand is doing? One should wonder.

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SurfPuppy619 Jan. 11, 2010 @ 9:08 p.m.

I always liked Sams Club b/c they were less crowded, and many times that opened them next door to a Walmart. They have Sams and Walmart together in Yuma AZ.

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Don Bauder Jan. 11, 2010 @ 9:25 p.m.

Response to post #1: Do you suppose Wal-Mart will take the ground that Sam's is now on for its expansion, or for a parking lot? The parent seems to be going out of its way saying that the stores to close were losing money. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 11, 2010 @ 9:27 p.m.

Response to post #2: You might like the fact that they are less crowded, but I doubt Wal-Mart does. Best, Don bauder

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Visduh Jan. 11, 2010 @ 9:58 p.m.

I think this Sam's Club space will just be an addition to the vast stock of vacant retail space along the route 78 corridor. The area is far more than Walmart needs to expand the Walmart store into a Supercenter. There was more parking than both stores needed already. That Walmart store was, by the way, the second or third of those opened in SD county. From the day it opened it was busy, busy, busy. That good fortune just didn't rub off on its sister store, the Sam's Club. The clientele of the two outlets was markedly different. (Sam's Club customers were older, more affluent, and generally likely to be white than the cross section of the customers patronizing the Walmart next door.)

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 7:31 a.m.

Response to post #5: Looks like I was wrong thinking the parent would build the supercenter on land now occupied by Sam's.Thanks for enlightening me. Best, Don Bader

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paul Jan. 12, 2010 @ 9:48 a.m.

My recollection is that Walmart had no real interest in building a Sam's Club in Vista, but agreed to do so in exchange for allowing them to build/expand Walmart superstores. I recall they waited to build the Sam's Club until they were threatened by whichever government agency made the deal (I can't remember whether it was Vista or the County).

Maybe someone else has a better memory of how that went down.

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Visduh Jan. 12, 2010 @ 11:16 a.m.

Paul, you may very well be right about the (lack of) motivation on the part of Walmart to place the Sam's Club in that center. It came several years after they put in the Walmart store. The city was very involved in the development of that center. The first proposal for using that land to generate sales tax revenue was to put an auto mall on the property. Nearby residents didn't like that at all (do you blame them?) and the city and developer shifted gears and went for a big box center instead. The city of Vista was not getting much sales tax revenue in the 80's because its residents were finding a better selection of retail stores if they went east to San Marcos and Escondido, or west to Carlsbad and even Oceanside. The center in question was part of a plan to bring retail sales to Vista. The city also had the redevelopment area host some retail businesses and restaurants. North County Ford came to Vista with the help of city government. The city was heavily involved in bringing Costco to Vista, too.

This Sam's Club closure will mean there is even more vacant retail space on the Highway 78 corridor. Starting on the west end, you have the vacant Mervyn's store in Oceanside, the vacant Robinsons-May space in the mall in Carlsbad, the former Home Base which, while occupied, looks underutilized, Circuit City, Linens 'n Things in the Vista redevelopment area, Sam's Club, the former CompUSA off Nordahl Road, and in Escondido, another Mervyn's and another Circuit City. I'm sure I missed many. Add to that the huge amount of vacant space in some of the smaller strip centers, and the picture in grim. Will we ever need all that retail space again, in this era of internet ordering?

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 1:52 p.m.

Response to post #7: Taking a bath on a Sam's Club may be an expensive way to get permission to expand Walmarts. But it depends on how much the expansions helped the bottom line. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 1:56 p.m.

Response to post #8: You have put your finger on one major problem we have. There is no reason that retail establishments should be subsidized. They are private enterprises that should up their own funds. But cities use the excuse that they need the sales tax revenue. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Jan. 13, 2010 @ 9:08 a.m.

Just when you think that a situation is clear, it isn't. Don reported this warehouse closure less than 48 hours ago. Yesterday, for the first time in weeks, I heard a radio spot (on a local AM station) for Sam's Club. Then today, inserted in the U-T, was one of their ad circulars, the kind with the one-day pass. It has been many weeks/months since I'd seen one of those anywhere.

So, their promotional program here in San Diego County gets aggressive just when they decide to pull the plug on their only North County location. There is just one other Sam's Club in the county, one in the College Grove center. While those warehouses are pretty liberally scattered around Orange County, with a few in LA County and some in Riverside County, they didn't make much impression in San Diego.

Those one-day passes of theirs have been great. It has been years since I paid to shop Sam's Club. The one-day passes would come along just often enough to allow us to make the sort of bulk buys we needed. They were infrequent enough to prevent spending to excess there! To the best of my knowledge, Costco never gives out one-day passes. Who is the smarter operator?

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paul Jan. 13, 2010 @ 9:32 a.m.

Costco was established in San Diego very early on (through Price Club), and my understanding is that Walmart never wanted to compete with them in an already saturated San Diego market. What they wanted, was to use Sam's Club as a carrot to expand their lucrative Walmart Superstore business.

My father-in-law in Orange County loves Sam's Club and never goes to Costco. That is because he can go there almost every morning and get his free coffee and muffins with no crowds whatsoever. Costco is always so packed that he doesn't want to deal with it. It's great for him, but I don't understand how they stay in business.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10 a.m.

Response to post #11: Sounds like the decision to close it and the other nine stores was a hurried one. Why pay to distribute the insert if you are closing the place? If there is going to be a big closing sale, that would require a new insert hawking the new, low prices. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10:03 a.m.

Response to post #12: Price Club was founded in San Diego, where a network of stores was established. Price and Costco merged, and the headquarters moved to the Seattle area, mainly because the Costco management was superior. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10:06 a.m.

Paul, you're likely correct again. If Walmart had any real drive to put Sam's Club warehouses into SD County, they would have had more than two by now. Going to Costco is never a pleasant experience. Sam's is just always quieter, calmer, and far less hectic. Good for the customer, not good for the Walmart stockholder!

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10:13 a.m.

Response to post #15: I'm sure market share data among the warehouse clubs (Costco, Sam's, etc.) are available. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Jan. 13, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

The City of Vista will not be happy to learn of this closure. It has been on a long campaign to get more sales tax revenue, and it is unlikely that any other tenant of the soon-to-be-vacated Sam's Club space will generate even that much tax revenue. A couple years ago the city leadership managed to con the local residents into approving a half-cent sales tax override by providing some goody for each of several special-interest groups. The main thrust was to get more fire stations because they had poor response times, and to build a new and monumental city hall. All that is happening, with the recent completion of two new fire stations and the underway renovation of a third. The city hall is nearing completion. Why Vista needed more tax to pull that off is unclear--San Marcos and other neighboring cities did similar things without any additional tax.

But Vista is up to a scam. About five years ago Home Depot put a store into the Vista Industrial Park on Melrose Avenue that is just barely inside the city limits, with Carlsbad to the west and south. In the past few months Target opened a new location on Business Park Way just north of San Marcos and west of the Carlsbad city limits. Both those big box stores serve Carlsbad and San Marcos more than they serve Vista. (The Target is less than three miles south of the existing Vista Target on Highway 78.) But both those stores will collect the Vista override from all their patrons. Oh, never mind that the zoning for that industrial park was for commercial/industrial activities and not for retail stores.

Some of this was bound to happen when Carlsbad decided that big box retail is not welcome in its city limits. The only big box that I can think of in Carlsbad is the Costco at I-5 and Palomar Airport road, and ti goes back almost twenty years. If a resident of Carlsbad wants to go to Home Depot, those are in Oceanside or Vista, Walmart is in Oceanside, Target is in Oceanside or Vista, and so on. Not even Carlsbad Mayor-for-Life "Big Bad Bud" Lewis can convince the residents that big box stores should be welcomed, sales tax revenue or no.

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PistolPete Jan. 13, 2010 @ 1:12 p.m.

You guys also have to remember that Costco is almost exclusively West Coast. Yes, there are quite a few Costcos all over America but the bulk of Costco stores is West Coast and the bulk of Sam's Club is South/East Coast.

My parents, who live in Wisconsin(and Illinois), have been Sam's Club members for nearly 2 decades. Maybe longer. Everytime I used to go shopping with them, it was fairly busy. Granted, Wisconsin is nowhere close to having a populace the size of SD,Riverside and Orange counties but it's still pretty populated.

I've also noticed that Costco is advertised more out here than Sam's Club. That could be a corporate decision. Costco sucks because it's ALWAYS busy but I'd rather give my $$$ to them than a company that has sold it's soul to the devil himself and has the nerve to say, "We're doing it for you".

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Visduh Jan. 13, 2010 @ 4:02 p.m.

Pete, if you had ever been a supplier to Costco, you might not be so willing to spend your money there. They had a whole panoply of ways to abuse their vendors, especially the small ones that were afraid to stand up and refuse to accept it. The Costco management was delivering for the stockholders on the backs of small entrepreneurs who often lost money and failed while trying to satisfy Costco buyers. Not a pretty picture. But don't get this wrong--I'm no fan of the Walmart model either. Today if you want to consume, you have to deal with retailers that are often far less than paragons of virtue.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 4:48 p.m.

Response to post #17: You're really educating us on North County retailing. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 4:50 p.m.

Response to post #18: Costco is known for its top-flight management. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 4:53 p.m.

Response to post #19: Wal-Mart forces vendors -- including big ones like Procter & Gamble -- to have offices in Arkansas to deal with the retailers' buyers. Vendors for Wal-Mart get kicked in the shins, too. Best, Don Bauder

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PistolPete Jan. 13, 2010 @ 8:19 p.m.

Here's a complete list of Costco locations:

Alabama-3 Alaska-3 Arizona-17

California-116 Colorado-12 Connecticut-5

Delaware-1

Florida-21

Georgia-7

Hawai'i-7

Idaho-5 Illinois-13 Indiana-3 Iowa-1

Kansas-2 Kentucky-2

Maryland-8 Massachusetts-6 Michigan-11 Minnesota-5 Missouri-5 Montana-5

Nebraska-1 Nevada-7 New Hampshire-1 New Jersey-13 New Mexico-3 New York-14 North Carolina-7

Ohio-7 Oregon-12

Pennsylvania-7

South Carolina-4

Tennessee-4 Texas-17

Utah-9

Vermont-1 Virginia-15

Washington-28 Wisconsin-2

By my calculations, California,Washington and Oregon(West Coast) have a combined total of 156 stores. That's 3 states. The other 37 states have a combined total of 254 stores.

Like I said, the majority of stores are on the West Coast.

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PistolPete Jan. 13, 2010 @ 8:48 p.m.

Here's a complete list of Sam's Club locations:

Alaska-3 Alabama-14 Arkansas-8 Arizona-15

California-33 Colorado-15 Connecticut-3

Delaware-1

Florida-43

Georgia-22

Hawai'i-2

Iowa-8 Idaho-1 Illinois-30 Indiana-16

Kansas-8 Kentucky-8

Louisiana-12

Massachusetts-2 Maryland-12 Maine-3 Michigan-26 Minnesota-13 Missouri-16 Mississippi-7 Montana-2

North Carolina-22 North Dakota-3 Nebraska-3 New Hampshire-4 New Jersey-10 New Mexico-7 Nevada-7 New York-17

Ohio-29 Oklahoma-8

Pennsylvania-23 Puerto Rico-10

Rhode Island-1

South Carolina-9 South Dakota-2

Tennessee-16 Texas-72

Utah-8

Virginia-16

Washington-3 Wisconsin-12 West Virginia-5 Wyoming-2

By my calculations, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Ketucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida(East Coast/South) have a combined total of 226 stores. That's 21 states. The other 28 states plus Puerto Rico have a combined total of 378 stores.

Like I said, the majority of stores are on the East Coast and in the South.

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PistolPete Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10:02 p.m.

With all due respect, I didn't C&P those figures. It took me almost an hour to type those out. Look at the time stamp. ;-D

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10:58 p.m.

Response to post #23: It would be interesting to see how rapidly it expanded across the country. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10:59 p.m.

Response to post #24: Wal-Mart is China's U.S. outpost. It ruins small merchants wherever it goes. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 11:02 p.m.

Response to post #25: It seems to me that 14 stores in NY and 6 in Massachusetts compare unfavorably with 116 in California. Point well taken. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 11:05 p.m.

Response to post #26: Texas has more than twice as many as California. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 11:07 p.m.

Response to post #27: You said you were not going to get into a battle of semantics, but it appears we have just such a donnybrook -- geographical semantics, you might call it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 11:08 p.m.

Response to post #28: That's a valiant effort. Best, Don Bauder

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SDaniels Jan. 14, 2010 @ 4:03 p.m.

Good lord, Pete. Get a job already ;)

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PistolPete Jan. 14, 2010 @ 5:13 p.m.

LOL! I'm trying to. This economy is worse than I though. I'm also stuck like Chuck. The economy's so bad that I can't find work yet trying to get better so my stocks plummet thereby leaving me to rely on a fast dwindling savings account.

Trust me. I HATE not working. Toying with Wall Street is all fun and games until you feel the pinch in your wallet. I sometimes wonder why I even got involved. Finances aren't my strong suit.

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Don Bauder Jan. 14, 2010 @ 9:30 p.m.

Response to post #35: We value the contributions of Pistol Pete. He does his homework and comes up with good information. Best, Don Bauder

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PistolPete Jan. 14, 2010 @ 10:56 p.m.

Thanks Don. I try to contribute a little intel instead of just racist and snarky comments now and then. :-D

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SDaniels Jan. 15, 2010 @ 1:16 a.m.

re: #36: What happened to that thread where we came up with some job ideas? Can't remember which one... At any rate, it is terrible to contemplate job searching especially in San Diego right now. What jobs are left? I heard there were something like 200 or 300 applicants recently for one waitstaff position at a dinner house...

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Don Bauder Jan. 15, 2010 @ 7:24 a.m.

Response to post #38: I'm so old that I was initially thrown by the word "snarky." Back when I was in college in the 1950s, to "snark" was to be a peeping Tom -- to peek into the women's dorm next door for some titillating view. (Or the women would snark on the men's dorm). So the adjective "snarky" befuddled me until somebody explained it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 15, 2010 @ 7:26 a.m.

Response to post #39: The Reader publishes Job Giant twice a month. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 15, 2010 @ 7:27 a.m.

Response to post #40: No. Billy the Kid was a con man. Best, Don Bauder

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PistolPete Jan. 15, 2010 @ 9:51 a.m.

LOL! I've heard the word snark(y) in that context. If you feel old, I feel young. Thanks. :-D I've checked out Job Giant before. I'm not surprised the Reader publishes it. :-/ Billy was more of a petty, two-bit thief than a con man. I do idolize him for some reason. Than again, I idolize all the Old West gunslingers and Mafiosos. They were quite charming to say the least.

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Don Bauder Jan. 15, 2010 @ 12:45 p.m.

Response to post #44: One time I was doing homework on Billy the Kid for a column I was doing. I discovered that four or five different bounders of that era were called Billy the Kid. But I found a photo of one who was supposedly THE authentic Billy the Kid. Best, Don Bauder

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PistolPete Jan. 15, 2010 @ 1:35 p.m.

BTW, I meant to say that I've NEVER heard the word snark(y) in that context before. My mistake.

There's a legend that no photos of the actual Billy the Kid, AKA William H. Bonney AKA Henry Antrim AKA Henry McCarty have survived that era. I believe it to be false but in reality, we'll never know the truth.

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SDaniels Jan. 15, 2010 @ 5:33 p.m.

"should have been Billy the Kid..."

Alas, you must content yourself with "Billy the Copy and Paster."

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PistolPete Jan. 15, 2010 @ 6:09 p.m.

LOL! :-D I only C&P when I can. In the case of Costco, I had to click on each individual state and type in the state and number of stores. http://www.costco.com/Warehouse/WarehouseList.aspx

With Sam's Club, I had to click on Alaska and type it in. Then I had to count each store in each state and copy that down. http://www2.samsclub.com/clublocator/state_club_listing.aspx#AA

I need a raise as well. Maybe you can put in a good word to Mr.Fish for me...

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Don Bauder Jan. 15, 2010 @ 9:21 p.m.

Response to post #46: The Billy whose picture I saw may have been dead. I just don't remember. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 15, 2010 @ 9:24 p.m.

Response to post #47: There is a famous sign from the town that is now Las Vegas, New Mexico. It is a warning to a group of outlaws that have been fleecing residents in gambling games. It says there will be a "necktie party" if these rascals don't flee town. Billy the Kid is one who is named. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 15, 2010 @ 9:26 p.m.

Response to post #48: Anyone who applies himself that assiduously deserves to get a well-paying job and a raise. Best, Don Bauder

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SDaniels Jan. 15, 2010 @ 11:56 p.m.

re: #48: Mr. Fish payin' good of late--fool leaves the wallet on the nightstand--can you imagine! Get while the gettins good, Kid.

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Ponzi Jan. 16, 2010 @ 5:43 a.m.

My guess is those locations will become Walmart Superstores. Walmart will not give up the land.

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Don Bauder Jan. 16, 2010 @ 9:25 p.m.

Response to post #52: How much does Mr. Fish leave in his wallet? That's the key question. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 16, 2010 @ 9:28 p.m.

Response to post #53: Would the Vista Sam's become a Superstore? Generally, though, it would make sense for a retailer such as Wal-Mart to hold on to the land for the day commercial real estate comes back. That day could be three or four years down the road. Best, Don Bauder

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CuddleFish Jan. 17, 2010 @ 5:06 a.m.

Your daddy's rich, and your mama's so good looking,

hush little baby, don't you cry#

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Don Bauder Jan. 17, 2010 @ 7:32 a.m.

Response to post #56: Are you sure the word "so" is in those Gershwin lyrics? Best, Don Bauder

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SDaniels Jan. 17, 2010 @ 12:18 p.m.

re: 57: Don "Scat" Bauder is right about that one, CF.

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Don Bauder Jan. 29, 2010 @ 11:47 a.m.

Response to post #58: I'm not sure I approve of having the nickname "Scat," although some people believe that to understand my scribblings, one needs a background in scatology. Best, Don Bauder

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