Rumors that Wal-Mart might build in Moab intensified recently after an ad in the classified section of a local paper suggested the development was being blocked.
But company officials said Wal-Mart has looked at Moab and decided not to open a store there at this time.The ad, placed by an unidentified person April 24 in the regular classified section of The Ad-Vertiser, said: "Help get Wal-Mart store. They are running into opposition."
Included was the address to reach company president David D. Glass, at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. The ad was the latest in a series of hints - and hoaxes - suggesting that the nation's largest retailer would be following on the heels of McDonald's, which erected "Moab's other arches" last December at a new restaurant site on South Main Street.
The hamburger chain followed a Subway sandwich franchise, which opened downtown last year. Yet another franchise operation, a Pennzoil 10-Minute Oil Change station, is under construction across from McDonald's.
Rumors of a Wal-Mart preceded any of that construction. But with publication of the ad this week, the rumors, hints and hoaxes may come to an end.
Wal-Mart spokesmen said the company received several phone calls about the ad this week, along with several "positive" letters. However, the ad had no basis and was not authorized by the company.
Jane Arend, in corporate public relations, said Friday that a Wal-Mart representative checked into the situation and found out that a woman in Moab, "an individual who wanted a Wal-Mart," had placed the ad.
"At this time, Wal-Mart is not looking for a store site in Moab," Arend stated.
Moab Chamber of Commerce president Robbie Swasey said she called the company and was also assured by John Grimes, Wal-Mart real estate manager for the Utah region, that the ad was not the company's.
"He said they had looked at Moab and had decided not to do anything in the Moab area," she said, adding that was not to say the chain may not reconsider in a year or two.
The chamber president said she suspects whoever placed the ad hoped to inundate Wal-Mart with letters "to get them here."