How many times have you heard someone say "The East Side is getting a Walmart!" "Oh, that's where they're building the new Walmart." or something like "Is that where they're putting in the new Walmart?" I've lived here just shy of fifteen years, and I can't even begin to count how many times I've heard someone on the East Side say something about a new Walmart being constructed on that side of town.

Of course, it didn't help at all when Walmart announced they were building a third Walmart in Lawton. The rumors flew fast and straight, everyone was convinced it would be built right across from MacArthur High School. It made sense in their eyes, but the global conglomerate chose 38th and Lee Boulevard for their smaller Walmart Neighborhood Market. I literally heard this rumor again today at lunch, and I think it's about time the highfalutin' East Side dwellers hear it from a trusted and reliable friend...

The East Side of Lawton isn't getting a Walmart.

That's right. I said it. There's no real reason for Walmart to move East of I-44 for the population that is currently living there. It's not like Lawton is expanding East any more than it is now. Sure, there's a handful of McMansions being built for the high-earners and retirees looking for a quieter neighborhood, but Lawton is expanding South. Buffered by Cache to the West and Fort Sill to the North, South is the only place Lawton can grow. If you don't believe that, just look at the evidence. The new Walmart Neighborhood Market on Lee as exhibit A and the new fancy fire station down on Bishop Road plays exhibit B.

Does that mean East Lawton couldn't use a Walmart? They sure could. In terms of groceries, every community benefits from competition, the East Side would probably benefit greatly from it... but you have to ask yourself, is a shrinking Lawton big enough for four Walmarts? I don't think so. I think East Siders would be better off petitioning HEB to move North of that Red River. Until that day comes, they'll just have to continue traveling that grocery trail.

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