Sep 30, 2013 1:54 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Without alcohol, Walmart takes back offer to close early

TUCSON - The city's newest Walmart is about to stay open 24 hours.

The store agreed to close early if local neighborhood associations supported their bid for a liquor license. Neighbors agreed to the deal, but the liquor board denied the new application.

Barbara Jamieson owns a home just over the wall from the store.

"We thought we had won," she said. "And then, suddenly, we have lost. And we have lost royally."

She is concerned about the noise.

"They expect to rest at night and be fresh in the morning," Jamieson said, "and able to think and function. And it just changes things so much."

A Walmart spokesperson, Delia Garcia, said their customers expect the convenience of 24-hour service. She did not want to speculate if the store would re-apply for a liquor license or if the same compromise could happen again.

"We're hopeful that the door will be open to continue those conversations with the neighbors, with the city," Garcia said, "should the time come to apply for a liquor license."

Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik got the Arizona Liquor Board to hold a meeting in Tucson where neighbors convinced the board to deny the application.

Since the liquor board did not allow the license on the second try, Kozachik does not blame Walmart for staying open all night.

"It was all a part of a piece," Kozachik said. "And so the fact that they didn't get the alcohol means that they have to go back and retool their business model. I totally get that. And I think the neighborhood will also."

He is optimistic they can reach the same deal again.

"I think the pieces are ready to put back on the table," Kozachik said. "And I think the people will do that."

Walmart will work with El-Con Mall management to adjust security to the new schedule.

The 24-hour service will start Monday, September 30.


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