Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Walmart v. Trader Joe's: Red state or blue?

Colorado is the purplest of states, with voters almost equally divided between Democrat, Republican and unaffiliated, and Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a dead heat here. But there's another contest that also shows the red state/blue state pull: The debate over Walmart and Trader Joe's.

For years, metro residents have campaigned to bring a Trader Joe's to the area. And they'll finally get their wish when not one, but two stores open next year in Colorado: one in Boulder, and a second in Denver, at an Eighth and Colorado site that was once supposed to hold an upscale hotel. But as a consolation prize, this Trader Joe's will have the coveted liquor license that only one location of a chain can have in this state. True blue!

Just a block away, though, developers of the long-abandoned University of Colorado Health Center are planning to put a Walmart into their project, which has inspired protests throughout the neighborhood, keeping demonstrators in a state of reddiness.

And tonight in Boulder, Citizens United to Preserve Boulder will rally to protest the possibility of a Walmart or another "big box" retailer opening in Boulder. "Walmart may be using deceptive practices to build a store in Boulder," the group warns in an online flier about the rally -- a claim also posted on the Boulder County Democratic Party's website. The rally (with pizza) will start at 5:15, and the group's members will then go to the open comment period of the Boulder City Council meeting. After that, at 7:15 p.m., the group will screen High Cost of Low Wages at the Boulder Public Library.

Red state, blue state. Does purple shop at Target?

Are you red or blue? Rate yourself in "Blue State v. Red State: Which Colorado do you live in?"

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun