HELOTES, TX – A small town’s giving the nation’s largest retailer a second chance.
WalMart is building a store near the Bandera and Leslie intersection, across from O’Connor High School.
When WalMart tried to build a store in Helotes back in 2004, neighbors didn’t exactly roll out the welcome wagon.
Eight years later, neighbors holding protests signs and screaming are gone, replaced by crews turning dirt in relative silence at the future home of WalMart.
"Doesn't bother me,” neighbor Amber Howard says. “It's another store. We need more."
As construction workers prepare for a spring opening, city leaders say WalMart's found a very different Helotes this time around.
"Businesses are now looking at Helotes as a growth area,” Mayor Tom Schoolcraft says.
He says in the past decade, Helotes’ population nearly doubled but sales tax revenues have not grown quite as quickly.
"We have to struggle to get $500,000, $600,000 a year in sales tax revenue,” Mayor Schoolcraft says.
He says a new WalMart could generate nearly a million a year for city coffers.
"Just that one store will actually produce more sales tax revenue than all the other businesses in our city now,” Mayor Schoolcraft says.
Another factor that’s changed: convenience. Neighbors say they now want a major grocery store within city limits.
"It's closer than the one at 1604 and Culebra for me because I live right off Braun,” Howard says.
The town hopes a big name will fuel even bigger growth.