Lilia Perera and her husband own Agua Pura Vida, a store that sells water and gifts across the street from the site of the future Walmart. The couple worries that they won't be able to compete with Walmart's low prices.
This story is part of a series on the disruptions to local small businesses expected in the community of Altadena when a new Walmart Neighborhood Market opens next year. To read the rest of the series, check out the links at the end of this story.
Williams Perera gazed out at Lincoln Avenue, counting off the numerous businesses he thinks will close when the new Walmart Neighborhood Market opens.
The failure list includes his own store, Agua Pura Vida, which he and his wife opened five years ago.
Perera, 71, spent his life doing bodywork on cars and wanted to do something else after he retired. So he saved up every dollar he earned to invest in opening a store that would sell jugs of water, piñatas and sodas nearby his Altadena home.
“I spent my money here for survival,” Perera said.
Now he’s afraid that Walmart will squash the life out of his business. Perera said even though Walmart will bring some jobs—65 to be exact—the retailer could put him and his wife out of work.
The new Walmart will sell fresh produce, meat and household supplies. Perera said his store can’t compete with Walmart’s low prices.
“I sell sodas. I sell ice. Walmart sells everything,” Perera lamented. “My business, maybe pretty soon I might need to close because (Walmart) might kill me.”