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From Caldor/CVS to Wal-Mart

Address: 121 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA, 01701

Original Facility built: 1966

Construction Stage: November 2001-May 2002

New Facility opening: June 2002

Known stores in former: Caldor, Heartland Drug, CVS Pharmacy

Current stores: Wal-Mart

Mall (Store) website: http://www.walmart.com

News stories: None

One of the Northeast-based discount stores that liquidated during the late 1990's was Caldor. The first Caldor opened in 1951 in Port Chester, NY, and the Framingham store opened in 1966 at 121 Worcester Road. On the left side of the store was a road, known as Caldor Road. Caldor Road was essentially the far left side of the parking lot, and acted as a connector between Route 9 and Cochituate Rd. (Rte. 30). The facility was originally an 87,600 sq. ft. building, made up entirely of Caldor. In 1978, Heartland Drug, a division of Purity Supreme supermarkets, opened in a sub-divided space on the right side of the Caldor building, giving the building a ratio of about 20% Heartland Drug/80% Caldor. By 1993, the Heartland Drug had become a 24-hour CVS Pharmacy. To the far right of the store was once a Putt-Putt Mini Golf Center, in what would essentially be seen as an outlot. Putt-Putt closed sometime in the mid-90s, and is currently Walpole Woodworkers.

The outside of the Caldor was an mix of rocks and yellow putty that were unique to this location, but the store did look like many other Caldor stores by the presence of the two massive columns near the store's entrance. In the signage above the door, the "O" of the word "Caldor" was a frequent nesting place for area birds until it was eventually taken down. Meanwhile, the interior of the store gave off a decent appearance when compared to the other area stores. It was one of the most profitable locations in the Caldor chain, which would be expected when you compare the store with the low-grade merchandise at Bradlees and the outdated atmosphere of Ames, which were no match for the 80's style of Caldor. While the store was by no means comparable to a modern Target or Wal-Mart, it served as a clean establishment with amiable employees. The cash registers were enormous brown machines with large LED displays to the extent that you could probably make $100,000 purchase and still have all of the digits show up on the cash register. There were also some children's rides near the entrance; notably a Fred Flintstone car. The store was by no means new, but it was clean and was well maintained. In January 1999, Caldor announced that after operating for four years under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closing many of its stores, the chain would liquidate and shut down. That announcement meant the end for the Framingham store; by spring of that year, Caldor became but a memory of Northeast retail.

Soon after the store closed, Wal-Mart bought the lease in order to bring one of their discount stores to the Golden Triangle; previously, the closest location had been Northboro. Wal-Mart's first move was to not renew CVS' lease, as Wal-Mart would have it's own in-store pharmacy. CVS would eventually relocate the intellectual property of the store to a new location several miles away at the intersection of Temple Street and Route 9 on the site of Finally Michael's restaurant, although that location would not open until late 2003. Another Wal-Mart move was kicking out the farmer's market that had long met in the store's parking lot. Meanwhile, as the building began to accumulate vandalism, Wal-Mart began meeting with the Framingham Planning Board.

Initially, Wal-Mart intended to install a new facade that matched their traditional blue and gray colors. However, this proposition was quickly shot down by the board. After much deliberation, Wal-Mart agreed to a design that instead incorporated a design that matched local residences. The yellow, colonial style facade included dormers and fake windows; in some ways, the design matched that of Stop & Shop's 1990s-era stores. Construction, which was done by Wrenn Associates, began in October 2001, and included gutting the entire building down to its frame, and then redesigning the space to Wal-Mart's specifications. Square footage was added to the front of the building on the left side to create a garden center. Caldor Road was made more obvious by the addition of new dividers, and attractive parking replaced the barren Caldor lot. The name of Caldor Road changed as well, to the unofficial Walmart Way. Construction was completed in May 2002.

Wal-Mart had originally planned to beat Target to the punch with a grand opening in August 2001, three months before Target was set to open in October 2001. However, as a result of delays, the building reopened to a typical Wal-Mart grand opening on June 14, 2002. The building has remained mostly the same since the opening, save for the replacement of an in-store cafe with a Subway in 2005.

Aerial Photo: circa 1995

Aerial photo of Caldor

This photo shows the former Caldor from space. Note how the boundary of Caldor Road and the Caldor parking lot is extremely unclear. This was a problem when people would drive (unsafely) straight across the parking lot to get to CVS, and Wal-Mart changed this by adding a border between the road in the parking lot. The lot is much more controlled with the divider. The surrounding area retail includes Border's Books and Music in the bottom right corner, and Bennigan's in the left center. Kohl's (at the time Bradlees) is visable in the top right corner, but it should be noted that there is and was no connection between these stores. To get from one to another, you must take Route 9 or Cochituate Rd.

My Pictures: Taken May 8, 2004

 Wal-Mart

Another Wal-Mart shot

Media: Wal-Mart Construction Photos, Caldor Photos, floorplans below.

old floor
new floor

Related Links: Caldor at Deadmalls DOT com, Town of Framingham property photos


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