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These photos could have been taken anywhere…

February 28, 2020, 8:30 AM

While on an outing on Thursday, I stopped to photograph the former Walmart store in Leesburg, Virginia.  I had been planning a photo shoot here ever since the store closed in May 2019, upon the opening of a new Supercenter store elsewhere in the Leesburg area.  I was drawn to this location because, unlike a lot of former Walmart stores, this one left a massive labelscar on the building due to repaintings over the years, as revealed in photos taken by Aaron Stone.  Other Walmarts that closed have had lesser labelscars, and Walmart has also been known to paint out their labelscars.  But this one had “WAL★MART” still easily readable in blue.  I felt something of a sense of urgency in getting down to this location, because who knows how long a former Walmart will sit idle.  Other former Walmart stores in the DC area have been scooped up relatively quickly, such as the former Manassas Walmart, which was quickly converted to other uses.  So who knew how long this might remain in this form.

Arriving on site, I couldn’t have gotten better shooting conditions.  The skies were partly cloudy, with only a small amount of cloud cover, which worked to my benefit.  Completely clear skies make for slightly bluish photos that need to be color corrected in post-production, while partly cloudy skies tend to lend to more accurate colors that require less work at the computer.  My only complaint about the conditions was that it was cold and windy, which was not fun to shoot in.  By the time I finished this shoot, which took about 25 minutes to do, I was quite cold.  It took me some time to warm back up once I got back in the car.

In any case, here are the results from the shoot:

Former Walmart in Leesburg, Virginia

Former Walmart in Leesburg, Virginia

Former Walmart in Leesburg, Virginia

Former Walmart in Leesburg, Virginia

Former Walmart in Leesburg, Virginia

Former Walmart in Leesburg, Virginia

Former Walmart in Leesburg, Virginia

Former Walmart in Leesburg, Virginia

I suppose that I got a few winners in there.  All in all, I’m content with the photo shoot.

And I really did enjoy photographing that labelscar.  I suppose that this came about because of the period when this store was last updated.  This store had the mid-2000s design with the large signs against the wall, just before the logo was changed.  During this period, Walmart was painting the sign area, which was normally blue, into either a yellow or a pumpkin color.  The logo was still the same, so the remodeling work painted around the letters.  And then when the store closed, the letters were removed and no paintout was done, resulting in what you see.  It surprised me, but I was tickled to see it.

While doing this shoot, I was also struck by how generic what I was shooting was.  This was a 1990s-era pylon-style store.  Walmart built hundreds of these.  If you look on my Flickr, I have photos of seven different current and former pylon-style stores.  Whenever I’ve gone to Chicago via the Capitol Limited, I’ve always spotted a Walmart out of the left side of the train somewhere in Indiana (by the way, what town is that Walmart in?).  And there are many more.  I could have conceivably shot this at any of those locations, because they all look the same.  I could tell you any location in America, and you would probably not question it.

Meanwhile, I wonder what eventually happens to this building.  It’s located in a fairly well-traveled area, with several other shopping centers and an outlet mall within a mile’s distance.  Something tells me that it will be leased out before too long, but I couldn’t tell you when.

Categories: Loudoun County, Walmart