Two nations physically and culturally come together in El Paso. The bustling Walmart on the city's East Side, just minutes from the border with Mexico, exemplified those ties.

The store was a border version of Middle America: A large number of Mexican-American families from El Paso crowded into the megastore daily for inexpensive groceries and, late in the summer, back-to-school supplies. Almost as often, families from Mexico drove across the international bridge to buy lower-cost TVs, cartons of diapers and discount clothing. It was one of the company's top 10 in America: Where most big-box stores of its kind average

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