Succumb to Wal-Mart plan

Reader Input
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I can name you a few places where a large retail business had adverse effects on the town. Not only that, but the business in question is Wal-Mart! While busy degrading the aesthetic appeal of the surrounding areas, lowering the value of other surrounding commercial and residential property (thus reducing public revenues), causing disinvestment from already established local core commercial areas, all under the pretense of “economic development,” Wal-Mart has been studied by a nice amount of universities on the impact big-box stores have on their surrounding communities. They found “a substantial negative impact of big-box entry and growth on the employment growth at both single unit and especially smaller chain stores — but only when the big-box activity is both in the immediate area and in the same detailed industry ... That is, the ultimate impact of big-boxes on other retail outlets depends on the degree to which they are substitutes or complements in the provision of retail services within their local market.” Oh good! It only affects the local market in the areas of product they both sell! Well, gee, what does Wal-Mart sell? Shoes, clothes, toys, pharmaceuticals, pets, music, gardening supplies. To that, I say goodbye Auburn Running Company, Fashion Bug, Kid’s Closet, Auburn Drug Co., Pet Xing, Cherry Records and Eisley’s! The “single-unit” stores are the first to go. Then what? The smaller chains: Famous Footwear? Big 5? Kmart? Sure, we have had examples of single-units falling the smaller retail chains before, but that doesn’t make one lament the loss of Off The Wall to Best Buy, as the subsequent job opportunities caused no mourning for another small business succumbing to the great retail gods. Basia Cossel, Roseville