Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One Wal-Mart Away...

The Shenandoah Valley Progress Report had a brief article on Wal-Mart that I think is worth noting. The article cites an Iowa State University report about Wal-Mart's affect on small businesses:

Further, Stone found that the stores that bore the brunt of Wal-Mart’s competition were in towns with populations of less than 5,000 within 20 miles of a Wal-Mart. [Jackson Citizen-Patriot, 7/11/08]

  • Iowa State University and Mississippi State University professors found grocery stores in Mississippi saw sales decline anywhere from 10 to 20% when a Wal-Mart moved in: stores in multiple other categories saw sales declines as well.
  • University of California, 1999, studied grocery stores in California and found “The full economic impact of those lost wages and benefits throughout southern California could approach $2.8 billion per year.”
  • 2005 report from the AFL-CIO finds that as Wal-Mart’s increasing reliance on imported goods has meant fewer jobs in communities around the country.
There's a bit of a "duh" factor in these results, but it does open a conversation we should have as a state, as localities and as a nation: is the much-touted tax revenue from building a Wal-Mart Supercenter worth bankrupting local merchants and vacating historic downtowns?

My personal preference is to avoid Wal-Mart like the plague, given their low labor and environmental standards, not to mention the overwhelming dearth of American-made goods.

1 comment:

Doug said...

I know people get sick of hearing me say this, but I haven't been to a wal-mart (other than the parking lot) since '96 or so. Everything in the store is imported, they treat employees and customers like crap, they're a drain on the communities they're located in. Shop local!!