Sprawl-Busters Newsflash Blog - Anti-Sprawl news since 1998.
Subscribe to Sprawl-Busters Blog Follow Sprawl Busters on Twitter
Occupy Walmart & Order Al's Books Movies Newsflash! The Case Against Sprawl Home Towns Not Home Depot Victories Your Battles About Us Contact Us  

recent news

List articles
by the month:

2018
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2017
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2016
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2015
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2014
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2013
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2012
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2011
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2010
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2009
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2008
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2007
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2006
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2005
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2004
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2003
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2002
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2001
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2000
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

1999
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

1998
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC


Search database by text:

2002-11-06
Okeechobee, FL. Small Town Story of Wal-Mart Impact on Business

Wal-Mart likes to call itself a "retail magnet" which attracts shoppers, who then spin off and help other nearby merchants. The only problem with this theory is that it contradicts Wal-Mart's other strategy of "one stop shopping." The reality is found in the stories of small town merchants who lost their shirt when Wal-Mart came to town. Periodically, Sprawl-Busters hears from local merchants about the real impact megastores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot have on their livlihood. Here's another recent chapter in that story, this time from Gary Ritter in Florida: "I live in a small the small rural community in Okeechobee, Florida. In June of 1998 I purchased a local bike shop that had been in business for five years. At the time this bike shop was holding its own against a small Wal-Mart store and the local K Mart. The first 2 years in which I took over the business our sales and inventory grew although our profits were not large. During that same period Wal Mart expanded to a Super Wal Mart, which was located directly across the street from my shop. By the third year I was in business, my bicycle sales dropped from 175 units per year to 50 units per year. I even tried to work out a deal with Wal Mart to do the repairs on new bikes that were being returned with minor problems or needed adjustments however the manager never responded to my proposal. In fact they were giving customers new bikes on returns and scrapping the old ones. The Super Wal Mart also began stocking more accessories and selling them at prices
lower than mine. As an interesting side bar, since I was the only specialty
bike shop in town when I closed the business they raised their prices on all
their accessories. My shop was not the only business in town that suffered this fate. A local hardware store, the western auto, a clothing shop, jewelry shop, and music store all followed suit. Our K Mart has now left town and Eckards and U Save have consolidated and moved to new locations leaving a large abandoned shopping complex in the middle of town. We now have abandoned store fronts in all our major shopping plazas as well as in our small strip malls. In
addition four Town Star convenience stores have been boarded up and declared
bankruptcy. There is a small group that has surfaced, which is dedicated to
revitalizing the downtown district in Okeechobee. This group is organized
under mainstreet Florida, a statewide movement to revitalize downtown areas
in cities throughout the state. The Super Wal Mart has a strangle hold on the retail business in Okeechobee.
Most people shop there so they can make it their only stop. Until the
mainstreet effort I have seen little public concern over how this store has
impacted the culture of our community."

What you can do: For more background on Gary Ritter's story, you can email him at gammr@okeechobee.com. Florida has the 3rd highest number of "dead Wal-Marts" in the nation, with 27 as of last winter sitting empty. In fact, one of the "dark store" Wal-Marts is on Highway 441 South in Okeechobee. You can ride your Wal-Mart bike over and see it sometime.










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

info@sprawl-busters.com
Strategic Planning ~ Field Operations
Voter Campaigns 
21 Grinnell St, Greenfield ~ MA 01301
(413) 772-6289