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2003-04-20
Hickory, NC. Despite win in courts, Wal-Mart gets smoked in Hickory.

Residents in Hickory, North Carolina fought Wal-Mart through their state court system -- and lost the battle. But it may just be that they won the war. According to the Charlotte Observer, a group called the Northeast Concerned Citizens fought to stop a Wal-Mart Supercenter from being built in their neighborhood. A developer called Tricor Development wanted to construct a 151,980 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter. After turning a Wal-Mart supercenter down on the more affluent side of town, the Hickory City Council gave the Tricor plan a go-ahead in 1998, but the citizen's group took the city to court. The city was upheld in the lower court, so the citizens took their case to the appellate level, where they lost also. Finally, the North Carolina Supreme Court refused to hear the case, so the legal route was exhausted. Northeast Concerned Citizens had spent nearly $30,000 to reach the end point. But, according to the newspaper, Wal-Mart ultimately decided not to build a store at that site. "Attorneys for the developer and the city said they did not know why Wal-Mart pulled out of the project," the Observer reported, "and store officials did not return several calls."

What you can do: One of the activists in Hickory said "you have to be persistent, and you have to grow a thick skin." Suing the town twice did not make the residents popular in some quarters, but the message from Hickory is that it ain't over until the fat company sings. The Concerned Citizens blocked Wal-Mart for several years, and in the intervening time period, the company apparently set its sights on other locations, leaving Hickory residents with a hard fought victory, despite the court losses.










 
 
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