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1998-12-15
Clermont, FL. Wal-Mart "Whipped" Cream

On November 24, 1998 newsflash reported how someone in Clermont, FL, at Wal-Mart's suggestion, put together a pro-Wal-Mart flier with the Mayor's name and address at the bottom, but somehow forget to get the Mayor to OK the literature piece. Well, Wal-Mart's message apparently fell on deaf ears, and it looks like Wal-Mart won't be building much of anything on the land it reportedly purchased for $2.3 million. In fact, Wal-Mart's attorney "stormed out" of a City Council meeting recently saying he would either return with another proposal or sue the city over the first plan at Highway 27 and State Road 50. "I don't think they gave us a fair deal," Wal-Mart's real estate lawyer, Richard Langley sniffed. The Clermont Sentinel newpaper headline the next day read: "Retail Giant in a snit at tiny Clermont". The paper said Wal-Mart "angrily withdrew" its application from consideration. Wal-Mart spokesman Keith Morris was quoted as saying he feared the City Council would reject Wal-Mart's request for variances "without listening". All Wal-Mart wanted was to reduce the number of required parking spaces, make the spaces smaller, pump stormwater retention off site, and have far fewer trees than the city requires. Wal-Mart was trying to foist a 187,539 s.f store on Clermont, but the Sentinel suggested that the site might have been approved for a "regular sized store at 50,000 s.f." When Wal-Mart ran into strong citizen opposition, the company asked the City Council for a delay, to try and "shore up support for the project", said the newspaper. But City Councilor Hope Lamb said the Wal-Mart pitch had gone on long enough. "We're ready to move on," she explained. "I think all the information is in." Wal-Mart tried to sweeten the deal by offering to pay for $2 million in road work, or twice what it originally offered the city. They also offered to put back some more trees and parking spaces. In the end, however, their lawyer walked out in a "snit". But Wal-Mart's allure was not completely lost on the good citizens of Clermont. There was at least on resident who understood the deep significance of having a Wal-Mart supercenter nearby. Shirley Stralis, an unabashed Wal-Mart fan, told the newspaper: "Before Thanksgiving, I couldn't get whipping cream in three stores. If I had had a Wal-Mart here, I would have had it." And that, ladies and gents, is the most eloquent defense of Wal-Mart heard in a long while. All over America, whipped cream supporters are demanding more Wal-Marts to satisfy their cravings. Keep speaking out America, someone is bound to listen to you -- and Wal-Mart -- even in cities like Clermont!

What you can do: Did Shirley ever get her cream? Tune in next week. Has Wal-Mart been "whipped" for good in Clermont? How many snits can one company have? For all those pundits who keep repeating that it's futile to try and take on these big stores, be instructed by the recent examples of St. Peterburg and Clermont, FL, where Wal-Mart got creamed twice within a few weeks.










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

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