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2005-08-09
Spartanburg, SC. Five Years After Wal-Mart Came To Town

Sprawl-Busters reported on October 25, 2000, that Wal-Mart wanted to shut down its existing discount store in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and build a supercenter nearby. Five years later, here's an update from activists in Spartanburg: "I wanted to update you on the Spartanburg Wal-Mart, and allow you to see how out-of-hand it has truly gotten. Since Wal-Mart left its location, and destroyed acres of forest to build it's mammoth supercenter, Lowe's has moved into Wal-Mart's old location, adding a red light which everyone in the town hates. Now, Home Depot has bought and shut down a beautiful golf-course that was in town, with a lake that was always a nice view on the way to/from town. Now it sits empty. The acres of golf-course are now abandoned, with Home Depot at the crest of the hill. Thank goodness they at least made the location far back to where you can't see it, but the red light that they added, which serves no purpose, is a constant reminder it's there. People hate this red light as well, and I often see people run right through it because there's never anyone to wait on at the light. Now, Goody's, as well as all the other stores that were in the previous Wal-Mart strip are gone. And we have an overly congested road with Wal-Mart, Lowe's, and Home Depot within 1/2 mile of each other. I can't bear to think what will come of the rest of the golf course. As for now, it's an eye-sore, but better than pavement and concrete. Our downtown struggles heavily as our blind city-council and chamber of commerce does nothing to help. Chamber membership is WAY down because of their choice to support Wal-Mart's movement. I currently work for a small-business aimed at helping our small-businesses come back. it's the only way we can fight to stay alive, and it's working as best it can. It's called Local Benefits.com, at http://www.localbenefits.com please check it out... Although it may be too late to save us from the monster, I and others of us are willing to try whatever we can to save our ever struggling vacant downtown."

What you can do: People often ask me what really happens when Wal-Mart comes to town. Spartanburg is probably a typical example of the aftermath. After Wal-Mart, more big boxes come in a cluster, and existing merchants disappear, downtowns struggle, and the tax bill keeps going up to pay for the services for the big boxes, especially police and road maintenance. The character and feel of the town changes. It begins to look remarkably like other towns, and any distinctive features are lost in the acres of asphalt and concrete. Wal-Martburg looks exactly like the hundreds of Wal-Martburgs everywhere. For further background on this story, contact William Bryant at 864-909-4681










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

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