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1999-04-25
Lumberton, NJ: Wal-Mart Slowly Destroying America.

Jules Thiessen, the Mayor of Mount Holly, NJ, is concerned about the proposed building of a 134,000 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter in neighboring Lumberton. The Mayor is worried that Wal-Mart will make a bad traffic situation even more hazardous to public safety. "Wal-Mart's good in the short-term for a tax boost," the Mayor warned, "but not in the long run." The Mayor is also worried that Wal-Mart will negatively impact the small merchants in the trade area who are "making it now, but not by much." And Mayor Thiessen candidly admitted: "Slowly, but surely, Wal-Mart is destroying small town America." But the Mayor of Lumberton is much more upbeat. "With the expansion we have," Mayor Phil Prickett says, "there's plenty for everybody. "We feel the population growth is big enough that it shouldn't affect other businesses." And in the classic unsubstantiated town official "fact", the Lumberton Mayor adds: "The more traffic there is, the more opportunityi a businessman has to pull in a customer." Right. And the more grocery stores you build, the more food people will eat. A spokesman for Wal-Mart told reporters that Wal-Mart "never enters a market with the intention of running out other busineses." It must be just an accident that other businesses go under. "And Wal-Mart generates significant tax revenues that benefit all of the communities," Wal-Mart asserted, but provided no data to demonstrate the net tax impact on the towns or the county.

What you can do: "At Wal-Mart, we make dust, our competitors eat dust." That's my favorite quote from Tom Coughlin at Wal-Mart. But now we can say that Wal-Mart does not INTENTIONALLY want other businesses to bite the dust, it's an accidental byproduct of Wal-Mart coming to town. So if you can just put up with a little "dust" for awhile, as smaller business are run out of town, you can hang in there with Wal-Mart for the long run. As one noted economist has said: the only thing that happens in the long run is that we all die. For now, Lumberton and Mount Holly are engaged in a battle of Mayors. Maybe local businesses in Lumberton and Mounty Holly will like eating dust...










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

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