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2006-01-20
Columbia, MO. New Wal-Mart Creates Dead Wal-Mart

Gain one, lose one. That's what happened this week in Columbia, Missouri, the state that Sam Walton loved to boast had been saturated with Wal-Marts. The Columbia City Council voted to support the new Grindstone Plaza, featuring a Wal-Mart supercenter, and a written developer's agreement to go with it. Columbia already has a Wal-Mart discount store at the Rock Bridge Shopping Center, and one city councilman was concerned that the developer's agreement failed to include the developer's agreement to find a tenant for the dead Wal-Mart the new project is creating. "I felt that should have been in the development agreement because that was one of the promises they made," the councilman said. "They argued that it was not something they can control because it was market-driven. I'm not that concerned about the empty building, but I do feel if you make a promise you should have to fulfill that promise." Another councilman who voted for the plan told The Maneater newspaper, "I'm always concerned with a development that large because there can be potential problems with traffic, pedestrian safety and neighborhood integrity." The newspaper quoted Sprawl-Busters as warning that Columbia should be wary of empty Wal-Mart stores in town, and that Wal-Mart is continuing to build stores to appease investors on Wall Street instead of servicing the community. "Currently, there are 350 dead Wal-Marts on the market and one-third of them have been dead for three years," Al Norman said. "Wal-Mart is a cannibal that chews up smaller businesses and reduces the number of jobs in a town. For about every one Wal-Mart that moves into a community, two grocery stores close, and that is not a good economic strategy."

What you can do: One memorable quote came out of this Columbia fiasco. City Councilman Brian Ash said, "A lot of people complain about Wal-Mart, but when people stop shopping there, they will stop building them."










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

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