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1998-10-16
North Elba, NY. Wal-Mart Slams the Door

Wal-Mart spent nearly 5 years and several million dollars trying to get a store location in the town of North Elba, NY, right next to Lake Placid. The Residents for Responsible Growth and North Elba officials kept rejecting Wal-Mart. Instead of picking up their marbles and finding another game, Wal-Mart kept shrinking the store smaller and smaller, hoping for some breakthrough. But the town objected to the scenic location of the store, and its negative impact on local economics. So now, after these many years, Wal-Mart has apparently given up the ghost -- but not without first slamming the door on the way out! In a strongly worded letter to the real estate broker who was handling their land deal in North Elba, Wal-Mart Real Estate Manager Robert Stoker wrote about "the truly bothersome results" of Wal-Mart's tribulation in Lake Placid. "We are obviously disappointed with the political motivations responsible for the demise of our proposal to build on your property," Stoker wrote. "It is too bad that the Political community of Lake Placid has allowed the opinions of a few to disproportionately influence and suppress retail and economic development in North Elba, not to mention the lost financial opportunity for you personally." Stoker adds: "Regrettably, your town planners turned up their noses and covered their eyes and ears when presented with such postive information (about Wal-Mart)...We will proceed to spend our capital and invest in communities where economic growth is not looked at as "the plague", and where the common sense of the many can still direct the outcome of such development, just as the case should have been in Lake Placid." The property owner, Phil Thayer, sent that Wal-Mart diatribe to North Elba Town Board members, with a few comments of his own. Thayer explains that now Wal-Mart will try to locate a store in the nearby Saranac Lake region. "I do not see how this scenario bodes will (sic) for our community, and perhaps out (sic) leadership will be called to accountability in the future." Thayer predicts that Saranac Lake could become "the regional shopping center" for the area, and the North Elba area will "see a significant reduction in sales and tax revenues." Peter Roland, the head of the Residents for Responsible Growth, says that Mr. Thayer is the only one arouond losing any sleep over Wal-Mart's departure. "Predictably," Roland says, "Wal-Mart did not have a press conference, a parade, or a party before they left town." But after nearly 5 years, Lake Placid can finally stop fighting Wal-Mart in their town. . Roland has already pledged his assistance in stopping Wal-Mart's "beggar thy neighbor" approach to Saranac Lake.

What you can do: Condolences can be sent to: Robert Stoker, Real Estate Manager Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 2001 SE 10th. St, Bentonville, AR 72712-6489. Let Mr. Stoker know how sorry you were to hear about their withdrawal from Lake Placid, and how awful it must be for people like Mr. Stoker to have to put up with "the opinions of a few" who happen to disagree with him. Explain to Mr. Stoker that some people in this world see Wal-Mart as a retail plague upon their community. Encourage Mr.Stoker to never turn up his nose or cover his eyes to the feelings of local citizen's groups. It might have saved Wal-Mart more than $4 million and five years of hard work if they had listened a little more closely to what people in Lake Placid were saying. You can call Mr.Stoker at 501-273-4712 if you're feeling really bad.










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

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