Wednesday, February 6, 2002
I have a question for the people in favor of a super size Wal-Mart. Many of you have suggested to people opposed to a new super store to just not shop there. We that oppose to a big box super store have more concerns than simply choosing where and where not to shop. Wal-Mart neither sells parts nor offers repair service on the prepackaged items they sell. If stores like Franz Hardware close, where will any of us go to order replacement parts or accessories? Where will I have to travel to shop when my choices of local small businesses are forced to close? Where will I have to go to buy merchandise not made in China or in third world sweatshops?
To be viable a community must have a mix of commercial store types. Wal-Mart does not compete (yet) in the windsurfing trade. Is every Hood River heights and downtown store vacated because of a super store to become another narrow segment business, i.e. windsurfing related?
Opposition to Wal-Mart plans for a four acre store is much more than choice of shopping location. It involves real and important concerns for the health and livability of our Mid-Columbia community. Please don't over simplify this issue. Please think beyond your own personal desire to buy everything at a single location. Be aware of the future of our area. Think about the long term effects of a one store community. Think about where even you will have to got for service, accessories or for that one-of-a-kind item you need. A superstore will not be an option. We currently have numerous options throughout the Mid-Columbia area for all the products Wal-Mart wants to sell in a super store. How many of theses businesses will be forced out of business by a super store? Maybe you don't care; many of us do.
Gary J. Fields