One of the aspects of a Wal Mart invasion that gets missed is what happens on the bloody morning after. When all other local retail has dried up and blown away and a town is left only with its Big Box, what do you do if Wal Mart threatens to leave town? You drop to your knees and beg. That's the straights the town of McGehee, Arkansas, finds itself in. According to Jennifer Barnett Reed's Arkansas Times article Don't Dare Take Our Wal Mart the small town of 4,310 has learned that its : small, outdated Wal-Mart will shut down if the company decides to build a Supercenter in a rival town 20 miles up the highway. Everyone from the mayor to students at the high school starts throwing everything they can at the corporate Wal-Mart wall — Census figures and crime statistics, barrages of phone calls and e-mails, the implied threat of a whole bunch of bad PR — hoping enough will stick to convince Wal-Mart to stay. The words of Mayor Bain Poole should be carved in stone in front of every city hall in the country. ...when you reach the point where Wal-Mart’s all you got left — we’re trying to keep it. And one tin soldeir rides away. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

7 Responses to “BY THE SHORT AND CURLIES…”

  1. michael says:

    Isn’t this a good thing? Won’t this allow a nice fertile market for Mom and Pops to spring up?

    Jeez, you guys bitch when Wal-Mart wants to come and whine when Wal-Mart wants to go. Are you ever satisfied?

    BTW: Anyone want to bet that the day after Wal-Mart leaves McGhee, a Dollar General Store will appear. That’s a company that’s done aggrressive penetration into rural communities and killed off the local general store. The people in those communties LOVE Dollar General cause it brings discount prices to poor communities. Just like Wal-Mart has done for suburbia.

  2. Michael,

    Here’s your warning. You’re on the verge of getting banned because of your tone. Please keep it civil or start your own blog.

    By the way, have you been downtown recently? Plenty of discounts available in the form of dollars stores. Who’s business to think Wal*Mart is after?

  3. Jeez, you guys bitch when Wal-Mart wants to come and whine when Wal-Mart wants to go.

    Your focus is wrong; we don’t like their slash and burn, piratical, parasitic economics. Their “take as much as we can and then get while the getting is good” ideology isn’t something we want done to Cleveland.

  4. Shalom Michael.

    I grew up in a rural town a little bigger than McGehee. It would be nice to think that if Wal Mart leaves that the town will just rebound.

    Sadly, that isn’t what happens. Rebuilding takes capital, and if you’ve been working for Wal Mart for 30 years, you’re not going to have a lot of that. And, you’re also a bad business risk for a bank that looks at a dying community and doesn’t seen any gain in pouring money down a black hole.



  5. jaws says:

    For a lot of small towns though, getting a Wal-Mart is seen as an achievement of sorts. If you think about it, it’s getting something major to come to this “small location” It’s a national store coming to the small town. In as much, in some of these towns, Wal-Marts have become hang outs for kids/teens.

    It’s not like having a Wal-Mart come to a “big” or “major” city which already has other national retailers in the area.

  6. Jeff Hess says:

    Shalom Josh,

    You’re right, getting a Wal Mart is seen as an achievement in small towns.

    I left Marietta in 1973. When I left town it STILL did not have that hallmark of the second half of the 20th century: a McDonald’s. When it finally arrived in the late ‘70s, I think, that first McDonald’s was seen as a sign that Marietta was becoming something.

    I had a similar McDonald’s experience nearly twenty years later when it was announced that McDonald’s was going to be the anchor in the new Severance Mall food court. A former mayor of Cleveland Heights was ecstatic with the announcement because it represented business confidence in the mall. That McDonald’s and the one on Lee Road are long gone

    Now 30 years later, Marietta has two McDonald’s (the original one, plus a super one out by I-77) and all of the other cookie cutter merchants you can imagine including a Wal Mart. But if you walk down Putnam Street or along Front Street, what you see a town that has become a caricature of itself. It’s almost at Disney set out to create Middle Americaville with all the cute little antique shops.

    Becoming like everywhere else is a Faustian bargain. In the end, you have to pay up.



  7. Ahh, nothing like the smell of troll in the morning.

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