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Letters to the Editors

Wal-Mart surely will drive out small business


© St. Petersburg Times
published July 21, 2002

Editor: Wal-Mart, through its own marketing machinery, has managed to portray itself as an all-American store. Wal-Mart does offer low prices on many items, but what retailer wouldn't if they had the buying power?

Spring Hill's Wal-Mart Supercenter is a clear sign of Hernando County selling out the small business. If you think the unrented stores that occupy strip malls are ugly, wait until the supercenter has opened. There will be more. Would you open a small retailing business near Wal-Mart? No.

I'm not anti-Wal-Mart. I'm not against a free market. However, Wal-Mart hypocritically feeds off established communities. This is quintessential parasitism.

Potential small businesses will come to Hernando County, carve out niche markets away from Wal-Mart's locations. Just to have their assiduous toils plundered by another Wal-Mart that found the demographics of their burgeoning small business community too tempting to resist.

All of this is done with the blessing of our county government, its business liaison initiative and with Wal-Mart waving the red, white and blue. If that isn't duplicity toward our small businesses, what is?

Wal-Mart brings good aspects with it, namely providing consumers with a variety of low-priced goods in a concentrated area. But bear this in mind: Wal-Mart also creates business "dead zones."

How many businesses flourish past a Wal-Mart? Not many. Why? Because informed business entities that do their homework know that Wal-Mart has the resources to undercut and drive them out of business.

I am reminded of what President Jimmy Carter said. It goes something like: A free society is not one that encourages individuals to take advantage of -- or create -- the misfortune of others.
-- Elizabeth Dees, Spring Hill

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