Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wal-Mart--Good for Downtown?

“Our sales tax revenue is on track to double this year. Most of it is due to the opening of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter last year, but we’ve seen good retail growth in various sectors of Pryor. The most interesting phenomenon is that we’ve seen the downtown area surge with the opening Wal-Mart. We’re bringing more people to town and some of them are shopping downtown.” Barbara Hawkins of the Pryor Chamber was telling me about their retail strength and growth during a recent tour of the town.

I’ve seen a few towns try to ban certain retailers or impede their development. It is a very short term strategy that might help a few established retailers for a short period of time, but results in stagnation and unintended consequences in the long term. Towns need to be focused upon the long term, doing what they can to enhance their communities.

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