It depends on the state of the community’s economy before Wal-Mart moves in. Wal-Mart can improve a local economy by providing jobs (managers, cashiers, stock people, janitorial staff, construction). However, Wal-Mart, like all big chains, can be damaging to local business because independent stores cannot compete. Wal-Mart can afford to initially lose money when opening a new store because the cost will be absorbed by their other stores.
Wal-Mart stores have the advantage over smaller retail stores as they sell a wide array of products at a cheaper prices. This attracts consumers who want to buy as many things as possible in one place, and at a better price. Local stores can’t afford to drop their prices, and often don’t have as much variety as the closest Wal-Mart.
On the same subject on how a Wal-Mart can improve an economy in a small town by hiring, they are also offering jobs at sometimes a higher rate than what local stores can pay. Or at least offer benefits, sometimes better benefits, whereas the local stores cannot.
Also when a new Wal-Mart moves in, they usually build then abandon. As in, instead of remodeling to make a new store, they just rebuild a new, yet larger, super Wal-Mart leaving the old structure behind. It could be a great piece of property, if anyone would like to build they must demolition then build to make anything out of the space which creates horrid up-front costs.
The website below has an excerpt from the book “Rebooting the American Dream” by Thom Hartmann that gives a great explanation of how shopping locally helps to stimulate a community’s economy in both the short and long terms, unlike Wal-Mart and other large corporations, which only help stimulate the economy in the short term through jobs. If a person shops at a local store, and the store owner uses a local bank, the bank is then available to members of the community to give loans, which in turn help citizens to start or develop their own local businesses, which in turn allows them to hire new local employees, who can provide more local service to others. The community’s money is kept in the community, cycling and slowly growing, helping the community to grow on a local level. If a customer spends money at Wal-Mart, the money goes across the country to the pockets of Wal-Mart executives, and is spent on developing the business in places hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from where the money was originally spent. Large, international corporations take money out of communities.
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