The Economic Impact of Wal-Mart Locating in a Small Community"Of all the notions I've heard about Wal-Mart, none has ever baffled me more than this idea that we are somehow the enemy of small-town America. Nothing could be further from the truth: Wal-Mart has actually kept quite a number of small towns from becoming extinct by saving literally billions of dollars for the people who live in them, as well as by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in our stores. I believe millions of people are better off today than they would have been if Wal-Mart had never existed." - Sam Walton, as quoted in Time Magazine, dated June 15, 1992 (Tyler).
Sam Walton's statement may have been accurate regarding the economic impact of Wal-Mart in small-town America up to, and including, the year 1992; however, fourteen years later in the year 2006, statistics and data show that the empire of Wal-Mart is, in fact, the enemy of small-town America.
The appeal to a community of a new Wal-Mart store is the increase in new jobs, increase in the community tax base, increase in the retail base and the contribution to the economic development of the community; however, these benefits to the community are short lived as the long term consequences of the new Wal-Mart become apparent, ironically as the result of its initial benefits.
Wal-Mart's humble beginnings originate from small five-and-ten cent stores and have grown into a growing company with sales of $82 billion in 1995 and sales exceeding $105 billion in 1997. Statistics from November of 1999 show that, in the United States alone, Wal-Mart had 1,803 stores, 682 super-centers and 457 Sam's Clubs. These 2,942 locations employed more than 815,000 people. Today Wal-Mart stores in the United States exceed 3,500 with 1.2...