Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, January 05, 2007

"Chelan Wal-Mart built, but will it ever open?"

There is more on the Chelan Wal-Mart Supercenter situation in today's Seattle Times. Some notable quotes:
The dispute has also ignited a vigorous, sometimes bitter debate among neighbors in scenic Chelan, population 3,600, over the future of its character amid a changing economy. While the opponents are celebrating their rare victory as a David-vs.-Goliath battle to protect their way of life, a lot of people have been looking forward to all the amenities and low prices the world's largest retailer would offer.
The Wal-Mart issue clearly is about much more than zoning codes.

"I think it is going to divide the town," says Gene Kelly, owner of Kelly's, a hardware store that sells everything from shotguns to tricycles.
Just like Pullman. So who is causing this bitter division in Chelan?
..Defenders of Small Town Chelan, a group of locals and well-heeled Seattleites with second homes in town...
Yep, it's always the elitist outside agitators. For example:
For Laurel Jamtgaard, who heads the group that has managed to raise all of $15,000 for the cause, the issue is fundamentally about protecting the town's charm.

"It is just so out of scale for a small community," Jamtgaard said. "I'm totally empathetic to people trying to buy goods at lower prices and tired of driving to Wenatchee or Omak. But every small town doesn't have to have one of these stores. Part of living in a place like this is being further from that kind of convenience."
Screw the poor people. I want my "charm." These people make me sick.
Kevin Huff of Wenatchee was hired to work in the garden center, and has been busy helping to get the store ready for a grand opening he is certain will come.

If not in two weeks, he figures, then eventually.

"I'm not worried about it," Huff said.

"These things have a way of working out. Most people want the store."
Thank God for the the voice of the Common Man. We'll get out Supercenter too, in time. But we should never forget what the snobs of PARD who have done to this community.

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Neemund said...

I'd bet that there wouldn't be the same level of controversy if it was a Costco instead of a Wal-Mart.

Playin' Possum said...

So now the predators are down to eating 3,600 population towns... They're getting desperate - that's nowhere near enough people to support them, unless they run everyone else out of business.

Wal-Mart kills towns. Wal-mart impoverishes their employees. It seems like a good idea at first. It seemed like a good idea in my little town. Ten years later it's a disaster. In ten years, Chelan will bitterly regret allowing the beast to settle, but by then it will be too late - there will be no other options for them.

But then neocons don't care about the future... Just look at the monster they supported for President...

April E. Coggins said...

Possum: My gullibility factor is pretty low this morning. How about supplying some facts to go along with the large dose of rhetoric? Such as the name of a single town that Wal-Mart has impoverished or the identity of a single worker that Wal-Mart has held against their will?

sswanny said...

Good questions April. I've read Possum's posts in the past and they are generally well backed up. Especially the financial rants.

Possum does have some good things to say here. WalMart is known for putting smaller grocery stores out of business due to low prices. The Red Apple out toward Manson there might get hurt although it is run by a really nice hispanic family and is probably safe due in part to familial loyalty. You get my drift though. WalMart's low prices can push competitors out of the local market where day to day items are concerned.

Now the kicker; Chelan is a resort town AND a small town. A lot of the commerce is from small niche shops (my fav is the natural store). Since the commerce comes from a lot of smaller touristy stores WalMart will have less of an impact than they would in say suburban Bothell. WalMart caters, mostly, to staple items and items that are easy to get in quantity.

sswanny said...

I should have added that there will also be an influx of jobs (albeit low paying) to the area that will not be seasonal. The increase in tax revenue as people from all over the local region come to use the store. So there are upsides. Let's see ,?,? no job at all or a low paying steady job? I think I'd take the steady.

April E. Coggins said...

My little old town of Pullman, population 23,000, has two grocery stores, a Safeway and an IGA. We used to have several. There is not a Wal-Mart Supercenter within a reasonable distance from Pullman. What or who caused the other grocery stores to close, since it obviously it wasn't Wal-Mart?