May 2, 2005

New Supercenter in Rio Rancho

Wal-Mart's version of what happens when a new supercenter opens is part of the story:

Randale refuted claims that Wal-Mart would hurt business in Rio Rancho.

"A new supercenter generally attracts commerce (for other businesses). It keeps the community shopping locally," Randale said. "It's not uncommon; there are a lot of franchises and local businesses that like to locate near Walmart."

Will "business" will be hurt? That's a senseless question -- a generalization that ignores the very changes that will come about when a Supercenter arrives. I do not see how one can "refute" a senseless question.

Surely, some businesses will be hurt; others will prosper. Grocery stores will have to compete on price or better service and selection. Many smaller stores will seek to locate (or relocate) near the Supercenter.

Lively downtowns will have to be reconfigured, since they are no longer the general merchandise center of areas. If businessmen aren't obstinate, downtowns can become vital spaces. But tf they are obstinate, then reconfiguration will take a longer time...

I don't know any examples of WM's effect on already dead downtowns...

(Another question is whether the sales or property tax base of a city or county will be hurt; this is not a concern about the health of commerce; it's a concern with how much can be sucked out of commerce.)

Posted by Kevin on May, 2 2005 at 09:14 PM