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Letters To The Editor – May 1, 2014

Be Careful When You Decide Where Other People Shop


Dear Editor:
Who is the enemy?
  Reading the opposition’s ad on the back page of last week’s Herald made me think of my first experience with Walmart. It was 1979 when my company sent me to visit one of our coal loading facilities in Kentucky. As I drove from the airport through several small coal towns I saw my first Walmart and I went in to look around.
    I saw a big sign above the blue jeans and shirts saying UNION MADE. As I looked, the manager asked me if he could help. I explained why I was in town. My last trip was in August of 1981. Home interest rates had spiraled to 20 percent and the economy in the dump.
    As I entered the store I noticed the UNION MADE sign was not there. I asked the manager what had happened. He said the miners did not buy them and Walmart had to supply  what would sell. I wondered—these are union miners, what gives?
    I told him my mother was arrested and put in jail while walking the picket line at Rice Stix here in Water Valley.
    He told me he was one of 10 kids and was the first male not to work in the mines. Most miners had large families and at school time could not afford to pay one or two dollars more per item to cloth their family. We change to meet our customers needs. I left that store with a different point of view.
    Skip forward to the 90s and some groups were howling that Walmart drove the garment business over to Mexico. Not true. I know who drove the garment business to Mexico. Look in the mirror and you will see one, look at me and you will see another. You and I drove the garment business to Mexico (and later to other places) by not supporting our own workers. This is true in most cases. LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND YOU WILL SEE THE ENEMY. It hurts, does it not? It is happening again in Water Valley when we do not support our local businesses.
  We vote with our pocket books by choosing what we buy. Well-run businesses adapt to the  vote or they disappear.
    Walmart is a well-run business. I look at the labels in my clothes (none bought at Walmart) and what do I find? Hager made in Mexico, Timberline made in India and Izod made in Cambodia. These brands are not sold in Walmart. I wonder how Walmart forced them overseas? Walmart does not sell the brands a lot of us, who can afford to shop somewhere else, will buy. There are a lot of people that can not afford to shop where I do. Walmart services them with decent quality items that they can afford. Who else does? Be careful when you decide where other people can shop—especially those who lack your economic means.
  Livability.com produces a list of the “Top Ten Best Small Towns.” For 2013 the list is 1) Dickerson, ND, 2) Oxford, MS, 3) Rock Springs, WY, 4) Oak Harbor, WA, 5) Brookings, SD, 6) Los Alamos, NM, 7) Alexandria, MN, 8) Traverse City, MI, 9) West Plains, MO, 10) Cambridge, MD. These towns range in size from 12,118 (West Plains) to 24,151 (Rock Springs). Most sites consider any town under 50,000 to be small, however, I  used 30,000 or less. Except Los Alamos, all of these towns have a Walmart and all have a positive growth rate.
  Smalltowngems.com has some tough requirements to be a small town gem. In Mississippi, Canton, Corinth, Holly Springs, Kosciusko, Oxford, and Vicksburg made the Approved Towns. Water Valley made the  list of Disqualifed Towns. All of the Approved Towns have a Walmart. I do not believe any of these towns are dying. They all have to have a thriving historic district to be approved.
  Here are towns that did not get the memo that said “small businesses can not survive against Walmart.” I believe Water Valley’s best days are ahead and I believe Main Street will play a large role. This tempest in a teapot has just about blown out.
  God bless America.
  God bless Water Valley.
  /s/Jerry Daum

Walmart Would Be Great For The Community


Dear Editor:
  I think it would be “great” to have Walmart here. I have lived in and around Water Valley all my life. I like shopping at Walmart. However, rarely get to go because I have reached the age where I don’t want to drive to Oxford. I am sure there are others who feel the same way. Thought you all wanted us to shop at home, but guess not.
  “Art” is pretty, if you can afford it. When beer was voted in it was so Water Valley could keep the taxes. So go on folks, we need something to help our town. Think on Walmart and add a few more jobs.
  Keep all of this in your prayers.
  A concerned citizen
  /s/Merle Bolen

Walmart: A Convenience For Many, But Also A Financial Disaster For Some Friends And Neighbors


Dear Editor:
  Most of the Letters to the Editor have good-sounding points concerning the writer’s own opinion. However, only time will tell who’s right and the nationwide experience with Walmart is that, invariably, many local small businesses will be crushed by the “win at all cost” competition Walmart brings in.
    Cinda Browning’s letter alone should be enough to cast a pall over bringing in the “survival of the fittest, biggest, wealthiest corporation” in the country. Sure, it will be a convenience for many, but it’s going to be a financial disaster for many of our friends and neighbors who eke out a living running their own small businesses.
  If it comes in, these people who though it a good thing, will look back and say they didn’t think “this would happen!” This, according to Ms. Browning: “Our downtown is dying and numerous store fronts sit empty in this once thriving railroad town. We have a Walmart here… two pharmacies have closed. Two hardware stores have also closed. Numerous small gift shops, a Hallmark store, and a paint store have all closed.
  “The business owners cite Walmart and Lowes as the main contributing factors that caused their closing.”
  How much more of a prophetic description (and one that has been repeated nationwide) does Water Valley need to see what’s going to happen!
  Tourists and people who grew up here love Water Valley as it is now. A charming little Victorian town that offers an “Old Timey” life style with its casual turn toward arts and crafts, but maintaining the Victorian look and atmosphere.
  A Water Valley Walmart will not bring in $13 to $14 hourly wages—more likely minimum wages is what will be paid.
  Jerry Daum mentioned the moving of the railroad shops to Paducah in the late 20s. When I was young, in the late 40s and early 50s, if you went to the barber shop or coffee shop groups of old guys would always be sitting around bemoaning the days “before the shops left”.     Do we want our kids and grandkids down the road, five, 10, 20 years from now, having to listen to: You should have seen Water Valley before Walmart came in?
   By the way, why was the shops leaving such a sad memory for Water Vallians who lived through it? The population dropped from about 20,000 to 3,000, and it happened fast when the jobs left!

/s/Joe Lowe
473-7538

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