March 4, 2014
There was a chance that residents of northwestern Bladen County would have a third, and far closer, choice when it came to deciding on a destination to shop at Walmart.
Face it, love ‘em or hate ‘em, most of us find ourselves shopping at the retail giant for one reason or another.
Bladen County residents generally have two Walmarts to patronize — the 24-hour supercenter in Lumberton or the smaller version in Elizabethtown. But Walmart execs were hoping to change that by adding a smaller version to a location in St. Pauls.
But the sell has been a difficult one.
The retail giant does have plenty to offer on the positiver side of the ledger:
— It has promised 90 new jobs for the town, with most of them paying a decent-if-not-great wage of $12 an hour and many of them would pay more
— The town would receive more than $12,000 a year in property taxes, not sufficient to lower the tax rate but enough to provide some revenue for municipal projects that are necessary but too costly.
— Walmart would offer residents discounted prices that would free up money to be spent elsewhere.
— And finally, Walmart is well-known for its benevolence and making significant donations to worthy local nonprofits.
But local residents aren’t sold, and they recently made that known to the town fathers, who could vote on Walmart’s request for permits soon.
Those in opposition have tossed out all the usual concerns — traffic, the attack on smaller businesses, etc. And sadly, most came to the table with a typical NIMBY (not in my back yard) attitude, even when Walmart execs offered a meet-and-greet session with residents … few of whom bothered to show up.
We find it disappointing that more St. Pauls residents didn’t bother to get the other side of the story. It’s one thing to oppose the location of a Walmart grocery store in St. Pauls, but it’s something else to take an unrelenting posture that is based on incomplete information.