The Walmart Effect

walmart.gif It’s funny. Many people usually despise Walmart. I’m not exactly sure why. Actually, I understand why, but there’s a totally flip end to it. Most suburbia types dislike Walmart due to the fact that the cheap prices and warehouse look not only fits poorly with some neighborhoods that are going for some sort of look, but it sometimes brings some individuals that aren’t as welcome to the area.
Yet, not so in more rural areas. In fact, there is this tremendous perspective at what I like to call: The Walmart Effect. It’s interesting to note that of two areas I’ve seen currently, both areas had pretty much nothing but a few scattered mom and pop shops before Walmart. But after the giant came bustling in, amazingly enough there were shops building up to the Walmart, and away from the Walmart. It was like the perfect catalyst for small business growth in a small town community. A perfect example of this is down Hwy 150 towards the Davidson County line. Over there, still in Forsyth County, there happens to be a newly built super Walmart. And when I mean, super, it’s pretty ridiculously super. It’s probably the largest building complex I’ve ever been in for a Walmart, and it’s larger than most Sam’s Clubs.
Here’s the point. Four to five years ago, there was hardly anything down that side. Nothing. I had to work driving up and down Hwy 150 testing cellular coverage and there was but a few new housing developments over that way. These days, everything has filled in pretty much up to the Walmart, and if it’s still open land, there’s opportunity galore to jump in there. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the number two super store (Target) will have new construction up and running over there. It seems that they always have competition a few miles down the road from each other. Business just bustles with Walmart.
Five years from now, I predict that most of the open land (for sale) will probably have new business construction on it and that place will be hopping as much as any of the up-and-coming shopping areas within Winston-Salem.
That’s the power of Walmart. Spurring economic growth without even meaning to do so. So when someone tells me the evils of Walmart, I just smile and remember how many little towns and non-growing areas it’s helped bring from absolute nothing to areas rich with business opportunities that would probably not exist without the initial investment by the corporate giant. That’s the Walmart Effect for you.