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The great Walmart debate arrives

Ken Johnston

The great Walmart debate has arrived in the Rainy River area.
From the consumer’s point of view Walmart sounds like a dream come true. Falling prices, everyday low prices and plenty of selection.
From the small businesses point of view it is virtually a nightmare.
The huge buying power the retail giant has is a big advantage for it. It gives it the ability to buy huge quantities at bargain prices and sell them to the consumer at prices that sometimes are lower than what small businesses can buy them for at wholesale levels.
That draws people to Walmart which in turn means fewer people shop at home and that means eventually small town stores have to close up shop.
People already travel as far away as Winnipeg to try and save a dime or two, now they might only have to travel to Fort Frances.
But at what cost do those savings come?
Walmart will not be paying any taxes in Rainy River, Stratton or Emo. It likely will not be employing the hundreds of people small businesses do in the area.
It likely won’t be there donating to every event or cause that comes in the door like our small businesses do.
The money made at the big retailer leaves town for corporate headquarters.
The money made at our home town mom and pop operations stays at home.
While the debate seems simple to the consumer, the ramifications of it could be devastating to our future as communities in the Rainy River District.
–Until then,