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Old 11-25-2011, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Morris, MN
133 posts, read 553,532 times
Reputation: 120

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I live in a nice college town of 5200 in Western Minnesota. Life here is easy. Our community has an educated populace, an excellent hospital, some agribusiness, and a university. What we lack, however, is competitive shopping.

While many here on the forum decry the evils of big box retailing, our community overpays for groceries and clothing. Granted, the libertarian in me thinks that if I'm stupid to pay $4.75 a gallon for skim milk, so be it. In general, if the local grocery store wants to gouge me, I have no choice other than to travel an hour to the nearest community with more competition and retailing. My complaint is that our local retailers put pressure on the city leadership to keep competition out. That, I feel is wrong.

Having a protectorate economy doesn't seem to improve our downtown district. We've lost many of the mom and pop stores. Most everyone travels out of the county to the nearest shopping hub to "stock up."

We live without a Wal-Mart or large grocery store; are we any better off?
At what point are indepedent merchants taking advantage of their customers? Is it fair that merchants have enough clout to keep big box retailers out? By having Wal-Mart in your community, you don't even have to trade there to receive the effects of competition.
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:51 PM
 
5,685 posts, read 8,706,022 times
Reputation: 7847
I've lived quite a ways (Like you describe) From Wallmart and others, and I've lived across the street from a Wallmart.

When I lived across the street I'd find 'something' I needed most days.
When I had to drive... I stocked up and it wasn't a problem.

I'm about to move to where it's 25 miles to wallmart.

Yea, things are more expensive.

Other things (Like the cost of the property) are correspondingly cheaper.

It works out, with a better lifestyle (IMHO)
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 73,653,944 times
Reputation: 27598
I live 45 minutes away from big box stores. I do shopping every other week at the big box and use the local stores for anything in between.

It's all a matter of choices and what you are willing to live with.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:12 AM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
11,180 posts, read 14,823,372 times
Reputation: 25553
I doubt the smaller stores want to gouge you.
They probably realize their higher prices are going to cause many customers to drive long distances to get those cheaper prices at the big box stores anyway.
There probably isn't a lot they can do about it because they are too small to negotiate the best prices from their vendors.
They just don't have the same buying power as a Walmart, they don't get the same savings, and if they have to pay more for mdse it means their customers do too.
What keeps them in business is the convenience, those days when you'd rather go ahead and pay a higher price for the one or two little items you ran short on, instead of having to drive all the way to the big box store to pick up a few items.
If they allow big box stores in they lose that convenience factor and they go under pretty quick.
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,539,972 times
Reputation: 9580
We live in a small town (pop 145) and it is 40 miles to the nearest town where there is a "Main Street" shopping area. It is 2.5 hours to a town with a Wal-Mart.

Yes, some things are more expensive. But most of our 'local' Main Street shopowners not only are reasonably priced (it would cost us much more in gas to go to WalMart) but they do things like deliver large items for free, extend credit on just a handshake, special-order in products so that we don't have to pay shipping, do year-round layaway. They also stock more American-made and quality goods, and even cater to local craftspeople, especially those just starting businesses. They are involved in and concerned about their community, donate not only store items but their time and encourage their employees to do the same for town and county events. What's really great for us is that my DH does a lot of repair work for the local ranchers and businesspeople, and most of the items they have that are older you simply can't find parts for any more. The local shopowners will take the time to go back in the back and look. Two weeks ago one found a carbuerator for him - for a 1939 log-splitter! - sitting in the back on a dusty shelf. DH also trades work with the local hardware store for parts; they joke all the time about sending each other bills, but neither get around to it.

That sort of service and concern for their customers is quickly becoming a thing of the past, as everyone wants 'newer, cheaper, and right now' items.

Incidentally, in one of my previous lives, I was a department manager for WalMart. I am all too familiar with their ordering, hiring, employment, payment, and other practices. One of the main reasons WalMart had to stop doing layaways was that they would put the Christmas layaways in locked containers in the back of the store - and many layaway containers (not just in our store; it was endemic) were being robbed by not only people who broke in to them, but by employees. Three of our assistant store managers were caught (finally, after many specious accusations against employees - no not me) robbing high-end items like rifles, TVs, and stereo equipment from the containers. A small store with family and long-time employees, who share a goal of making the business succeed and everyone including their community profiting, does not have those problems.

Last edited by SCGranny; 11-26-2011 at 11:24 AM..
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,490 posts, read 52,125,327 times
Reputation: 24647
I live in a yuppified town with several big box stores. I still buy most of my hardware and garden supplies at the small local store.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,200 posts, read 17,058,364 times
Reputation: 12393
I live in a town of 40 people located in a county with a population of less than 10,000. We've got a bar & grill, a repair shop that sells chainsaws, and a hunting lodge. To buy groceries, household items, hardware, etc. requires a drive of 8 miles to either a town of 400 people or a town of 1000 people.

As you could probably guess, jobs are few and far between, so I commute 30 miles to a community of around 10,000 to work. That town does have a Wal Mart and a chain grocery store so I could conveniently do my shopping there. But I have compared prices and found that the price difference is so minute that I prefer to shop in my home county.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Columbia, California
6,663 posts, read 26,714,988 times
Reputation: 5101
I live in a small town of a few hundred. Town of a few thousand a few miles away.
The local businesses complained when a wal mart moved in, cried for the residents to support them. Andy's hardware wanted $20 for a $2 box of drywall mud. I drove 50 miles to buy one in a home depot.
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,200 posts, read 17,058,364 times
Reputation: 12393
Quote:
Originally Posted by ferretkona View Post
I live in a small town of a few hundred. Town of a few thousand a few miles away.
The local businesses complained when a wal mart moved in, cried for the residents to support them. Andy's hardware wanted $20 for a $2 box of drywall mud. I drove 50 miles to buy one in a home depot.
That's probably why Andy's went out of business.

But isn't there a Lowe's within a few blocks of Andy's? Plus a half-dozen other hardware stores/lumber yards in the same town? Given all that, I have to believe you could have bought drywall mud for less than $20 without making a 100-mile round trip. Methinks there's more to this story.
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,490 posts, read 52,125,327 times
Reputation: 24647
With almost everything available through Internet stores I would not lack for anything so long as UPS knew where I lived. Retail has always been a tough business and has become even tougher.
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