Margo just sent me this outstanding animated map that displays the viral growth of Walmart across the US from 1962 to 2007.
When Walmart threatened to come to my little New Hampshire town, I was adamant that we block the request because I feared for the local businesses and didn’t want a commercial “strip” with stop lights and all that put up (any more than there already was) to replace the farmland that was there. But they built it anyway and caused several Main Street local businesses to shut their doors after generations of family ownership. The farmland (which we will need again someday!) is now being sold off and developed with other chain stores. Beautiful farm houses have been bulldozed to make way for “progress” in the form of parking lots and flat-roofed strip malls. What once was fertile, beautiful farmland is slowly disintegrating into depressing and unsustainable urban blight. But hey! I can buy a blender and shampoo at 11pm!
The Walmart ecosystem is ugly and detrimental to local economies and attitudes. I like to think of it as a money funnel—collecting community money and siphoning it directly out of town.
Has your town experienced a similar transformation with the coming of Walmart?
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