Small Businesses In Wake Forest Fighting To Keep Wal-Mart Out Of Town
Posted November 12, 2002 9:55 a.m. EST
WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Wal-Mart wants to open a store in Wake Forest, but some local businesses claim that is not the growth they want.
The potential site for Wake Forest's first Wal-Mart sits between Capital Boulevard and U.S. Highway 1A next to the Weavexx plant. Many towns say getting a Wal-Mart puts them on the map, but it is not the map feature some here are looking for.
"Our prices are set, so we can survive and make a profit as a small family business and those big corporations, they draw the money to them, then they send it out of town. It doesn't stay in our community, so it just makes it harder for us to survive," said Buddy Willis, owner of Willis' B&W Hardware.
Willis' store is one of many small, family-owned shops that make up Wake Forest's downtown. Some of those family-owned shops are fighting to keep Wal-Mart out. A book store in town even has a title on the shelves that tells where it stands, "How to Defend Your Main Street Against Chain Stores, and Why it Matters."
A developer is also planning big changes for Wake Forest. He wants to turn an old street sweeper plant into an entertainment mall. Some people believe these changes would be good for the town.
"The critics of businesses like Wal-Mart fail to realize the benefit to the tax base of adding a large commercial developer like that because it's not just Wal-Mart," said Gary Lyons of AIM Realty Advisors. "It's about all those other things that will take place around that Wal-Mart store."
Wal-Mart submitted plans to the Wake Forest Planning Commission. If those plans are approved, construction could begin next year.