Big stores steal a win

Published: Friday, August 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 1, 2003 at 12:22 a.m.

This is a response to Cadmus McLarty's letter (July 18). McLarty continues to believe that mom-and-pop stores are somehow better than Wal-Mart.

The opposite is true simply because it is a bigger company with which these stores can't compete. The local mom-and-pop stores are lucky if they stay in business for more than a couple of years.

After having worked for Wal-Mart and several area stores, I can tell you from first-hand experience which of the two employers is better - and it's not mom-and-pop stores.

McLarty apparently doesn't realize that you are much more likely to find your low-wage/no-wage jobs with no benefits at these local stores. Why? Because most of them are too small to pay decent wages with benefits, unlike Wal-Mart.

McLarty also is very vague when he describes what type of clean, blue-collar industries he would like to come here.

Most industries would not be able to meet the environmental standards set forth by Gainesville and Alachua County and a certain local group of people. That's why many large companies avoid this area and go to other places that have a more business-friendly environment.

It also is this same reason why most people can't find a decent-paying job here and have to go to places like Jacksonville, Tampa, Atlanta, Orlando, etc.

This area has a history of keeping large employers from moving here and/or making it difficult for big companies that already are here from expanding. Just ask IBM and the movie theater company that wanted to move into the old Pic 'N' Save plaza a couple of years ago.

McLarty says that the NW 53rd Avenue location already is zoned for 29 acres of development. If that's the case, then Wal-Mart could easily build there. For example, the Lake City super center actually is smaller than 29 acres.

McLarty and others, including The Sun, continue to ignore another fact that Wal-Mart already has stated numerous times. If they can't build at the 53rd Street location, then they will move elsewhere and the 13th Street store still will close.

This is going to happen no matter how the city votes on the issue, and then you will still have the mass vacancy along that area of 13th Street, which McLarty appears to be trying to avoid.

We need more jobs here and this area needs to become more friendly toward large employers. Everyone can't work at UF, Shands or mom-and-pop stores.

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