Tuesday, June 15, 2004

A Downtown WalMart?!

Dear Editor,

With all the terrible issues on our national table, it’s awfully hard to get “up in arms” about a local one, but this one is far too important to ignore. Last week, the Glens Falls Economic Development Officer was interviewed by the Post-Star. Jim Martin is a regular customer of mine and I like him. In this article, he really surprised me by talking about trying to “land” a mini-Walmart for Hometown, USA. He reassured us that it’s not a full-sized one (apparently, the smaller ones only run about 60,000 sq. ft. or so).

As a Glens Falls business owner, I can only hope that he was pulling our leg. A huge store full of cheap consumables and minimum wage jobs is NOT what we need in downtown Glens Falls. What kind of a statement is that to make?

“Come to downtown Glens Falls! Eat at Aimie’s, Glen Street Bistro, the Siam-Thai Restaurant, the Mikado, Rock Hill Café or Samantha’s Pantry. Come see Cooper’s Cave Ale Company and Davidson Brother’s Brewpub. Check out the new Wood Theater and the world-class Hyde Collection. See a great hockey, baseball or basketball game. Go to Scoville’s, Glens Falls Guitar or Mommi and Me. See the quality wares our merchants purvey? Enjoy our beautiful library and our wonderful parks. Oh, and I almost forgot. If you need a razor that vibrates while you shave or a box of Ding-Dongs at half-price, just stop by our new Wal-Mart. See it? It’s that huge building over there that’s blocking out the sun. Yeah, right next to that three-story parking garage we had to build for its employees and customers. Neat, huh?”

If we’re serious about revitalizing downtown, we need more small business. Small business attracts quality-conscious customers and, in general, creates better jobs. Wal-Mart does not, and we all know this. The only reason to bring in such a retailer would be to justify the cursed parking garage and enrich the developer of said project at the taxpayers’ expense.
Mark Levack already did the math for us. He showed the city how to create many dozens of additional parking spaces, cheaply and simply, by re-painting the lines on the streets. Please, for our children’s sakes, let’s use some good, old-fashioned horse sense in rebuilding their downtown. Tell Jim and the Mayor that we don’t want (or need) a Wal-Mart.

Matt Funiciello

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