We're not the only Crescent City talking Wal-Mart

June 11, 2008 12:00 am

By Kelley Atherton

On the heels of Del Norters debating whether Wal-Mart should expand to a Supercenter, Crescent City, Fla., is having a similar debate about the big-box store.

Two Crescent Cities: both water-front towns, both economically depressed and both pondering Wal-Mart plans.

Some people in the Crescent City on the East Coast are worried about Wal-Mart destroying their natural habitat and small-town charm, but supporters note the lack of jobs and need for development, just like in our Crescent City.

Small towns across the country are grappling with whether big-box stores need to stay in big cities.

A Supercenter in Del Norte would bring more jobs with, as Wal-Mart claims, above-minimum-wage pay and benefits. The new store might also look better than the current store, and other businesses tend to build up around Wal-Mart. It also provides discount prices for a low-income area.

On the other hand, a Supercenter might make it harder for small businesses to stay afloat, damaging the uniqueness and culture of Del Norte.

Crescent City, Fla., is different because it's debating whether to even allow construction of a Wal-Mart. The store in Del Norte has already been here for years.

However, the sheer fact that two towns with the same name on opposite coasts are both dealing with Wal-Mart on their turf is indicative of how the chain continues to expand into rural America.

Town after town is weighing the pros and cons of Wal-Mart. It has been rejected before, but more often its plans to build are approved.

Big box stores will continue to be an issue for Anytown, USA. Crescent City, Calif., will be dealing with a major enlargement of the current store and Crescent City, Fla., will have to decide whether to even let the chain in.

Then so will another town and then another.

Someone needs to figure out whether Wal-Mart is good or bad for small-town economies.