August 19, 2007
As more Wal-Mart Supercenters dot the local landcape, we look at the facts behind the worries
By DEREK L. KINNER
DAYTONA BEACH -- Two pieces of land border residential neighborhoods. They are lush with vegetation, a few miles apart on Nova Road.
If Wal-Mart has its way, both will host Supercenters within the next couple of years.
And after they're built, anyone driving south on Nova Road from Madison Avenue in Daytona Beach, then into Port Orange and west on Dunlawton Avenue, will pass four Supercenters in eight miles.
Emotions are running high in Daytona Beach and Port Orange, where the new stores are planned. Some people welcome them with open arms, saying Wal-Mart will provide convenient shopping and inexpensive pharmaceutical drugs.
But opponents say the vegetation will be history, as will the quiet, dark nights, the light traffic, the relatively low amount of crime and many of the small businesses nearby.
The battle has played itself out time and again across the nation, even across the globe.
But what is the truth behind the emotion?
There have been numerous studies, by both sides and by groups who claim no bias.
The answers lie somewhere in between the fear and support, the studies suggest. Some new Wal-Marts have brought major economic problems. Others have led to economic booms that even staunch opponents conceded helped their communities.
It's all about location, the studies say. Businesses in smaller towns of less than 20,000 tend to be affected more negatively by new Wal-Marts than businesses in larger cities.
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