Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Nowata, Oklahoma and Wal-Mart

A small town of 4,000 people who were delighted when Wal-Mart opened a store in 1982. Within three years of Wal-Mart's opening, 18 existing businesses closed their doors.

But that isn't the bad news. In 1994 Wal-Mart closed the Nowata store to move into a supercenter 25 miles away.
(Shipley) said when Wal-Mart left, the downtown was literally boarded up and the citizens were left without local options for shopping other than driving 25 miles away to the Supercenter.
“The question you need to ask Wal-Mart is ‘How long do you intend to stay?’” said Shipley.

“I think I am up here to show how Wal-Mart devastated Nowata when it left,” she said. “Actually it devastated when it came in. Within 1 1/2 years, half the businesses [of the 18] were closed; within three years they were all closed.”

“I can tell you this, they had no sympathy for our town for the citizens who lived there,” she said.
More Here.


Anonymous said...

What is this "Buds", a subsidiary of this what towns like saranac lake have to look forward to? When Walmart closes, after closing other local businesses, and leaves, we might get the dregs of the cheap products that were damaged and then repaired and resold? Is this all saranac lake residents deserve?

Anonymous said...

A Sunday, March 5, 1995 article in the New York Times business section tells the story of Nowata, Oklahoma. It was not a pretty story. The article is titled "When Wal-Mart Pulls Out, What's Left?"
Wal-Mart closed their Nowata store to open up a supercenter in Bartlesville, about 30 miles away according to the article. The city manager, Nancy Shipley said the loss of Nowata's 3 percent tax on its biggest business's sales has driven this years $1.2 million municipal budget into the red by some $80,000. To cope Shipley is closing the city hall an hour early each day. She has called off plans to resurface crumbling roads and to put a new roof on the city's leaky shelter. She has laid off her city office receptionist, the street foreman and the dump's part-time supervisor. Water and sewer taxes have been raised 32 percent. Shipley says she expects to ask the five city commissioners for a $5 monthly tax on homeowners for protection. Last month she wrote David Glas, then CEO of Wal-Mart begging him to do something for our city. I don't image Glass even saw her letter. Some secretary probably threw it away.
A school yard chant these days is
"Wal-Mart fall apart."
In 1995 at the public hearing in Lake Placid, Wal-Mart said they have only closed around 10 stores.
A Bud's Warehouse went into the empty Wal-Mart, but Bud's only sold discontinued and irregular stuff. Things nobody really wanted. One lady said "Bud's ain't got nothing."
Wal-Mart has 350 empty or dark stores in the U.S. They call it "relocation" but an empty store is an empty store. Wal-Mart supporters feel Wal-Mart will be here forever. They will never leave. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Perhaps we should write our own article. Let's title it "When Wal-Mart pulls out of Saranac Lake, What's Left?"

Anonymous said...

For those who want to know Bud was Sam Walton's younger brother. I don't know of anyplace else besides Nowata, Oklahoma that got a Bud's Warehouse or not. Somehow I suspect the idea of a Bud's Warehouse fizzled and they are not around anymore. At any rate the one in Notawa sold discontinued and irregular stuff. Basically it was stuff no one really wanted.
In the New York Times article, Bud's only employed 1 person, and the parking lot rarely held more than 20 cars. Those living in Nowata had to drive 30 miles for common stuff. But when they got there, they had much more choices than just Wal-Mart. Many Nowata residents vowed they would never set foot in the supercenter in Bartlesville.
Wal-Mart may tell you they will stick around forever--but don't you believe it for a minute. They don't hesitate to close stores. Even though they call it
"relocation"--an empty store is still an empty store is still an empty store. Oh-they call it
"dark" stores--but the store is still empty. Don't be fooled. Wal-Mart only sticks around when it's good for them. They could care less about anything other than their stockholders.