Meant to blog about this yesterday. Let’s do it now instead.
I don’t want all our fine downtown merchants to think less of me, or think that I think less of them, but my first thought when I heard we might have a Walmart (although a little one) on Assembly Street was to be very pleased.
Actually, it was my second thought. My first was to lament the loss of the ballpark, and to once again feel great regret that when USC was building its superlative venue down by the river, then didn’t do a deal to share it with the AAA team out of Jackson, TN, that really wanted to come here. And then to rend my garments at the thought that there will be NO professional or semipro ball in our capital city for the foreseeable future.
But my second thought was that it would be awesome to be able to get the items that I always save up to buy at Walmart during the working day when I need them. I’m talking little things, like if my allergies act up, I can get some of those little, generic antihistamine/decongestant pills that are so much cheaper there. Now, I have to plan trips to Walmart for weekends or at the end of a long, hard day, on my way home. I therefore loved the idea of the convenience.
But now downtown merchants are up in arms:
Neighbors, environmentalists and owners of small businesses aired their worries Tuesday about the possibility that Capital City Stadium could be converted into downtown Columbia’s first Wal-Mart.
A cadre of detractors complained to a City Council committee Tuesday that allowing the international retail giant into the city would destroy mom-and-pop shops, threaten to increase water pollution in tributaries that feed the already polluted Congaree River and that the project was done in a hush-hush manner by City Council.
“Small business owners are in a panic,” said Leslie Minerd, owner of Five Points retail shop Hip Wa Zee. “A big-box store will help destroy the diversity we have in Columbia. And we don’t have a lot of diversity.”…
And that gets me thinking about the cost of my convenience to friends and neighbors. I haven’t reached any conclusions.
What are y’all’s thoughts?