When Small Towns And Big Boxes Meet

Planning for big box retail in small towns is a balancing act, say town managers.

"The wave of national controversy regarding big-box retailers has been around for decades. In the Blue Ridge Region's small towns, the saga continues. Big box retailers like Wal-Mart, K Mart, Lowe's, Home Depot and Target started evolving in 1962. Using similar strategies, the discount merchandisers set out on a relentless campaign for our retail dollars. And today, despite the plethora of reasons not to, consumers continue to swarm over the low prices and convenience."

"Lynchburg City Manager Kimball Payne says that in the six years he's been in office, the city of 68,000 residents has successfully co-existed with big boxes like Wal-Mart in the city limits. And, he says, Lynchburg may be getting another one soon, since the Hill City is a commercial center serving nearly 200,000 consumers. Payne is a proponent of local land-use decisions. He says it often involves balancing three primary interests: the community and how it wants to define itself, private property rights and the market."

Full Story: Big boxes in small towns

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