The small town of Monkey Creek, Nevada, thought its days were numbered when Wal-Mart officials announced the upcoming closure of its area retail outlet. The retail megastore accounts for nearly one-fourth the town's area, and provides more than 75% of its tax revenue. Wal-Mart moving out meant the sure demise of the local economy.
"It's the lifeblood of our city. I can't imagine what life would be like without Wal-Mart," said Monkey Creek Mayor Michael Bergbloom. "It would have been so much more than 275,000 empty square feet."
So town officials found a solution: replace the old Wal-Mart with a new one.
"We're calling it 'non-adaptive reuse'", said Bergbloom, who recently replaced the store's "Going Out of Business" sign with one reading "Going Into Business".
As Wal-Marts close shop across the country, other cities are looking to Monkey Creek for guidance in dealing with these large empty spaces.
"It's really ingenious what they're doing," said Mayor Chip Stanwell of Lowtide, Arizona, another town facing a pending big box closure. "A Wal-Mart! Of course! It's the perfect fit."