Wal-Mart Expansion Concerns Voiced

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Posted by Annie in Tuolumne County on February 11, 2010

A public hearing was held Monday evening regarding Wal-Mart’s expansion plans at their Sonora location. Many who attended the hearing expressed their legitimate concerns over the impact such an expansion will have on our entire community.

Walt Cook covered the hearing for The Union Democrat.

Speakers at the Sonora Planning Commission hearing accused the Arkansas-based retailer of, among other things, killing mom-and-pop shops and smaller regional chain stores, contributing to blight and increasing the United States’ trade deficit with China.

Wal-Mart’s expansion plans for the Sonora store include keeping it open around the clock and increasing its retail space from 130,166 to 158,532 square-feet to accommodate a full-service grocery section. The local store currently sells limited groceries.

Tuolumne county has lost a great many stores, restaurants and other businesses, due to the failing economy. We should all be concerned about the future of not only Sonora businesses but others in Tuolumne county as well that could feel the effects of the planned expansion.

Since Mervyn’s and Gottschalks have gone out of business, many families are forced to either shop for apparel at Wal-Mart, shop at Ross or drive to Oakdale. If you are looking for cheap, disposable clothing, Wal-Mart is a perfect option. Some of us prefer to buy well-fitting clothing, not made by sweatshop workers.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like shopping at Ross but their inventory fluctuates so widely, you can never count on finding certain items there. It’s hit or miss.

Our family has been shopping as much as possible at the Twain Harte Market, we love the selection, the people are friendly and work hard to meet the needs of their customers. The meat department is the finest to be found anywhere in the area. I am terrified that a Super-Wal-Mart store will put them out of business.

If you want to be able to decide where to shop and not be limited to Wal-Mart’s low cost, low quality, low selection — just stay home. If you are concerned about the challenges facing our community, please attend the next hearing and voice your own concerns.

Once the Wal-Mart expansion is complete, there is no going back. It will impact many businesses in Tuolumne County.

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