A big-box mega-retailer should not be built in Brentwood right now, and I think that building one is not in our city’s best interest.
My family has shopped at Antioch’s Walmart perhaps three times in the past 12 years. We choose to support local business owners instead, because they are far more effective at reinvesting local dollars in our local economy.
Choosing Walmart, for example, over locally owned businesses in our downtown area is far from spending our dollars “locally” and supporting our community. If a new Walmart is built just 4.6 miles from an already existing Walmart, it would be an investment in Bentonville, Ark., headquarters of the multinational mega-retail giant. In addition to Walmart, we also have Costco and Target stores in our area, all within a few miles of each other. I see redundancy here.
Big-box retailers such as Walmart have no interest in the success of our city, except to siphon the wealth back to their corporate headquarters out of state. They treat their employees like the cheap goods they sell: the more there are (now at over 2 million), the cheaper the cost of employing them. Since they pay even lower wages than fast food chains, most of their employees will never be able to escape a life of financial hardship.
Sure, a big box retailer like Walmart would provide scores of low-wage jobs to distribute cheap tube socks and low-end plastic goods from overseas. This is not a refreshing or positive solution to the current state of affairs.
Will a big-box store in Brentwood fill the already vacant commercial space in our city, some of which has been vacant for years? Will Walmart help fill Brentwood’s vacant, abandoned and foreclosed homes? Will Walmart make Brentwood a destination or will it make our city just another city with cheap tube socks?
Regardless of which mega-retailer is built, I won’t shop there. I won’t turn my back on downtown and Brentwood Boulevard businesses, and will instead reinforce my commitment to supporting locally owned business. As a community, we should focus on filling the abundance of vacant commercial and residential areas of our city before giving up hope and succumbing to a cinderblock behemoth.
Spencer Holmes, Brentwood