I hope if and when this new WalMart store is approved, the people of Florence will remember how the council voted or abstained from voting. While reading an article in the TimesFaily yesterday, James Barnhart said, “My personal feelings would get in the way,” “I’d rather not talk about it.” In an interview with the TimesFaily, Barnhart said he is trying to be fair with everyone by not voting on the issues, which would include rezoning and annexation. Grow a pair Mr Barnhart! By him stating he’d rather not talk about it is skirting the issue. The people in your district don’t want a cop out, they want you to vote. The people whose businesses will be affected by competition from WalMart want you to protect them and their livelihood. You are a sad example of a city councilman. And then we have Andy Betterton. In the same article Mr Betterton says “Just because you are against Walmart will carry very little weight with me”. Which means the people who have mom and pop stores carry no weight with him. They mean nothing to Mr Betterton. The people who voted him in mean very little. That is arrogance at its best ladies and gentlemen. He claims traffic is the main issue with him. While it is going to be a problem, the main concern should be locally owned businesses that will suffer in sales due to the new WalMart. I’ve heard the argument that, it will bring in new customers for the existing local stores. That’s crap. People will drive by those stores to shop at WallyWorld. No, not all. But the vast majority will go to WalMart instead of shopping Big Star and some of the locally operated pharmacies in Petersville and even stores in North Florence.
Also in the same article Betterton pointed out that the Florence WalMart near the intersection of Cox Creek Parkway and U.S. 72 generates about $110 million in sales annually.
“Do you know what that means for sales taxes?” he asked.
It is all about the money and nothing about people. Local people who have invested into their businesses, The mom and pops in that area have been sold out.
When this new WalMart is approved, remember shop the mom and pops. Keep local business alive and well in that area. And remember too, there will come and election day.