Friday, June 16, 2006

Wal-Mart Store Closes — Viewed as Local Disaster

From the Shreveport Times.
HOMER — Town and parish officials are already sending up red flags for what appears to be a devastating blow to the local economy: the announced closure of Homer’s Wal-Mart store July 1.

The news, though the topic of town talk for weeks, caught area leaders by surprise Thursday. Letters signed by Regional General Manager Bob Erickson were posted on the store’s doors notifying customers of the plans to cease operations this summer.

Erickson calls the closure a tough decision. “However, we have realized that it no longer makes sense for our business to continue to operate at this location,” his letter states.

Forty-two percent of the town of Homer’s taxable income comes from Wal-Mart, Claiborne Chamber of Commerce President J.T. Taylor said Friday. The Claiborne Parish School Board, which just shaved $1 million from its budget because of increased expenses, gets about 14 percent of its tax money from the store.

“It’s a real blow to the town,” said Taylor, who during the interview was in a meeting with Mayor Huey Dean. “We’re very concerned.”
Of course, if a Wal-Mart store is as evil as the activists say, shouldn’t this Louisiana town be saying “good riddance?”

Maybe the town of Homer doesn’t have a lot of leftist activists. Maybe they evaluate the store in terms of costs and benefits, rather than as a symbol in the Culture Wars.

A spokeswoman at Homer City Hall tells us that there is no Starbucks in Homer, which supports our theory. She observes “We’re going to miss our Wal-Mart.”


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