Wal-Mart will open its doors here in Fort Frances tomorrow at 8 a.m.—an event eagerly-awaited by many and dreaded by a whole lot of others.
Like everything else in life, there are two sides to every story, pros and cons, ups and downs, benefits and setbacks. And in precious few other cases are the sides so polarized than with the arrival of Wal-Mart into a community.
There are the nay-sayers, of course, who fear Wal-Mart will wipe out most other small businesses in town. The truth is, many local merchants will face challenges ahead in the wake of this new competition—and some may not survive.
On the other hand, many already have adapted to the coming of Wal-Mart by expanding their hours, offering new products or services, lowering prices, eyeing an expansion, or honing their particular niche in the marketplace.
The opening just last week of “Nirvana,” a state-of-the-art salon and spa on Scott Street by local businessman Mike Tullio, is a perfect example.
As well, for those who look at the bright side of things, Wal-Mart’s arrival means jobs for more than 150 “associates” as well as a new source of tax revenue for the town. Equally important, it indicates confidence in the local economy—which may prompt other large businesses to set up shop here.
From a corporate citizen point of view, the new store plans to make monetary donations to several local charities, including the Valley Diabetes Education Centre, “Community Chest,” and Friends of Animals, in conjunction with tomorrow’s grand opening.
Only time will tell what the true impact Wal-Mart will have on Fort Frances. But one thing is certain: we’re far better off welcoming its arrival, and building positives from that, than to be running around saying that the sky is falling.