Last week I read an article on the Star Tribune’s website about Wal-Mart’s proposed expansion in Minnesota. They are poised to spend $1 billion in this state and build more than 50 stores over the course of the next 5-8 years. Here is a link to this article. I implore you to strongly consider and aggressively pursue having Wal-Mart include North Branch in this expansion. The benefits to having this store built in our city far outweigh any negative factors that may coincide with it.
I have attached a PDF including some of the economic opportunities that Wal-Mart brings to a city. I know a concern among some people is that a Wal-Mart will destroy small business. Bloomberg released a report in 2008 stating that this was not true. The Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis stated this and the article in Bloomberg cites it. Furthermore, a Harvard Business study found the Wal-Mart increases the economic pie, saves consumers $18 billion a year, and provides rural poor with much needed savings.
Also, a Wal-Mart would provide increased travel into the city of North Branch and potentially increase business to local stores that provide products that Wal-Mart does not. An average store provides 150 to 350 jobs and provides “substantial sales tax and property tax revenue for the county in which it locates”. This study provided at the link given cites other advantages to having a Wal-Mart in our city.
North Branch is in great need of retail, chain stores. The residents of North Branch will either go to Forest Lake or Cambridge for these services or they could stay in North Branch if these stores were here. It is unrealistic to expect the citizens of this city to “shop locally” when the prices are dramatically increased. Our city missed this economic expansion in the 1990’s and I believe we are reaping the consequences of it now with a poorly funded city. This could be the beginning of a second chance if the mayor, council and city employees that make the decisions are aggressive in pursuing stores like Wal-Mart.
Thank you very much for your time and for the work you do for the city of North Branch.