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The Wal-Mart Effect - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

The Wal-Mart Effect

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One northern valley town is feeling the Wal-Mart effect… and it's a good thing.

We often hear how Wal-Mart is going to hurt small businesses when it opens in a new town, and when Wal-Mart opened here in Crookston five years ago, there were rumblings by some folks that it was going to hurt small business owners. Well, there may be some complaints yet, today. But, there are a lot of new businesses surrounding Wal-Mart.

No less than four new stores and strip malls have opened within one block of Wal-Mart. Plus, a new hotel and bar and grill will be opening nearby next year.

"They've really been pushing growth on the north end of town, and we're starting to see the fruits of that now," observes building inspector Matt Johnson.

Brian Schumacher, owner of Crookston Floral & Antiques, diversified after Wal-Mart came to town and says its presence has actually been good for his business. Schumacher says he moved away from the items Wal-Mart sells and added antiques to his gifts and flower business. "I would say its actually helped our business, because we draw a lot more people into our community… a lot more people travel," Schumacher says. "It's a business that's a destination point for a lot of people."

And Schumacher says the millions that Wal-Mart spends on marketing rolls over to his own business. "If you look at it the right way, you can take advantage of everything they're spending, the dollars they're putting out in the market, and you can feed off that," the business owner explains. "They're bringing people to town. There's no question."

More people and more new businesses have been growing up ever since Wal-Mart rolled into town.

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