Opinion Letters

We need Wal-Mart

Dear Editor,

In last week's letter to the editor I noted that the support shop local article was right on the mark.

Until the City of Lacombe manages to attract a large competitive box store, our local residents will continue to spend most of their retail dollars outside of Lacombe.

For the 25 years that my family lived only eight miles from Lacombe, we almost always made the 15 mile shopping trip to Red Deer. We were not pleased to drive the extra distance but we knew that a lot of our supplies were not available in Lacombe.

Even though our children went to school in Lacombe, with their sport and friendships in Lacombe, we were forced out of town for shopping.

Now living in the City of Lacombe for the last 10, years we are still faced with the same situation as we continue with most of our shopping out of town.

I will note that stores like Peavey Mart have helped draw more local and rural shoppers to shop locally. If the Canadian Tire Store ever does get built, it too will help. I do, however, agree with Verna, in her last week's article, that we must attract a Wal-Mart or other large box store to this city. Many smaller communities (Stettler, Drayton Valley, Sylvan Lake, Olds) have had a Wal- Mart store for years so what is wrong with Lacombe?

We have seen many young Lacombe business people have to close their doors because Lacombe does not draw the shopping crowd. Lacombe has the possibility to draw in our rural neighbours from as far as Alix, Rimbey, Blackfalds and Ponoka, if our city was a shopping destination.

Contrary to what many believe, most studies show that when a Wal-Mart is brought into town, it has helped almost all local businesses in that town. The reason is because the town then draws thousands more shoppers from the surrounding rural neighbours and communities.

The City of Lacombe should have been promoted as a shopping destination years ago. It is a fact that where Wal-Mart builds, many new small businesses are bound to follow and succeed.

It is about time city council took some steps to keep jobs and local businesses in our city by building up the City of Lacombe as a shopping destination.

Jim Guilbault, Lacombe

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