Monday, October 15, 2012

The Big Box Inconvenience

The following Letter to the Editor was published in the Queen Anne's Spy:

In Mureen Waterman’s Letter to the Editor of October 11 (What “Little Guys” are Protected by QAC Big Box Referendum?) the title question is embarrassingly simple: all of them. Here in Centreville, we’ve got a small menswear shop, a local pharmacy, an appliance dealership, a picture framing studio, an eyewear store, a hardware store, and a lumber company. Does Mr. Watermen really think that these businesses, all of which likely exist on the slimmest of profit margins already, would not be impacted in any way by the building of a Big Box store in Queen Anne’s County?

Mr. Waterman also regrettably uses the examples of Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Safeway as the national chains that would be most susceptible to the influence of a Big Box neighbor. What he forgets, or blissfully ignores, is that those very stores are the ones who already helped to wipe small local grocers, pharmacies, and general stores from the Kent Island landscape. The establishment of a Big Box store would help to finish the job in Queen Anne’s County, threatening the very existence of our local plant nurseries, bicycle shops, lumber yards, hardware stores and countless other small businesses across the county. The people who own these businesses keep their dollars local, send their kids to county schools, involve themselves in the local political process and do not deserve to have their risk rewarded with Mr. Waterman’s idea of “growth.”

To define the very future well-being of our community on opening the county to Big Box businesses and to imply that somehow, the presence of these stores would have insulated Queen Anne’s County from the recession is absurd. The recession has been national in scope, and has hit those counties with Big Box development even harder than it hit counties like ours, as Americans drastically changed their spending habits. What’s more, these very stores that Mr. Waterman hopes to attract to our county are largely responsible for the outsourcing of millions of American manufacturing jobs, jobs that pay, or paid, much better than anything that can be found under the bright lights of a Big Box store.

Let’s not confuse building Big Box stores with the economic growth Queen Anne’s County needs. I encourage all voters to vote NO on Question B, and keep Queen Anne’s County small business friendly for the future.

Steven Kline
Queen Anne’s County

You can see Mr. Waterman's original letter to the editor here.

1 comment:

Sveinn Storm said...

Big box retailers always claim they contribute to a community by creating jobs and tax revenue. However, studies clearly reveal that they create significant tax deficits. For development of huge box stores, local governments have to expand roads and utilities as well as provide police, fire and emergency services. These expenses have shown to be far more than the local tax revenue received by the big box stores.
On the other hand, locally owned, small scale businesses have shown to create seventy percent more local economic impact per square foot than chain stores. Big box stores generate few positive effects in local economies. They buy less, bank less, contribute less, and participate less than smaller independent businesses.
As for the jobs big box stores offer, statistic shows that most of their employees receive such low wages and limited hours, that they and their families must rely on such things as Medicaid, State Health Insurance Programs, housing assistance, food stamps, energy assistance, and free or discounted school lunches. These programs cost enormous sums of money. Studies have shown, however, that the employees of locally owned, independent businesses receive greater pay and benefits and are far less likely to require government aid.
I will support local businesses and their employees and vote no on question B